In the world of boxing, beginner are often overly focused on landing hard shots on their opponents’ heads as they look to endear themselves to fans with entertaining knockouts, but seasoned boxers know attacking the body can be just as effective at stopping fights.
Punches to the sternum can take the wind out of an opponent, and strikes to the sides of the torso can cause rib injuries. However, the most devastating punch you can throw at an opponent’s body is the liver shot. Land one of these and your opponent will be momentarily paralyzed as they writhe on the ground in pain.
The 15 Most Devastating Body Shot Knockouts In Boxing History
Ready to find out who scored the most brutal body shot finishes in boxing history, let’s jump right into our list:
1) Roy Jones Jr Vs. Virgil Hill
Roy Jones earned Knockout of the Year honors with his brutal body shot finish of Hill in 1998. Jones vacated the WBC’s light-heavyweight title about a year before his showdown with Hill, as he set his sights on the heavyweight division.
However, Jones eventually changed his mind and signed to fight Hill, who was a former unified light-heavyweight champion for the vacant title.
Jones took control of the fight from the opening moments, and he landed one of the most brutal body punches in boxing history, crashing a right hook into Hill’s left side. The sound of the punch landing on Hill’s body sounded like a cannon as Hill fell to the ground and screamed in pain. To his credit, Hill tried to will himself back to his feet, but the pain was too much. It turns out the punch broke his rib.
2) Micky Ward Vs. Alfonso Sanchez
Micky Ward scored one of the most impressive finishes of his boxing career when he squared off against Sanchez in 1997. Ward was a heavy underdog heading into his fight against Sanchez, who was undefeated at the time and known for his heavy hands. At the time, Sanchez had knocked out 15 of the 16 opponents he had faced as a pro.
The consensus heading into the fight was that Sanchez would knock Ward out, but the latter had plans of his own. Ward didn’t come out swinging like a madman like he was known for. Instead, he fought smartly, but he was still losing rounds to Sanchez. Sanchez looked like he solidified his victory when he sent Ward to the canvas in the second round, but the Irishman wasn’t done fighting yet.
Ward weathered the storm and went on to land his signature combination in the seventh round, rocking Sanchez with a hook to the head before firing off two vicious hooks to the liver.
3) Bernard Hopkins Vs. Oscar De La Hoya
Bernard Hopkins is mostly known as a defensive boxer, but he was one of the most brutal finishers in the sport during his younger years. He landed one of the most impressive finishes of his career, during his highly hyped 2004 fight against de la Hoya.
The fight couldn’t have been any more entertaining with de la Hoya standing in the pocket and trading hard shots with Hopkins. However, Hopkins landed a devastating liver shot in the 9th round, sending de la Hoya to the ground in pain.
4) Arturo Gatti Vs. Leonard Dorin
The 2004 title showdown between these two didn’t turn out to be an all-out brawl like many fans had anticipated, but it still led to a brutal body shot finish. Gatti only needed two rounds to land a devastating liver shot that left Dorin unable to fight. It was the first loss of Dorin’s career and the last time he ever stepped inside the ring. Gatti went on to win two of his next six fights before hanging up his gloves.
5) Ricky Hatton Vs. Jose Luis Castillo
Hatton’s performance against Castillo is an excellent example of how he earned the nickname, “The Hitman.” Hatton was the pound-for-pound king of the 140-pound division heading into his fight against Castillo and his ability to attack the body was on full display.
Castillo came out aggressively during their title showdown, but Hatton handled the pressure well. He eventually landed a brutal left hook to the liver that took a few seconds to bring Castillo to his knees in the fourth round, leaving him unable to continue fighting. With the win, Hatton won the WBC International Super Lightweight title, setting the stage for a future fight with Floyd Mayweather.
6) Saul “Canelo” Alvarez Vs. Liam Smith
Canelo was already one of the biggest superstars in boxing by the time he faced off against Liam Smith in 2016. At that point, the only blemish on his record was a loss to Floyd Mayweather, which is nothing to be ashamed of.
Smith was a decorated challenger, but Canelo was too much for him, outboxing him from the opening bell. Canelo sent Smith to the canvas with an overhand right during the seventh round, and he sealed the deal with a liver punch in the ninth, sending Smith to the canvas in pain. To his credit, Smith tried to will himself back to his feet, but his body didn’t comply fast enough.
7) Gerry Cooney Vs. Ron Lyle
Gerry Cooney’s title fight with Lyle was drummed up as a classic old lion vs. young tiger matchup, with Cooney being the young tiger expected to win. Cooney was 23-0 at the time, but there were doubts the young slugger had what it took to get passed the seasoned and rugged Lyle.
Lyle had more professional boxing fights than Cooney, and he was also known as a heavy-handed boxer. Lyle was under lots of pressure to win the fight to keep his name relevant in boxing.
It turns out the young tiger was destined to emerge victorious as Cooney needed less than a round to trap Lyle and unload punches on him. He finished him off with a liver punch that brought the contest to an early end.
8) Gennadiy Golovkin Vs. Matthew Macklin
Our list wouldn’t be complete without GGG’s brutal body blow finish of Matthew Macklin. With 37 of his 42 wins coming via knockout, GGG is one of the hardest punchers in boxing, with his only two losses coming against Canelo.
GGG was undefeated heading into his title fight with Macklin, with finishes over his last 13 opponents. He gave Macklin a first-hand taste of his punching power during the third round of their title showdown, sending him to the canvas with a punch to the liver that brought the contest to an abrupt end.
9) Marco Antonio Barrera Vs. Jesse Benavides
Barrera sported a 42-0 record heading into his title fight against Benavides, with most of his wins coming via knockout. He was the favorite heading into the contest and he fought like one, dominating the fight from the opening bell before sending him to the canvas with a vicious body blow to bring the contest to an end during the third round.
10) Vasyl Lomachenko Vs. Jorge Linares
Lomachenko is one of the most graceful boxers to ever step inside the ring. His footwork is second to none and his punch combinations are just as fluid. It wasn’t his impressive footwork or movement that won the day when he faced Jorge Linares, though. It was a vicious hook to the liver that left Linares unable to continue.
To his credit, the technically sharp Linares fared better than most men who have been unfortunate enough to share a ring with Lomachenko, but he wasn’t able to get back to his feet once he felt the full extent of Lomachenko’s power.
11) Gerald McClellan Vs. James Williamson
Trained under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward, McClellan was one of the most feared punchers in boxing at the time, and his power was on full display against Williamson. The finish came in the opening round of the fight as McClellan landed one of the most beautiful shovel hooks to the liver ever thrown in boxing. If you’re looking to learn how to properly throw a shovel hook, watch the finish.
The punch landed so perfectly, Williamson was left rolling all over the canvas in pain before eventually rolling on all fours.
12) Ryan Garcia Vs. Luke Campbell
Garcia dealt with some adversity during his fight against Campbell, getting knocked down for the first time in his career during the second round. He weathered the punch well and went on to outbox Campbell before putting him away with a hook to the liver during the seventh round. The victory kept Garcia’s undefeated record intact, setting up a super-fight against Tank Davis.
13) Terrance Crawford Vs. Julius Indongo
These two fought in 2017 to unify the WBA and IBF titles held by Indongo with the WBC and WBO titles held by Crawford.
Crawford was the heavy favorite heading into the contest, but Indongo wasn’t about to go down without a fight. He sent Indongo to the canvas during the opening round, but the referee ruled it a slip. Crawford went on to put Indongo away during the third round, catching him with a brutal left hook-right hook combo to the body that left Indongo screaming in agony. Ironically, the first punch didn’t land clean, and it was the right hook to the body that seemed to do the most damage.
14) Amir Khan Vs. Marcos Maidana
Amir Khan almost scored one of the most impressive finishes of his boxing career when he squared off against Maidana in 2010. The opening round of their showdown was competitive, but Khan stole the show during the final seconds when he fired off a hard right hook-left hook combo to the body.
Maidana would have been unable to beat the count given how much pain he was in, but he ended up getting saved by the bell. To his credit, Maidana managed to get himself back in the fight and even rocked Khan during the seventh round. Khan went on to win the fight via decision.
15) Marcos Maidana Vs. Victor Cayo
Maidana handed Cayo his first loss when they shared a cage in 2010. The fight developed after Maidana’s attempts to secure a fight with Paulie Malignaggi failed. This left him with Cayo, who sported a 24-0 record at the time and a 75 percent knockout rate.
However, it was Maidana who ended up adding another knockout to his resume as he put Cayo away with a vicious right uppercut to the sternum that left him incapacitated. Maidana went on to fight other big names like Amir Khan, which eventually got him a shot at Floyd Mayweather. Maidaina’s first fight against Mayweather is widely viewed as the closest anyone ever came to beating him during the second half of his career.
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