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Boxers Discuss How It Feels To Get KOed

By Mark “Scoop” Malinowski

Ring observers have watched hundreds of knockouts on TV. But seeing is not necessarily believing. What does it feel like? I talked with combatants of the squared circle about what happens, what is the sensation like when they get clobbered by a perfect punch? Here are some of their hazy recollections including a couple about the most mysterious of all – the blackout punch:

Eusebio Pedroza: “Orlando Omares was my toughest opponent. He was the only fighter that actually had me seeing the ring upside down!”

James “Buddy” McGirt: “Vincent Relaford out of Texas, he was tough, man. He hit me in the stomach and I felt it in my nose [smiles]. I felt it in my nasal passage. I mean it. Like someone stuck a shank in me.”

Renaldo Snipes: “I knew guys that fought on my under cards, that could not remember anything. It was a long time ago so I don’t remember their names or which fight but I can recall laughing. (Like what did you see?) Well, they would say, When is my fight? And they just got through fighting. They would say, What round did I knock him out in? And it was he who got knocked out.”

Juan Diaz: “When I first got knocked down, ever, in my boxing career – as an amateur or professional. I was, I believe, in my tenth pro fight. I got knocked down in the second round. I blacked out. I finished the fight. I didn’t even know it – if I won or lost. I remember waking up when my strength coach was taking off my boxing shoes. I said, Man, what happened? Did I win or what? And I go back and that’s like the only fight that I don’t remember, from like the second round on. (Against who?)  Ubaldo Hernandez. (What punch floored you?) Left hook to chin. I was pulling back and it caught me right on the chin.”

Cornelius Boza-Edwards: “John ‘The Heat’ Verderosa hit me with a right hand in the first round that felt like bricks! I always wanted to know what he had in those gloves.”

Bob Foster: “Joe Frazier put me right to sleep with a left hook. I just saw a bunch of stars – the most beautiful stars I’ve ever seen in my life [smiles].”

Gene Fullmer: “That left hook from (Sugar Ray) Robinson must have been hard. But I never felt it [laughs].”

Andrew Golota: “The Pouha fight, he hit me with a right hand – and I didn’t like know my name. So I bit him (on the neck) so he stopped hitting me.”

Jose Torres: “Dick Tiger caught me with one good punch in thirty rounds. But it felt like a million ants came crawling inside my body through the pores, all at once.”

Howard Davis Jr.: “There was a Colombian in the amateurs. The guy was a big guy, his record was like 88-0 with 55 KO’s. I’ll never forget that record. We fought in Washington, DC in 1975, it was USA vs. Colombia. In the first round the guy hit me real hard. I woke up in the dressing room. He hit so hard he jarred my memory. I woke up when my father took my hand-wraps off. I whispered to him, Where am I? Did I win? He said, Yeah, you won. He hit you with one punch, he never hit you again. After that one punch I didn’t remember anything. My father said I was signing autographs on the way to the dressing room. It turned out he was a welterweight. They put me in the wrong weight class.”

Name withheld upon request: “Sultan Ibragimov just stopped Al Cole at the Garden in the first round. The next fight we had at the Garden, Sultan stopped Javier Mora in the first round too. And in the ring after I was talking to one of the commission guys and he said he asked Al Cole right after the knockout, Where are you? And Al said, ‘I’m going shopping with my wife.” And he isn’t even married!” 

Ali vs Liston art by Barrymore Alan Mouton.



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