BANG! BANG! BANG! Rating Boxing’s Hardest Punchers (Volume III)

Has it really been almost a year since TQBR combined the fight scribe’s laziest tool with some statistical analysis in order to celebrate boxing’s deadliest knockout artists? And that isn’t a reference to Odlanier Solis or Gary Shaw, people. Oh no. The tool in question is another of those dreaded top 10 listings.

Unlike the usual fare, though, this one is built upon cold and unflinching numbers rather than the subjective scribblings of a daydreaming writer or an alphabet organisation’s leanings towards whichever promoter is paying well that particular month.

1. Vitali Klitschko (Heavyweight)

“Dr. Ironfist” retains the top spot despite having negotiated the final bell for only the third time in his career. In October, Vitali thrashed the tar, stuffing and any other euphemism you care to fancy out of muscle-bound underachiever Shannon Briggs, yet he was unable to rid himself of the dreadlocked blatherer inside schedule. Clearly unhappy with this turn of events the tough old buzzard returned in March, pinging Solis so hard on top of his head, he caused the cocksure Cuban’s knee ligaments to implode in the opening round. That’s much more like it.

Klitschko’s position as powermonger-in-chief was threatened briefly last year, after Canadian middleweight David Lemieux (currently sporting a 92.31 kayo percentage) broke into his divisional top ten. That was, until Mexican veteran Marco Antonio Rubio reacquainted him with the tale of The Tortoise and the Hare in April, sending him chastened from the ratings almost as quickly as he’d arrived and smacking him out of contention in the process.

Kayo to fight percentage: 88.64

2. Juan Manuel Lopez (Featherweight)

Although Klitschko left the door ajar marginally against Briggs, the Ukrainian dreadnought continued to win. His immediate rivals, meanwhile, did not — reemphasising how ring craft tends to recede once a fighter becomes preoccupied with their own stopping power.

Lopez is that rare gem: an accomplished yet vulnerable puncher. Despite picking up another stoppage against Rafael Marquez in November, the wheels finally came off four months ago against the well schooled Orlando Salido. Quite whether Lopez can continue to peddle his highwire act — and if he can, whether it will be long enough to ascend to the head of this chart — remains to be seen.

Kayo to fight percentage: 87.10

3. David Haye (Heavyweight)

Once hailed as a potential saviour of the heavyweight division, Haye subverted high expectations of him in bouts with Audley Harrison and Wladimir Klitschko. After serving the farcical Harrison contest up as fine wine in the U.K., broadcaster Sky Sports found itself tarred and feathered after punters coughed the resulting moonshine all over their televisions in disgust.

Still, Haye had racked up another swift win before he went on to fail miserably against Wladimir Klitschko. In a battle between two of the boxing’s hardest punchers, both men seemed more concerned with avoiding a knockout than actually administering one.

Kayo to fight percentage: 85.19

4. Mikey Garcia (Featherweight)

Garcia debuts impressively after flattening a string of opponents en route to his number nine ranking at featherweight. Kid brother to former junior lightweight champion turned coach Robert, Mikey (real name Miguel Angel Garcia Cortez) has shown expert poise throughout his rise, steadily dismantling opponents rather than seeking to roll right over the top of them.

The latest edition of fighting brethren, Garcia trains under his father Eduardo in Riverside County and has cut his teeth in sparring against the likes of Brandon Rios, Israel Vazquez and Chris John. Mikey, who continues to chase a bout with Cuban phenom Yuriorkis Gamboa, could yet prove to be the finest technician of them all.

Kayo to fight percentage: 84.62

5. Marcos Maidana (Junior Welterweight)

Maidana was once fingered as the man to succeed concussion maestro Edwin Valero. The crude swatting Argentinean has since lost his touch though, having been extended three times in as many bouts.

The first of these recent misfires came in a laboured decision victory over Washington’s DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley last summer and defeat then followed to Amir Khan, again via the long route. It should be noted though, that Corley was crunched to the canvas in round 7 and Maidana came within a mullet hair from putting the young Boltonian’s lights out in round 10 – suggesting that he hasn’t completely misplaced his opiate properties. “El Chino” then endured a surprising struggle against aging great Erik Morales, resulting in yet another closely contested points victory.

Maidana is planning to return to action next weekend yet has been left to scour for a victim after original opponent Robert Guerrero fell lame.

Kayo to fight percentage: 84.38

6. Lucas Matthysse (Junior Welterweight)

The other tattooed, sledgehammer-wielding Argentine roughneck enters the rankings one spot behind his countryman. Matthysse isn’t on a particularly destructive run; however, the splashes that he made in losing contentious verdicts to Zab Judah and then Devon Alexander helped to secure him the number six spot he currently holds down at 140 lbs.

A showdown against compatriot Maidana would be the most eagerly awaited firefight since Freeport’s Gerald McLellan faced off against The Virgin Islands’ Julian Jackson back in 1993. Tin hats would be a prerequisite for ringsiders should that one ever see the light of day.

Kayo to fight percentage: 83.87

7. Wladimir Klitschko (Heavyweight)

Like brother Vitali, the heavyweight champ has had a mixed term, splattering Samuel Peter and then outpointing the aforementioned Haye in a snoozer. Klitschko is now only one straight right hand away from equalling the knockout ledger of heavyweight legend Jack Dempsey after having surpassed former champs such as Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston and Larry Holmes.

Kayo to fight percentage: 83.05

8. Roman Gonzalez (Junior Flyweight)

Gonzalez is the only fighter listed here without a hope of facing at least one of the other bone crunchers that encase him. That’s a shame. Since moving up from strawweight the Nicaraguan appears to have carried his power with him after bombing out Francisco Rosas and Omar Salado, although, he couldn’t quite bump off Manuel Vargas in March — which kept him out of the top three.

A sure fire thriller against 108-lb. champion Giovani Segura remains out of his grasp for the moment – yet a green light on that one would have fans salivating over another potential light flyweight epic in the mould of Humberto Gonzalez’s struggles against Michael Carbajal and Saman Sorjaturong.

Kayo to fight percentage: 82.76

9. Lucian Bute (Super Middleweight)

“Le Tombeur’s” six-fight knockout streak propels him into the top 10 alongside Gonzalez. Omitted from Showtime’s Super Six tournament, Bute has been marking time by cracking skulls in both his adopted hometown of Quebec in Canada and, in his last fight against Frenchman Jean Paul Mendy, his home country of Romania.

A savvy marksman, Bute looks set to face the cement-headed old timer Glen Johnson next up which in all likelihood ends any prospect of him making it seven hits on the spin.

Kayo to fight percentage: 82.76

10. Tavoris Cloud (Light Heavyweight)

Cloud clings onto his top 10 berth thanks to Kelly Pavlik’s career stasis. While name fighters mingle all around him, the heavy handed Floridian has been left to go dangle as his peers make merry against one another.

At 29, Cloud craves a money spinning date almost as badly as Amir Khan needs a child lock on his Twitter account or Russell Mora requires an optician.

Kayo to fight percentage: 82.61

About Tim Starks

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