SAN DIEGO, Calif., January 1, 2020 – There’s no single moment in all professional sports which rivals a spectacular, fight-ending knockout for sheer excitement. At least, not in our opinion … as long as the person on the canvas gets up safely and in good health to fight another day.
Our Knockout of the Year finalists came from multiple divisions from the smaller guys to the big bangers. There were plenty of great choices, but the selection this year is virtually unanimous among boxing media.
WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder was losing on all three scorecards to challenger Luis “King Kong” Ortiz through seven rounds by scores of 58-56 and 59-55 twice. But with Wilder’s power, it didn’t matter.
Wilder unleashed a single right hand to the temple of Ortiz at 2:51 of the seventh round, and the scorecards went into the shredder, just as they have 40 previous times. Wilder successfully defended his title for the tenth time.
The Cuban Ortiz controlled the action and was substantially ahead on the cards. He appeared in superb condition, working well behind a strong jab, moving and scoring with overhand left shots. He was progressing nicely through the fight one round at a time, doing what he needed to do to win and move on to the next round. It’s a great strategy – against anyone except Wilder.
“It was an amazing fight. I saw the opportunity, I took it,” said Wilder after the fight. “These guys have to be perfect for me for 12 rounds. I only have to be perfect for two seconds.”
“To be honest, I never worry if I’m losing the fight or not,” explained Wilder. “I’m blessed with something these guys aren’t blessed with. It’s tremendous power. When you have power like I have, I don’t worry whether I’m losing rounds or not. I don’t want my mind to be cloudy. Sooner or later it’s going to come and bam baby, good night.”
“At this point in time, you gotta give me my credit. It’s sad it took over 40 fights to truly get the recognition I deserve,” said Wilder. “I know it took them a while to get used to the talent I display. It’s different than any other fighter. What I do is not textbook, you can’t really teach it. I think I’ve earned my due respect and my credit to say that I am the hardest-hitting puncher in boxing history, period.” Few would argue about it at this point.
Wilder will now face the one opponent to survive his right hand, Tyson Fury of Great Britain. A rematch of their draw will take place on February 22.
Our Honorable Mention candidates for 2019 Knockout of the Year (in chronological order):
Naoya Inoue vs Emmanuel Rodriguez, May 18, 2019
Naoya Inoue of Japan delighted his Japanese fans in Scotland, even thought they only got to see him fight one and half rounds. The two-division champion blew through his best opponent to date at the time, Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico. Inoue got the stoppage at 1:19 of the second round with his hellacious left hook, the final blow a liver shot. We’re especially partial to the body shot KO and this one is a beauty.
Devin Haney vs Antonio Moran, May 26, 2019
Lightweight Devin Haney of Las Vegas delivered one of the best performances in his young career to date with a seventh-round knockout win over Antonio Moran of Mexico. Haney said coming into the fight, he wanted to make a statement. Mission accomplished. The speed and combination punching along with the power show significant ring IQ.
Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Mauricio Herrera, May 2, 2019
At just 21 years old, Vergil Ortiz Jr. is also our 2019 Prospect of the Year. He blew through four fights including three solid veterans who’d never been stopped in 2019 to maintain an undefeated record and 100 percent KO rate. This blast of Herrera was his first one of 2019. We aren’t risking our reputation to predict more of the same in 2020.
Andrew Cancio vs Alberto Machado 2, June 22, 2019
Andrew “El Chango Cancio of Blythe, California started right where he left off in February in the rematch with Alberto ”Explosivo” Machado of Puerto Rico, sending the former champion home without the title he lost to Cancio in their first bout. Same venue. Same opponent. Same outcome. The taller, lankier Machado presents the perfect target for Cancio’s excellent body work.
In the third round, Cancio delivered the same textbook left hook to the liver he used to stop Machado in the first fight. “He thought I was going for the check hook upstairs. Elbow was up, body was wide open so I took it. It was a clean shot for him to go down on that one, I really threw it in there that time,” said Cancio.
Cancio kept his cool in the neutral corner as referee Raul Caiz Sr. counted Machado out at 1:01 of the round. “I thought he was going to get up, but I think he knew if he got up, I would just keep moving forward. It’s hard to recover from body shots,” said Cancio. Again, we’re a sucker for a great body shot KO.
Roger Guitierrez vs Rocky Hernandez, July 13, 2019
This was a major upset; Hernandez was undefeated and seen as a significant title contender in the competitive super featherweight division. The 24-year-old Guitierrez, despite three losses on his record including one to current WBA champion Rene Alvarado, had other ideas. He blasted through Hernandez in one round. Talk about turning your career around.
Jose Carlos Ramirez vs Maurice Hooker, July 27, 2019
In a true 50-50 fight between two undefeated men with titles on the line, Ramirez won in emphatic style by stopping Hooker for the first time in his professional career, making a big-time prizefighter statement with his TKO victory.
Also on the same card: Austin “Ammo” Williams vs Jabradon Harris (in just his third fight).
A highlight reel body shot knockout in just your third professional fight? Sign us up for more, please.
Ryan Garcia vs Romero Duno, November 2, 2019
Garcia was originally scheduled on the same card as the Gutierrez vs. Hernandez fight in Carson, but when his original opponent fell out and Romero Duno was offered as the replacement, Garcia declined. He took heat for “ducking” the tough Filipino fighter. Garcia answered his critics and shut them up with this first-round knockout.
John Riel Casimero vs Zolani Tete, November 30, 2019
Casimero was also named our “Upset of the Year” for his defeat of Tete to win the WBO bantamweight title. The 30-year-old Filipino gets respect for his toughness and his willingness to fight anyone on their home turf, but he wasn’t expected to win, much less destroy Tete who had not lost since 2012.
Teofimo Lopez vs Richard Commey, December 14, 2019
Lopez is a big talker, but so far he’s backed it up. Up against the tough veteran Commey, it seemed the 21-year-old might have bitten off more than he could chew. Instead, Lopez annihilated Commey in the second round to take Commey’s IBF lightweight world title in emphatic fashion.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
Copyright © 2019 by Falcon Valley Group