clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Gone in 180 seconds: Eight memorable first-round knockouts

From Louis to Tyson, Lockridge to Hamed — blink, and you’ll miss ‘em.

Ref Frank Capuccino Waves Mike Tyson Away Getty Images
Lewis Watson is a sports writer from London, UK, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has been a contributor at Bad Left Hook since 2018.

As the boxing sabbatical continues, nostalgia continues to fuel our appetite for the fight game.

Most of my collection of must-see fights are ones that go the distance. If you’re looking for a quick-fix, however, check out these eight scraps that never made it to the second bell.

No rankings here. Just a mixture of eight of the most memorable first-round blowouts.

Sechew Powell beat Cornelius Bundrage (22 seconds in 2005)

In 2005, a junior middleweight contest between Powell and Bundrage looked set to snatch the 0 from one of “Iron Horse” or “K9”.

Both men clipped each other with right hands in the opening seconds of their ShoBox bout, with Bundrage feeling the more significant effects of this double knockdown. Powell appeared to have slipped as his right leg became trapped under his opponent’s and set upon the Detroit fighter as soon as he returned upright.

A straight left hand finished the argument with just 22 seconds registered on the clock.

The pair would rematch in 2011, with Bundrage claiming revenge in a unanimous decision victory seeing him retain the IBF title at 154-pounds.

Joe Louis beat Max Schmeling (124 seconds in 1938)

Two years prior, Schmeling had handed Louis the first defeat of his career via a twelfth-round KO inside the Yankee Stadium.

The rematch took place a year before the start of the Second World War, with Louis fueled by a nation to topple the German who would go on to serve with the German Air Force under Hitler’s tyranny.

Seventy thousand gathered back at the Yankee Stadium as Louis destroyed Schmeling inside one round, with the challenger, at times, clinging onto the ropes for dear life.

The “Brown Bomber” understood the importance of that victory at the time stating afterwards – “I knew I had to get Schmeling good. I had my own personal reasons, and the whole damned country was depending on me.”

Mike Tyson beat Michael Spinks (91 seconds in 1988)

Spinks arrived in Atlantic City with many believing he had the tools to upset “Iron Mike”. Spinks was undefeated and considered the LINEEAAAALLLLLL (thanks, Scott) heavyweight world champion; Tyson’s career was also unblemished, with the 22-year-old in possession of the WBC, IBF and WBA straps.

“The Jinx” unfortunately didn’t believe the narrative himself and quickly retreated to the ropes after feeling Tyson’s power in the opening few exchanges.

That was pretty much all she wrote. A left uppercut followed by a right to the body dropped Spinks for the first time as a professional, with a further combination leaving the former light-heavyweight king horizontal staring at the bottom rope.

Spinks failed to make the count and Tyson barely broke sweat notching up his 35th professional victory.

Sonny Liston beat Floyd Patterson (126 seconds in 1962)

Sonny Liston would underline his power and thudding offence ability by toppling Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight title in Chicago, 1962.

Patterson – in possession of the WBA title – arrived as the underdog to the sizable challenger, weighing 24 less than Liston, giving up a 13-inch reach advantage.

The fight got off to a relatively slow start, with Cus D’Amato attempting to keep his fighter out of range of Liston’s bludgeoning jab. A left hook got through, changing the course of the round, with Patterson stopped after a further grazing right and left hook upstairs.

The title would change hands and Liston would repeat this first-round blowout ten months later as they ran it back.

‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed beat Said Lawal (35 seconds in 1996)

Boos rang around the Scottish Exhibition Centre, Glasgow, as the ‘Prince’ stopped an overmatched Said Lawal in 35 underwhelming seconds.

It could have been even shorter. Hamed dropped the Nigerian with the first punch of the contest as the champion landed a disguised right hand on the chin of the challenger.

Lawal beat the count, continued, but Hamed toyed with the wobbly-legged visitor before flooring him for the second time 20 seconds later.

“Wha tha fucking hell wis that!” rang around the arena from disgruntled Glasweigains, with the southpaw retaining his WBO featherweight strap for the first time in emphatic fashion.

Rocky Lockridge beat Roger Mayweather (91 seconds in 1984)

It was third time lucky for Rocky Lockridge as the Washington fighter finally captured world honours up at super-featherweight.

Mayweather was an unbeaten 17-0 world champion, fresh off three world title fights in 1983 recording three stoppage victories.

“Black Mamba” was happy to exchange in the opening stages but got caught by a huge overhand right that sent the champion crashing to the canvas.

Lockridge would defend his title twice before dropping a majority decision loss to Wilfredo Gomez.

Rocky Marciano beat Jersey Joe Walcott (145 seconds in 1953)

Rocky Marciano answered every question asked of him following his first championship win over Jersey Joe Walcott in 1952. Walcott dominated their previous meeting until an awkward Marciano found an equaliser to rescue him from the jaws of defeat.

A year later, “The Brockton Blockbuster” didn’t wait until the 13th round to stop the 38-year-old.

A left-right sat Walcott down with less than a minute remaining in the opening stanza. Walcott sat motionless until the ten count was complete before springing to his feet and claiming he was fit to continue.

Marciano defended his championship, with Walcott storming out of the ring in protest at the referee’s correct decision. Marciano would go on to dominate the division for the next three years with Walcott retiring at 50-20-1.

Ray Mancini beat Arturo Frias (174 seconds in 1982)

“Boom Boom” Ray Mancini captured the WBA lightweight title inside 174 blistering seconds at The Aladdin, Las Vegas, with Arturo Frias stopped on his feet in the second defence of his 135-pound title.

Both landed a barrage of punches in an absorbing first round, with Frias edging Mancini in the opening exchanges with a solid left hook the pick of the punches.

Mancini rallied and dropped Frias towards the end of the round reportedly throwing 33 punches in 22 seconds in the moments that followed before being crowned world champion.

Follow Lewis Watson @lewroyscribbles

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bad Left Hook Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your global boxing news from Bad Left Hook