“The most damaging punch is the one you don’t see coming.”
Ask any veteran boxing observer how a fighter got detached from his senses from a punch, and they will likely tell you that. It’s as true in life as it is in the ring. Typically, we are most affected by events that come from nowhere and take us by surprise. It is not necessarily the force of the impact that causes the damage, but how totally ill prepared we are for it. In football, the best linemen are assigned to protect the quarterback’s blindside. In war, a flanking maneuver remains a viable technique 10,000 years on. It’s always the shots we don’t see coming that hurt us most.
On Feb. 22, at the Venetian Resort in Macau, Marvelous Marvin Sonsona landed such a punch on Akifumi Shimoda. Shimoda started the 3rd round boxing smartly. He was coming forward behind a high guard, attempting to close the distance between himself and Sonsona, who was staying just out of range, popping his southpaw jab, and keeping his hands dangerously low. Shimoda had been landing the more telling punches through the opening rounds.
Sonsona was relaxed, moving around like a man with all the time in the world. Just as it looked as though Shimoda had trapped him in a corner, Sonsona snapped out a jab. At the same time, Shimoda stepped in. And just like that, the fight was over, because what followed Sonsona’s jab was a wicked left uppercut that came under Shimoda’s left arm and crumpled him like wet laundry. Shimoda’s left leg folded under him and he flopped to his back. Referee Danrex Tapdansan counted to three and waived the bout off.
Sonsona sprinted around the ring in celebration as his team poured in to hoist him in the air. Some 45 seconds after that uppercut ended the fight, Shimoda finally moved his head, but was unable to rise for several more minutes. The combination was so fast that it wasn’t until several viewings in slow motion that the broadcast team and the spectators were able to finally see the full force of the punch that ended the fight. It was as glorious as it was horrifying.
The clear devastation of Gennady Golovkin or Carl Froch’s over hand right, the desperation right hook of Andy Lee, and the execution style left hook of Nicholas Walters were all worthy candidates. But none matched the frightening speed and impact of Marvin Sonsona’s uppercut KO of Akifumi Shimoda, and that is why it is TQBR’s knockout of the year.