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15 NOVEMBER 2018


“Kill the body and the head will die”

By Danny Winterbottom: “Kill the body and the head will die”, so goes the old pugilistic maxim. When we think of great headline grabbing knockouts it is usually a devastating blow to the head that immediately springs to mind. Bob Foster’s left hook laying out Dick Tiger, Manny Pacquiao’s destruction of Ricky Hatton or Sugar Ray Robinson’s left hand blowing away granite chinned Gene Fullmer. However, a perfectly delivered “shot downstairs” can end a fight in spectacular, paralyzing fashion. Below this reporter takes a look at some of my favourite fight finishing body punches.

Mickey Ward, the fighting pride of Lowell, Massachusetts possessed one the most lethal left hooks to the liver in recent memory. In 1997, “Irish” was battling with red hot prospect Alfonso Gomez, who after six rounds was dominating the tough and game warrior and looked on course for an easy victory. With defeat about to consume him Ward began to throw vicious left hooks in desperation, and with no shortage of skill and precision managed to land a perfect liver shot dropping Sanchez out of nowhere for the full count of 10.

The always entertaining Mexican dynamo, Jorge Arce, moved up to the bantamweight division in 2007 to go to war with his fellow countrymen Tomas Rojas. Arce, a two weight world champion had been on the end of boxing lesson before he finished the contest in devastating fashion in round six. Rojas had used his speed and combination punching to befuddle “Traviso” before he landed a thudding left hook to the mid section dropping his man to the canvas. In a display of true bravery Rojas stumbled to his feet but had never fully recovered from the pulverising shot to the body as blows rained down on him from the fists of Arce prompting the referee to call a halt to the bout. The little Mexican had pulled out a true come from behind victory in dramatic fashion.

In 1998 the knockout of the year was a thunderous straight right to the body from the fist of boxing superstar Roy Jones Jnr. The unfortunate recipient was former light heavyweight champion Virgil Hill, the punch so devastating that it broken one of the challengers ribs in the process. The fight, a defence of Jones’s WBC belt followed a familiar pattern as the champion used his blistering hand speed to land at will on the challenger before skipping out of range as he won the first three rounds with ease. In the fourth with both men in ring centre, Jones set to throw a straight right to the head but in a spit second changed the attack downstairs landing on the unprotected rib cage of Hill dropping the challenger on his back. The pain etched across his face was there for all to see as he gasped desperately for breath before the referee, Fred Steinwinder, waved the contest off with Hill still unable to stand upright. The punch was truly a fight finisher.

In defence of his light welterweight world title Ricky Hatton faced somewhat faded former lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo at the Thomas and Mack Centre in June 2007 in what was expected to be a long drawn out battle between two come forward fighters. Castillo, known for his ability to absorb tremendous punishment, struggled to contain the “Hitman” in the opening two rounds as the Mancunian looked to land his noted left to the body. The veteran Mexican came into the fight more in the third before Hatton finally found a spot for his pet punch in round four, touching Castillo on top with the left, Mickey Ward style, before banging in the finisher around the right elbow. Castillo turned away in obvious pain, a sure sign a fighter has been hurt to the body, gum shield hanging from his gaping mouth, before taking the count on one knee. Despite having ko’ed numerous opponents with rib battering lefts, this was without doubt Hatton’s best body punch stoppage win against a quality opponent in a tough fight.

In a rematch, IBF super middleweight Champion Lucien Bute defeated Mexican challenger Librado Andrade in the fourth round with a sickening short left hook to the pit of the stomach. There previous meeting had gone the distance and similar was expected when they clashed for a second time at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec Canada on November 28 2009. In the fourth round the power punching champion caught Andrade with a well timed counter left to the chin dropping him to the canvas, and badly dazing the challenger. In the follow up attack, Bute cleverly switched his left hook downstairs crumpling the already tired Andrade with a sickening blow to the stomach leaving the Mexican on his knees unable to beat the count.
The art of body punching has been a weapon in the armoury of fighters for decades and when delivered with accuracy and power they can pulverise an opponent in truly spectacular fashion often leaving the toughest of men gasping for breath. The above examples are just a taste of the dark art and many more exist that will leave you thankful you weren’t on the receiving end.

September 29, 2011

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