Rocky Marciano KO "Jersey Joe" Walcott

Rocky Marciano KO “Jersey Joe” Walcott


Emeryville, CA– Today we look at some of the great “One-Punch Knockouts of The 20th century.”  Most pundits run off the same old list.  This is all about opinion and you’ll be able to leave yours at the end.


Chicago IL- In the same session, after getting dropped by Rocky Graziano, “Sugar Ray” Robinson rose and drilled Graziano with a single straight right hand April 16, 1952.  Graziano kept shaking his leg after getting up and never got both his pins to work together for a while after the punch.  The fight was called at 1:53 of the third.  Robinson the reigning World middleweight king first retired in December 1952.  Born Thomas Rocco Barbella, Graziano would fight once more and lose (UD 10).  He retired at 67-10-6, (52 KOs). Last time I saw Rocky him in at a 1989 Ray Robinson tribute in Atlantic City, NJ and he said, “Kid, I gotta’ go tack a piss


Las Vegas, NV-The WBC light middleweight (that’s what they called 154 lbs. then) title was on the line as defending champ Maurice Hope met former jr. welterweight (140) & welterweight (147) champion Wilfred Benitez.  Entering the 12th round, Judge’s Joe Swessel had it 107-102, Chuck Minker tabbed matters 107-101 & the Duane Ford card read 107-103, all for Benitez.  With his back to the ropes, Benitez landed the best right hand counterpunch he had ever thrown, right on the point of the Englishman’s chin.  Late referee Richard Greene could have counted to 100, and Hope might not have rose!


Retiring at 30-4-1, with 24 KOs one fight and one loss later, Hope truly was knocked the puck out May 23, 1981!  Interesting to note that referee Richard Greene (Larry Holmes-Ali) committed suicide, Chuck Minker died within months of a cancer diagnosis in 1992. judge Joe Swessel passed away as well.  With Benitez all but brain dead now, that leaves only Duane Ford and Hope (60) is still with us.  Officially, the now 53-year old Benitez was forced out at 53-8-1, (31 KOs) in 1990.


Philadelphia, PA-When the man born Rocco Francis Marchegiano AKA Rocky Marciano fought heavyweight champion Jersey-Joe Walcott in Philadelphia, PA on September 23, 1952.  Dropped for the first time as a professional in the first, Marciano was up at four.  Entering the 13th round Rocky wasn’t faring well behind cards 8-4, 7-4 & 7-5 in rounds. Walcott, ten years the senior of the 29-year old Marciano was showing signs of fatigue.  At the 53-second mark of the round Marciano launched a right hand that knocked Walcott into the next county.  Rocky retired at 49 & 0 and died in a 1969 plane crash.  Walcott became a New Jersey Boxing Commissioner and retired at 51-18-2, (32 KOs).  He was born Arnold Raymond Cream and died age 80 in 1994.  


Chicago, IL-On May 1, 1957, Gene Fullmer, the Fighting Mormon born in West Jordan, UT fought Sugar Ray Robinson in the second of five encounters.  Having defeated Robinson for the title four-months earlier on points (UD 15), Fullmer was nothing but confident entering the bout.  The 36-year-old Robinson wasn’t thought of as the favorite.  In the fifth, Fullmer, in his own words got hit with a punch “I never saw coming.  I remember afterwards asking my trainer why is Robinson exercising (jumping around)?  He told me the fight was over and I had been knocked out.  Born Walker Smith, Robinson finally retired in 1965 at 173-19-6, (118 KOs).  Still living in Utah, and born July 21, 1931, Fullmer quit in 1963 at 55-6-3, (24 KOs).


New York, NY-It was June 20, 1960, the Polo Fields, and the rematch between defending World heavyweight champion, Ingemar Johansson, and the recently departed former champion, Floyd Patterson.  Having himself KO’d Floyd 12-months prior at Yankee Stadium, Ingo was the bookie’s choice!  In the fifth with the great Arthur Mercante Sr. the referee, Patterson leaped in with a punch that separated Ingo from reality.  The frightening post fight scene was circled around the Ingo Twitch.  While he lay unconscious, one of Ingemar’s one leg was moving side-to-side twitching!  Patterson finished up in 1972 at 55-8-1, (40 KOs).  Ingo passed from Alzheimer’s in his native Sweden.  As a pro, he went 26-2 (17 KOs) before quitting after going 1-2 with Patterson and while on a four-fight winning streak in April 1963.  


Knoxville, TN-Having been a stellar amateur, the late “Big John” Tateupset Gerrie Coetzee in South Africa on October 20, 1979.  Defending some five months later Tate took on journeyman type (so they thought) Mike “Hercules” Weaver.  Going into the 15th round, the score sheets read 138-133, 137-134, & 136-133. In other words, all Tate had to do was get to the final bell.  Knowing his chances at another shot were unlikely at 21-9, Weaver shocked Tate and everybody else watching when he drilled him with one shot in round 15.  Tate was also KO’d in his next go by Trevor Berbick and would never again make the big time.  He died in 1998 after an apparent stroke while driving with a record that stood at 34-3 (23 KOs).  Weaver last fought in a fight I televised in November 2000. It was a losing effort (KO 6) to Larry Holmes.  The final Weaver numbers were 41-18-1, (28 KOs).  

Pedro Fernandez


  • Julian Jackson – Herol Graham.

  • Marquez vs Pacquiao 4

  • Another good one and it being so unexpected made it so good, was Michael Nunn vs. Sumbu Kalambay. I remember sitting down to watch a 12 round boring snooze fest and then BAM!!! Kalambay had never been knocked out but got hit with a perfect punch. Sadly, after that fight, I don’t think Michael Nunn was ever as good again.

  • Yeah, I think so.

  • Pedro,

    That’s Ezzard Charles in the picture not Jersey Joe, right ?

  • Best one punch KO
    Robinson vs Fullmer.
    an ancient Robinson flattens dirty fighting, head butting Gene Fullmer. Made my day

  • One of the most devastating ko’s I witnessed in the last couple of years was Martinez putting Williams to sleep. That was one of the most devastating ko’s of a top-notch contender I can remember of in the last decade.

    Lets not forget, that Martinez is more of technician and not known as a one-punch-ko-artist AND Williams at the time was the most avoided player in the game.

    Of course Pacquiao-Marquez is also up there on the list.

  • They fought twice!

  • Pedro, Weaver lost to Holmes by late stoppage way b4 he fought Tate, Weaver was a much better fighter than his record suggest, he lost a lot of fights earlier in his career and fights on short notice and was mostly known as Ken Norton sparring partner.
    That one shot by big Mike will always remembered as one of the great classic K.O I ever seen, others that I somewhat remember was Sugar Ray Leonard Ko of Davy Boy Green and of course the one u mentioned with Benitez Ko of Maurice Hope.
    Thanks for a great column, always enjoy your old stories from fights way back and the stories leading up to them, when Boxing was the bomb can’t say that to much anymore.
    On a total different front I thought the Hendricks- Lawlor fight in the UFC was the best fight I’ve seen in years.

  • Mike Weaver respect!!Do a story on him ,Pedro.

  • Marciano/ Walcott was a classic but, I also think these were great one punch KO’s:



    Roy Jones-Virgil Hill(body Shot)

    Walcott- Charles(7/18/51), Walcott one punch KO

    Hopkins- DelaHoya (Body Shot)

    Fitzsimmons -Corbett (Body Shot)

  • Another great article Pedro..

    I’ve see every one-punch KO that you mentioned and they all belong in the top 10 for sure. I would add one more: Thomas Hearns anesthetizing Roberto Duran in the second round with his famous right hand from hell.

    Now if I had to pick one, I’d have to go with Sugar Ray Robinson’s 5th round KO over the iron-jawed Hall of Famer Gene Fullmer.

    One quick correction: Sugar Ray Robinson and Gene Fullmer fought 4 times. Fullmer went 2-1-1 vs the greatest fighter of all time.

  • While I do not consider it a one punch knockout because of the numerous punches that came before the end, I agree that the Hearns-Duran KO was the single most devastating punch ever landed. As far as the best one punch KO that turned the fight around was Robinson-Fullmer, Foreman-Moorer OR the Alexis Arguello – Billy Costello fight in 1986. They all had a trend of the old great fighter being beaten but pulling off the miracle with their power.

    Other notables – Lockridge-Mayweather, Mesa-Garza, and McCallum-Curry

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