Boxing is often called the ‘theater of the unexpected,’ because you just don’t know when something crazy will happen. One minute, an intense back-and-forth battle is in progress, and the next minute, it’s over. Any fighter, at any given time, can get hit with a shot that instantly separates the body from its senses.
The possibility of a knockout — that’s what makes boxing so exciting.
What’s even better than a stone-cold knockout finish? A body shot knockout. Body shots are an incredible phenomenon in boxing, and are in many ways, a lost art. Getting hit to the body is no picnic. There are many sensitive targets that can incapacitate any opponent almost instantly.
You have the solar plexus, a complex system of radiating nerves and ganglia which sits at the pit of the stomach. There’s the liver, located in the upper right-hand sector of the abdominal cavity. You can also target the sternum, just above the solar plexus, and stomach itself, which can suck the wind out of anyone’s sails.
Simply put, there are many targets on the body, and a fighter who isn’t well prepared will often go down when a punch makes contact with any of these points. In fact, it doesn’t even matter how tough a fighter is, one body shot is all it takes to send them crashing to the canvas.
There have been many amazing body shot finishes in the history of the sport. Let’s take a look at some of the more notable ones. Today, Evolve Daily shares five crushing body shot knockouts that will make you cringe.
1) Micky Ward vs. Alfonso Sanchez (April 12, 1997)
“Irish” Micky Ward is arguably the toughest fighter who has ever stepped foot in the boxing ring. It took a lot to bring him to his knees, and he was more than willing to walk through the line of fire in order to get off his own.
In 1997, against then-undefeated Mexican fighter Alfonso Sanchez, Ward showcased the type of power latent in his left hook which he would later become known for. Up until the knockout in the seventh round, Ward was clearly behind on the judges’ scorecards and was losing the fight. In fact, he was even on the verge of getting stopped himself.
Out of nowhere, Ward fired back at Sanchez with a left hook up top, followed by a vicious shot to the kidney. Sanchez crumpled to the canvas, writhing in pain and could not recover in time to beat the 10-count.
Afterward, late great HBO commentator Larry Merchant said it was one of the “most extraordinary things” he had ever witnessed in the sport.
2) Bernard Hopkins vs. Oscar De La Hoya (September 18, 2004)
Multiple-time boxing world champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins is one of the most successful boxers of all time, having held multiple world titles across several weight classes.
In 2004, Hopkins took on legendary Mexican-American Oscar “The Golden Boy” De La Hoya in a bout for the undisputed middleweight championship of the world — a fight that turned out to be the biggest payout of Hopkins’ career.
Of course, De La Hoya came into the fight the favorite, with his legions of Mexican fans behind him. But Hopkins showed in this fight just how important technique and skill are to the overall equation.
In the ninth round, Hopkins delivered a beautiful left shovel hook that smacked De La Hoya right on the liver. A slightly delayed reaction caused “The Golden Boy” to take a knee, and within seconds, he was in absolute agony.
At the time of the finish, two judges had Hopkins ahead while the third judge had it for De La Hoya. With the victory, Hopkins became the first boxer in history to unify the belts of all four major sanctioning bodies.
3) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares (May 12, 2018)
There is no doubt that Ukrainian sensation Vasiliy Lomachenko is one of the most talented boxers of this generation. His sublime skill and technical mastery are, quite frankly, unmatched at this time. Featuring a diverse offensive repertoire combined with surgical precision, the man they call “The Matrix” is an overwhelming force in the ring.
One of the keys to victory for Lomachenko has always been attacking the body. Lomachenko likes to dig to the body often in order to slow aggressive opponents down and take some steam off the edge of their punches.
In 2018, Lomachenko took on veteran Jorge Linares, a fellow tactician and a problem for almost everyone he’s been in the ring with. Linares even sent Lomachenko to the mat in round six, courtesy of a well-timed right hand down the middle. Lomachenko survived the knockdown and in true fashion, figured Linares out and came back in round ten to deliver a nasty body shot that ended the fight.
4) Erik Morales vs. Daniel Zaragoza (September 6, 1997)
When it’s all said and done, the legendary Erik “El Terrible” Morales will go down as one of the most respected ring warriors for as long as the sport of boxing exists. Morales was a true Mexican warrior, and he embodied that spirit each time he put on a pair of gloves and climbed through the ring ropes.
Morales brought the heat, and he was always looking for a fight. It didn’t matter how many times he got hit in the face, it was like he got stronger the more it happened. Fans loved him for his willingness to engage, and he never took a step backward. He never tried to clinch when he was in trouble. Morales’ basic instinct was to fight back.
This was on display in September of 1997, when a then-21-year-old Morales took on former WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion Daniel Zaragoza. It was a classic battle between a young bull and an old veteran. Morales ended matters in the 11th round with a straight right to the body.
5) Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo (August 19, 2017)
Terence Crawford will no doubt end his career as a surefire Hall-of-Famer. But at this point in time, his story hasn’t been completely written yet, and he will no doubt achieve even more by the end of it.
At his best, Crawford is a two-fisted monster — a switch hitter with knockout potential in both hands. He is an expert at timing his opponents, catching them as they walk into shots. He has all the tools, the physical attributes, and the skills that make him a nightmare matchup for anyone in and around his weight class.
Another thing Crawford does very well is mixing it up. Crawford loves to test his opponents’ midsections.
In 2017 against Julius Indongo, Crawford needed just three rounds to become the undisputed junior welterweight champion of the world. The finishing blow? A brutal left hook to the right side of Indongo’s body which instantly crumpled him.
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