Hardest Punchers/Knockout Percentages (1977)

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Hardest Punchers/Knockout Percentages (1977)

Left Hook From Hell...
Before the start of the Ali & Shavers Heavyweight Championship fight, a screen announced the hardest punchers and highest knockout percentages of all time up to that point. Here is the top ten.





What's interesting to me is how much this list has changed since then and how. Rocky Marciano was #3 but has the highest knockout percentage as of today, right? How is that possible? And I'm sure if this list was updated Mike Tyson would be in the top 5.
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Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Left Hook From Hell...
I've been gathering information on this site and I'm trying to see who was the hardest hitter(s) of all time based on what opponent A said about opponent B. This might not be correct entirely but this is what I've found on this website from different threads.

--Joe Louis said in his autobiography (scanned by Duggerman) that Rocky Marciano was the hardest puncher he fought in his career. This means that Rocky hit even harder than Galento, Baer, Schmeling and all those other dudes Joe beat up.

--Ray Mercer said (post retirement) that Tommy Morrison hit him harder than anyone else. Ray fought Wladimir, Lewis, Holyfield and others so this was a big statement.

--Ray also said after the fight with Wladimir that Lennox hit harder than Wladimir.

--Evolution said that David Tua hit harder than George Foreman.

--Evolution said also that Wladimir Klitschko hit harder than Lennox Lewis, which contradicts Ray Mercer's statement.

--Shannon Briggs said George Foreman hit him the hardest of anyone but thats funny because George never even knocked him down but Lewis and Darroll Wilson did. They both knocked him out actually. Shannon said this in his interview with Duggerman.

--Marvis Frazier told Duggerman in their interview that Mike Tyson hit him harder than anyone else. (It sure as hell looked that way).

--There is a quote from Muhammad Ali in the Facing Ali movie saying that Joe Frazier hit him hardest. But yet, Ali told Howard Cossell that Earnie Shavers hit him the hardest. Not sure which one is true.

--Muhammad Ali said also on the Arsenio Hall Show that Tyson hit harder than Earnie Shavers. I'm not sure how he would know that because he never fought him????

--Larry Holmes said after losing to Mike Tyson that Ken Norton and Bonecrusher Smith hit harder but Tyson was sharper. Maybe someone here knows what he meant by that?

--Jersey Joe Walcott said in the "The Way We Were" special that Rocky Marciano punched harder than Joe Louis. He said Louis was more of a rhythm puncher but Marciano was a one punch banger.

-- I read numerous quotes from Jack Demspey here where he said that Rocky Marciano punched harder than he and Joe Louis because their opponents had to be repeatedly knocked down but Rocky knocked his foes out cold.

--Chuck Wepner said on the Sonny Liston "Sports Century" that Sonny Liston punched him harder than anyone else including George Foreman.

In gathering all this up it looks like Rocky Marciano, Earnie Shavers, Sonny Liston, Tommy Morrison, David Tua and (possibly) Joe Frazier were the hardest punchers of all time. Judging from the comments by Chuck Wepner and Evolution it looks like Foreman's power might be a tad overrated. I wouldn't expect Tua and Liston to hit harder than him but I guess thats the case here.
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Entaowed
SOmre thoughts on the fascinating topic of pure power.  Even though this does not speak to how good someone is (though it certainly helps) at landing most effectively, combos, the element of speed & surprise which can easily make a blow have more impact even thrown with less power, accuracy, let alone defense, speed...

Being battered by a gy for a long time, high volume  may welll make their punches seem harder than someone who lands less often OR sometimes ironically who KOs you early.  You may not recall the hardest punch, & you feel much less total pain when you get so many less blows.

SO Liston may well have hit harder than Foreman, but I am not at all confident about that.  FOreman got Wepner out of there in the 3rd round, not smashed for the distance like Liston did.  And Foreman was in his 4th pro fight at only 20, still developing towards full power likely.  Also Evolution made a couple statements that are ambiguous re: who hit harder, said George's punches moved him the most though.  That is pure strength & "heavy hands", those with more speed & great "snap"/turning over the wrists may rock you more...Tyson had great power, but his speed & snap made it worse.

Though I think a few '90's punchers likely hit a bit harder than him for single punches.  Bruno, Bonecrusher, Morrison, Tua, Ruddock all hit like Hell.  Though not as good.

Also Evolution was talking about Old George, in his 40's.  I do not think his bludgeoning power was overrated, & you saw the video I linked with him massacring the heaviest possible bag, his trainer holding it & liofted off his feet...A boxer here said he never saw anhything like it.

Rocky hit very hard, & freakishly hard for his size.  Harder than Scmeling, yes, harder than Baer & Galento for one punch?  Doubtful.

See a Tyson or Rocky hit really hard, & likely harder than anyone you ever knew.  Yet there will be a few who can hit even harder, though that does not mean as often, effectively or as skilled.

I think Dempsey, Frazier & Louis hit a notch below these guys, but still very hard indeed.

Ernie Shavers may have hit the hardest of all time, & almost certainly the hardest for a boxer his size (6', ~ 210).  Did you see the thread here with quotes about his punching power?  Ali ws hit so much MORE by Frazier, but named Shavers the hardest before, & I do not think it is at all close.  Holmes, Tex Cobb, James Quick Tillis, Norton, Lyle & I do not recall offhand who else said Shavers hit the hardest they ever felt.  Limited repertoire, questionable chin & stamina often enough, boxing skill just OK...But he thrwe his whole soul into those punches.  Long arms & huge hands helped, & his mnatural strength-he looked bigger than he was.

Of course occasional club fighters or less might have hit as hard as anyone, but had limited ability & never went anywhere.

The definition of Heavy Handed, but his blows were like a slingshot/fast too-kind of like Max Baer it seems to me.  Actually staying loose until you rurn over your fist & connect helps create more power.  There are many Shavers compliation videos, here is one, turn down the asinine music though....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oVgH6sIBuc 
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Urban Legend
Entaowed wrote
Tyson had great power, but his speed & snap made it worse.

Though I think a few '90's punchers likely hit a bit harder than him for single punches.  Bruno, Bonecrusher, Morrison, Tua, Ruddock all hit like Hell.  Though not as good.
Mike was one of the hardest punchers of all time. His one punch knockouts over Frans Botha, Marvis Frazier and Michael Jack Johnson are among the hardest punches I've ever seen land in a boxing ring. Those men were out like a light when Mike smashed them with that one knockout blow.

I'd say Mike's power is tied with Morrison and maybe Tua but he might hit harder than Tua. Tua's left hook never prevailed against the best opponents he fought. At least old Tyson twice sent Lewis staggering in 2002. When Tua fought Lewis he never had him close to being in trouble. That says something. I can't imagine Chris Byrd surviving a blast from Iron Mike but he did fine against Tua.
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

precious
In reply to this post by Left Hook From Hell...
Wow, excellent research Left Hook. I have no way of knowing in truth who hit the hardest because there are boxers on this forum with excellent first hand information & knowledge having faced some of these guys. AS pureley guesswork on what I have seen over the years I would put Foreman at the top followed by Tyson, Marciano, Liston, Louis, Lewis, Tua. I would hate to be in a ring with any of these monster punchers. I'm not sure about the folklore attached to Shavers becuse he may have had a powerful single punch but unlike the others I have mentioned was not a particularly good finisher imo
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Entaowed
This post was updated on .
We must distinguish between power & "effective power".  No question Tyson hit very hard by any standard.  But you cannot gague if he hit harder in pure force than certain individuals due to RESULTS.  Snap, speed (surprise), placement/accuaracy & combinations all help make a punch even more impactful.  Tua by reports seems even heavier handed, as a bunch of folks I mentioned, but was not nearly as likely to land effective blows, either well placed & not mitigated due to not SEEN, in devastatingly fast combinations, & penetrating defenses so much better than Tua often did, described as following Lewis & others around like a (gun shy in that case) puppy looking to land a game changing (& predictable) left hook.  And he had a rib area injury...

Shavers has many top fighters saying he hit the hardest ever & the film seems to support this.  Being an often poor finisher, like limited stamina, skills & dubious chin has nothing to do with how much force he created.  They are different issues altogether.

Love Rocky & he hit very hard & sometimes high volume with A + toughness & endurance.  Yet I do not think it physically possible that he hit as hard as the hardest hitting much bigger men.  It was even said he hit harder at a little over 200 (but trained down).  Fitzsimmons was a tremendous "trapping" 19th century slugger who seems to have at least Julian Jackson power for his size.  Sullivan seems to have hit really hard, had the build of a boozing Tua!

There are others like Bob Satterfield, Mike "Hercules" Weaver Butterbean...Who were tremendous hitters.  In the end we can only have a general idea of who hit how hard.  But I am convinced that many of the at best contender guys hit HARDER with one punch than most ATGs (like Frazier, Louis & Dempsey, & the latter & ikely the others would admit it.

Think of it like this: the last 3/Holy Trinity may be ~ 7 footers compared to us in punching power-no, compared to a fit, HW SIZED man, & had enough overall talent & toughness to be amongst te best ever.  BUT there have tbeen guys around 7 1/2' tall or so occasionally in the NBA, & the very rare man over 8', one just shy of 9'.

It is tempting to say the BEST were the best at exciting skills.  But it is more likely they were way up there, but had more OVERALL skills.  Just like in modern times Mr. Aroldis Chapman threw faster than anyone but Nolan Ryan, but was only good enough to be a decent closer.  And the fastest man ever (great speed not needing as much size often as punching power) was likely a borderline retarded alcoholic, tops 5' 11" & ~ 175 with stubby arms & glasses named Steve Dalkowski.  MANY major leaguers who saw or batter against him confirm this, from Ted WIlliams to Cal Ripken.

But just as he was learning SOME control from the legendary Earl Weaver, he blew out his arm.  
A freakish outliar talent-I love it.  He did not even seem to take much of a wind-up, just slicked his arm out to the side & delivered like a Cobra, a fastball that started way low & may sail way overhead.  But he never had the control (or mind) to be a Walter/Randy Johnson/Martinez/Clemens or other top level fireballer.

Even though he likely threw the hardest anyone ever saw.

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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Duggerman
Administrator
Good posts here. It's impossible to know for sure. One guy might hit harder with one punch than another guy and vice versa. An example being Sonny Liston having a harder jab than Wladimir Klitschko, but Klitschko having the harder (sharper) right hand.

Evolution only said that Tua hit harder than Foreman because Tua threw every punch with mean intentions. Foreman would play opossum by pitty patting and then unleashing the beast when you didn't expect it. But this is old Foreman Evolution trained with. I can't imagine Tua denting the punching bag the way young Foreman did in Zaire.


 
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Evolution
With one punch George may have hit a little bit harder than Dave when he laid into it but it was rare that he went all out. George kept us on our toes by goofing around and disguising the moment when he would really throw. He also told jokes sometimes.
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

49-0
Evolution wrote
With one punch George may have hit a little bit harder than Dave when he laid into it but it was rare that he went all out. George kept us on our toes by goofing around and disguising the moment when he would really throw. He also told jokes sometimes.
Now I've heard everything.
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

BAD INTENTIONS
I have heard that George told jokes while sparring too...the confidence of that guy...lol.

I'll always maintain that David Tua is the hardest puncher I've seen in the flesh....I've sparred with Butterbean and Tommy Morrison and I've seen countless fights in person and worked with a lot of fighters...the thing about Tua to me is that he combined explosiveness with raw strength...imagine soemone as strong as George Foreman punching with Mike Tyson's technique and snap. You have David Tua.
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Re: Hardest Punchers/Knockout Percentages (1977)

Entaowed
In reply to this post by Left Hook From Hell...
There is KO % based upon # of wins, & KO % based upon total # of fights, including losses, draws or no decisions.

Also you know Shavers & Foreman, mostly in his 2nd career, fought on after Ali Shavers right?  That lowered their KO %.

Now it is most important to note that of course there is a significant correlation between KOs & how hard they hit.  BUT it is very imperfect.  There is also.

1) How many fights did you have, how many past or before your prime?  

2) What was the level of competition you faced, relative to your era & compared to all era.

3) Huge is how EFFECTIVE you are at landing blows, landing clean, landing often, landing in stunning combinations.  If you hit very effectively you will score more KOs, & a guy who may hit harder-or MUCH harder-may do worse if he is a less skilled boxer, has worse endurance & workrate, etc...

When you consider  at all this & watch the fights & see when he fought, it is hard to find someone who likely hit as hard as Earnie Shavers.  Unless pure size allows someone to hit harder-though I know of no good candidiate for this & there is diminising returns after a certain size-he was a devastating KO artist even though he had limited skills, endurance & even chin at the top level.

Also almost numerous guys he fought said he hit the hardest.  Holmes, Ali, Tex Cobb, Norton, Ron Lyle, Jimmy Ellis, James "Quick" Tillis, & I do not recall offhand who else.
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Re: Hardest Punchers/Knockout Percentages (1977)

Duggerman
Administrator
In reply to this post by Left Hook From Hell...
Yeah, Entaowed said what I was gonna say. Earnie and George both fought more battles, losing some and winning decisions in others, so it naturally dropped their knockout rates. Today Vitali Klitschko is the runner-up to Rocky's percentage at 87.23%, while Rocky is still leading the pack with 87.76%. If Vitali had fought a couple more times and won by knockout he could have beat Rocky's high percentage and broke the record.

Entaowed, take a look at this thread. Precious posted a great link about how it's possible Shavers may not have been the hardest puncher ever.
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Re: Hardest Punchers/Knockout Percentages (1977)

Left Hook From Hell...
Good answers. Thank you AJ and Entaowed. I'm still curious as to what that list would look like today. Would Primo Carnera and Floyd Patterson still be on there? I know Rocky catapaults to #1 and Vitali trails him at #2. What Joe Louis stay the same? How far would Foreman drop. Where would Tyson and Morrison be? There's a lot to reconsider.
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Re: Hardest Punchers/Knockout Percentages (1977)

Duggerman
Administrator
James Tillis fought both Tyson and Shavers and said Tyson punched harder. Here is a link.

http://www.nytimes.com/1986/05/04/sports/tyson-a-victor-knockout-string-ends.html?ref=miketyson
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Left Hook From Hell...
In reply to this post by BAD INTENTIONS
Duggerman wrote
James Tillis fought both Tyson and Shavers and said Tyson punched harder. Here is a link.

http://www.nytimes.com/1986/05/04/sports/tyson-a-victor-knockout-string-ends.html?ref=miketyson
So Tyson hit even harder than Shavers? Wow. What throws me is that Larry Holmes also fought them both and said Earnie hit harder.
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Duggerman
Administrator
Left Hook From Hell... wrote
So Tyson hit even harder than Shavers? Wow. What throws me is that Larry Holmes also fought them both and said Earnie hit harder.
Opinions always differ and it leaves you right back at square one! There's no real way to tell who hit harder than who. Maybe Shavers had a harder right hand than Tyson? Maybe Tillis said Tyson hit harder because he Tyson hit him more often? You never know.

Here's another article where Tillis said Iron Mike hit harder than The Acorn.

http://www.boxingscene.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-386241.html
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Brooklyn's Finest
Of all the guys I fought and sparred with Mike Tyson's power was the most memorable. Bonecrusher Smith hit hard too but Mike hit me with constant punches as hard if not harder. It was all the more humiliating that he was a 19 year old kid and I was a grown man twice his size in my late twenties. I assumed that my "grown man" strength would overcome a still developing teenager but I was wrong. They called Mike "Kid Dynamite" for a damn good reason.
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Entaowed
This post was updated on .
Yes being hit more often can alter your impression of who hit harder.  Could have happened that way with Wepner when he was pummeled for much longer by Liston than Foreman-or it could be true in that case.

The 2nd link to Tillis has this line about his statement that Tyson hit harder, at the very end of the article:

I think tillis was just hyping tyson he became a sparring partner shortly after. he made it clear in his book that shavers hit the hardest.

Tyson hit really hard, but as I have said, a few folks just in the '90s seemed to hit harder-for single blows, not as good boxers or at combinations, worse defenses.  And sudden unexpected blow can have more impact rather then thrown--->like Shavers, whose devastating write hand could be predicted easily.
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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Entaowed
This post was updated on .
OK most of what is being said here seems true.  But I long have read about the account of that guy who call's Shaver's  a"featherfist", & he has long & understandably been ridiculed.

It is folly to colflate effectiveness with power.  Sure Shavers could not take out most of the biggest names due to his flaws.  But in fairness to him he did go far in a great HW era: he would be at least a contender in any era, sometimes could pick up a title, & could defeat/beat up 99.9999..% of the general population.

Eranei is not a "cherry--picker", he begged to fight Foremena, his differential success against the larger guys is not him cherry picking.  Guys were not quite as large then, but again, not KOing as many bigger guys...This is true for most all, & deals more with SKILL than power often, & entirely in Shaver's case.

Not fair to compare the Holes of the Shaver's brawls to retired older Holmes.  But of course it is also finishing skills involved, Tyson had much more.

But there is some truth to the psychology, even if subconsciously, of elevating yourself by celebrating the prowess of a man you beat.  Yet that oes not show that Shavers did not likely HAVE awesome power.  Uh yeah, the technique of Shavers was not much better than FOreman, but that begs the question. 1) Technique is only a part of what makes up power, & much is inborn & temperament, both were naturally freakish hitters.

2) Being "only a little better" in power-& it may be more than that-compared to one of the very hardest sluggers EVER is significant.

From both watching Shavers, the unanimity  of opponents, AND the fact that he got so far with real holes in his game in a great era ALL point to him being a monster puncher...

If boxing was just about who could produce more force in a limited # of punches, involving not movement, defense, stamina. chin...

Shavers would be the GOAT.



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Re: Let's Gauge PUNCHING POWER

Zorro
Entaowed wrote
OK most of what is being said here seems true.  But I long have read about the account of that guy who call's Shaver's  a"featherfist", & he has long & understandably been ridiculed.

It is folly to colflate effectiveness with power.  Sure Shavers could not take out most of the biggest names due to his flaws.  But in fairness to him he did go far in a great HW era: he would be at least a contender in any era, sometimes could pick up a title, & could defeat/beat up 99.9999..% of the general population.

Eranei is not a "cherry--picker", he begged to fight Foremena, his differential success against the larger guys is not him cherry picking.  Guys were not quite as large then, but again, not KOing as many bigger guys...This is true for most all, & deals more with SKILL than power often, & entirely in Shaver's case.

Not fair to compare the Holes of the Shaver's brawls to retired older Holmes.  But of course it is also finishing skills involved, Tyson had much more.

But there is some truth to the psychology, even if subconsciously, of elevating yourself by celebrating the prosess of a man you beat.  Yet that oes not show that Shavers did not likely HAVE awesome power.  Uh yeah, the technique of Shavers was not much better than FOreman, but that begs the question. 1) Technique is only a part of what makes up power, & much is inborn & temerement, both were naturally freakish hitters.

2) Being "only a little better" in power-& it may be more than that-compared to one of the very hardest sluggers EVER is significant.

From both watching Shavers, the unaomynity of opponents, AND the fact that he got so far with real holes in his game in a great era ALL point to him being a monster puncher...

If boxing was just about who could produce more force in a limited # of punches, involving not movement, defense, stamina. chin...

Shavers would be the GOAT.
I do find it interesting that guys boost their own status by saying that the men they beat hit them the hardest. It seems to make your chin sound even more concrete I guess. Mike Tyson has always said that Razor Ruddock and Evander Holyfield hit him the hardest.

I do like that list that was made in 1977. Its nice to see where rankings stood at that time. Primo Carnera shouldn't be on that list though...many of his bouts were fixed.
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