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Knockout Of The Year: Andy Lee KO 5 John Jackson


By William Wade

Any generic trawl of youtube containing the words ‘boxing’ and ‘knockout’ will reveal a plethora of the greatest fight-stopping punches of the cinematic era. Almost every list will contain the ‘Suzy Q’ right hand of Rocky Marciano crashing into Jersey Joe Walcott’s jaw, leaving him crumbling on the ropes.


You will also most likely see Marvin Hagler’s desperate attack in the third round of a frantic battle with Tommy Hearns come to fruition as he catches the original Hitman on the ropes and clinches victory from the jaws of potential defeat. You might also catch Hearns on the delivery end of a thunderous right hook, removing Roberto Duran from his ring-wise senses. Sure to be found will be Julian Jackson, and his split-second demolition of Herol Graham for the WBC middleweight title in 1990. Jackson was a barnstormer, punching his way through the 1980s and 1990s and eventually registering a devastating record of 49 kos in 55 wins. It seems that Julian’s son, John Jackson, has inherited a measure of his father’s power.

John Jackson, by the time he met Andy Lee for the NABF junior-middleweight title at Madison Square Garden on the night of 7th June this year, had registered 17 wins, 15 by way of knockout. Lee would be his sternest test of course, but as the fight began, it looked like it might be another ko for an unstoppable Jackson, as he put Lee down in the very first round. Whether it was Lee being a slow-starter or Jackson simply proving too strong on the night, by the time these two pugilists entered the fifth round, all three judges had Jackson winning by a margin of 39-36.


It certainly looked like Jackson was passing the Andy Lee test. But the thrill of the sport of boxing - aside from the class, the tactics, the strength, the courage and the sheer tenacity which fighters bring to the prize ring – is the fact that within a flash, a fight can be turned on its head, with everyone wondering, “What happened there?”


The fifth round of the battle between Jackson and Lee will be replayed on the annals of youtube from this year on, but more so no doubt by the fighters themselves. After another two-fisted attack by Jackson, pushing Lee to the ropes, it looked like this fight would possibly end in this round. Jackson was ferocious in his intention with big, powerful hooks. Lee was responding, and certainly not being bullied, but the momentum was most definitely with Jackson. As Lee ducked under the torrent, moving off to his left, he found himself with his back to the ropes again.


Jackson quickly followed, jabbing out his left and beginning to sting forward his right. But in that smallest of gaps between a jab returning and the big right hand crashing in, Lee, looking composed and intentional, swung his own right hand in a low hook reminiscent of Ray Robinson’s ko of Gene Fullmer, or Jersey Joe Walcott’s finish of Ezzard Charles. It was that quick; and it was that good. As soon as the punch landed, Lee seemed to know it was over. Jackson fell face-down on the canvas. There was no need for a count. It is possibly the greatest punch Lee may throw in his career, and will go down on the youtube knockout list as a top-ten favourite.


That is why this knockout of 2014 has been voted the best by SecondsOut’s team of writers from around the world.


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