2007 Knockout of the Year

Boxing is first and foremost a sport but there is something primordial about two individuals standing toe-to-toe in the quest for physical dominance. In the sweet science the object is to hit and not get hit but punishment is guaranteed to any person brave enough to step into the squared circle. Inevitably one’s body will dictate that enough is enough and when this happens a knockout occurs. Below are our picks for the most spectacular knockouts of 2007. Sean: Arthur Abraham KO 11 Khoren Gevor I realize that a good portion of boxing fans here in the states have not seen Abraham in action let alone this wonderful display of brutality that took place in August but I implore you to see for yourself here. Abraham, the long reigning IBF middleweight titlist, has created a following in his adopted home of Germany. In Gevor, an undeserving challenger, Abraham did what was expected of him, but boy did he do it in devastating fashion. After being tenderized by Abraham throughout the fight the end came suddenly in the 11th, when a compact left hook connected on the chin of Gevor. Gevor’s head spun as if it were on a swivel, triggering scenes of the possessed little girl in The Exorcist. Gevor collapsed in a heap as if he had an “on” switch that was suddenly turned off. It was brutal yet beautiful and that is why it deserves KO of the Year. Runner-up – Darnell Wilson KO 11 Emmanuel Nwodo Tim: Nonito Donaire KO 5 Vic Darchinyan If you had somehow slept in a cryogenic capsule for all of 2007 and upon waking up — after seeing your family, of course — you asked for an update about what happened in boxing over the past year, and someone told you “Vic Darchinyan was the best knockout of the year,” you would’ve replied, “Sounds about right. That arrogant little (112 pound) punk can hit like a mule.” But as everyone outside the capsule knows, Darchinyan was on the receiving, not the giving end. And man alive, how did Nonito Donaire give in July. He outboxed Darchinyan for four rounds. Then, in the fifth, as the increasingly flustered Darchinyan lunged in in his trademark herky-jerky. wild-swinging style, Donaire landed a perfectly timed left hook on the Armenian’s incoming jaw and he dropped like a G.I. Joe action figure suddenly declared deceased by his child master. The second it landed, I knew it was over, and I couldn’t believe that Darchinyan came even close to standing up. He got on his knees, fell on his face again, unbelievably got up then stumbled across the ring and didn’t have a clue what was happening when the referee stopped the fight. The screams of ecstacy erupted from Donaire and his team. And with every replay Showtime looped over again, I still couldn’t believe how crushing a shot Donaire landed. Runner-up? I’m reluctant to pick it at all, because I think the referee should have stopped the fight as cruiserweight (200 lbs.) Emmanuel Nwodo stumbled around the ring out of his senses for a full minute or so, but Darnell Wilson’s 11th round shot was so incredibly destructive that I’m willing to put it ahead of, say, middleweight (160 lbs.) Kelly Pavlik’s eighth round KO of Jose Luis Zertuche. But just barely. Vivek: While it’s hard to disagree with my counterparts – for their picks were all unbelievable spectacles in the sport – I personally have to go with Kelly Pavlik’s KO over the previously undefeated Jermain Taylor. This pick I designated especially for this award for the simple fact that it had the most profound effect. Jermain Taylor, a man who conquered the puzzle known to us as Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins – not once, but twice – was a star on the rise who few felt could ever lose decisively, let alone be KO’d. I like Pavlik’s effort in this fight to be awarded the “KO of the Year” award for the fact that he did it against the biggest name, and he practically came from well out in ‘left field’ in the eyes of casual fans who thought that he was just another ‘cupcake’ to pad the record of one of the sports various champs. Pavlik was dynamite in this fight, and his solid victory made a few of us – myself included – feel awfully prophetic, as his quiet nature kept him under the radar of most, perhaps even the man he ultimately brought to his knees in a very humbling experience. Mr. Jermain Taylor. Runner up: Pavlik over Miranda. This KO to me was equally as appealing in the sense that Pavlik did it to a very feared fighter that most ran away from. Not only did Pavlik fail to run away, but he actually chose to run to the ‘brick-handed’ puncher, and beat him at his own game. In my book, the best KO’s of ’07 belong to Kelly. In a perfect world his initials would be K.O., but falling one alphabet off – (K.P.) – you have to ask yourself, what in life is perfect? Perfect he may not be, but a KO artist he is.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.