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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Latest Boxing News & Rumors Today / Top 12 Greatest Punchers in Heavyweight History

Top 12 Greatest Punchers in Heavyweight History

Who makes your list?
Publish Date: 04/30/2024
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

This list includes all heavyweights, including active fighters.

12) Sam Langford

For my money, he’s in the running as the greatest fighter of all-time. He was a deadly puncher with either hand and a ruthless finisher. Harry Wills, Gunboat Smith, Joe Jeannette, and Sam McVea all fell victim to Langford and when asked, all pointed to Langford as the hardest puncher they had ever faced. The guys I just named that Langford beat were all-time primarily greats.

11) Max Baer

Before the arrival of Joe Louis on the scene in the mid-1930s, a lot of fans thought Max Baer was the biggest puncher in boxing history. He had a pulverizing right hand and up until the “Cinderella Man” James J. Braddock upset him, Baer was a dominant fighter.

Baer was never the same after losing to Braddock and would finish his career losing fights he would have never lost at his peak.

Video: Old Time Boxing Show:The Career of Max Baer

Old Time Boxing Show:The Career of Max Baer

10) Jack Dempsey

Dempsey roared through the division from 1919-26, with some memorable knockouts of Jess Willard, George Carpentier, and Luis Firpo. He became a star well beyond the boxing world, drawing royalty and powerful businessmen alike to his fights.

Dempsey was a small heavyweight, but he more than made up for it with great leverage and at his best he was a savage beast that imposed his will on any man that had the courage to stand in front of him.

Video: Old Time Boxing Show:The Career of Jack Dempsey

Old Time Boxing Show:The Career of Jack Dempsey

9) Deontay Wilder

Wilders level of competition has been poor, but make no mistake he can crack. The issue would be who the best fighter he has knocked out is. The answer to that would be Luis Ortiz, and that will tell you the level of competition he has beat.

His greatest punch put Tyson Fury on the floor in the 12th round of their first fight but Fury got off the floor to finish the fight. Wilder lacked technical skill and never really proved to be more than an average heavyweight with a big punch.

Video: Deontay Wilder All Knockouts 39-0

Deontay Wilder All Knockouts 39-0

8) Tommy Morrison

The Duke could crack with the best of them, his early career looked similar to a young Mike Tyson and he jumped into the spotlight as one of the leads in Rocky V, the movie failed at the box office, but that was not Tommy’s fault.

Morrison had some big-time fights and knockouts over Carl Williams and Razor ruddock. Morrison was an outstanding heavyweight but carried his flaws outside of the ring. He was an exciting heavyweight who always gave the fans their moneys worth.

Video: Tommy The Duke Morrison Knockouts Compilation

Tommy The Duke Morrison Knockouts Compilation

7) David Tua

Tua was pure power, and his early knockouts rivaled almost anyone on this list. He was a solid boxer with tremendous power. He beat some solid heavyweights, but in his biggest fights against Lennox Lewis, like Ibeabuchi, he came up short.

Tua’s destruction of John Ruiz shortly after the bell ring to start the fight was one of the quickest knockouts in heavyweight history.

Video: Best Knockouts Of David Tua, Boxing HD

Best Knockouts Of David Tua, Boxing HD

6) Sonny Liston

Liston was one of the most feared men ever to grace the ring. He beat Floyd Patterson by back-to-back first-round knockouts and had multiple knockout victories over Cleveland Williams, too.

Liston faced the issue that the competition in his prime was not great, but he bludgeoned everybody he faced until a man named Cassius Clay showed up to fight him.

Video: TGT Presents On This Day: February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay upsets Sonny Liston

TGT Presents On This Day: February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay upsets Sonny Liston

5) Mike Tyson

The prime didn’t last very long, but while it did, he was one of the most menacing men in boxing history to face. His national television knockouts of Jessie Ferguson and Marvis Frazier put him on the map worldwide, and his first-round stoppage of Michael Spinks once and for all settled who the Champion was.

Yes, there were self-imposed chinks in the armour with Tyson, but for a brief time in the 80s, he was maybe the most exciting athlete in the world.

Video: Mike Tyson - A Roaring Blaze

Mike Tyson – A Roaring Blaze

4) Earnie Shavers

Shavers was not a great fighter, but few could crack like Earnie. When fighters like Larry Holmes, Ron Lyle, Jimmy Young, Ken Norton, and Muhammad Ali stated he was the hardest puncher they had ever encountered, that’s hard to ignore! Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb said, “Nobody hits like Shavers. If anybody hit harder than Shaver’s, I’d shoot him.”

Th knock on Shavers is he never knocked out any top-level competition, but skill-wise he was limited, but every man he fought knew how dangerous that Shavers was.

Video: Earnie Shavers Knockouts

Earnie Shavers Knockouts

3) Rocky Marciano

49 fights ended in 43 knockouts, and his knockout to win the Heavyweight Title is still one of the most iconic pictures in boxing history. In heavyweight title fights, Marciano was 7-0 with 6 knockouts. The only man to go the distance with Rocky in a title fight was the legendary Ezzard Charles, who Marciano knocked out in the rematch.

Go back and watch the Rocks highlights, almost all of his knockouts ended in a ten count, he was devastating as a puncher and if you watch his old fights you will see the garbage he left of his opponents in the ring.

Video: Old Time Boxing Show:Looking Back at the Career of Rocky Marciano

Old Time Boxing Show:Looking Back at the Career of Rocky Marciano

2) George Foreman

Foreman could crack! At the age of 45 he became the Heavyweight Champion because of that one-punch power, stopping Michael Moorer in the tenth round. He stopped Ron Lyle in a legendary battle and knocked out Joe Frazier twice!

Video: Legends of Boxing Show:Guest Former Two-Time Heavyweight Champion George Foreman

Legends of Boxing Show:Guest Former Two-Time Heavyweight Champion George Foreman

1) Joe Louis

They did not call him the “Brown Bomber” for nothing. Louis was known for delivering some of the most devastating knockouts in heavyweight history. His knockouts of Max Schmeling and Billy Conn are legendary. Louis was THE Heavyweight Champion of the World for over a decade and dominated the division longer than anybody in history.

Video: Top 10 Joe Louis Knockouts HD

Top 10 Joe Louis Knockouts HD

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