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Boxers With The Best Left Hooks of All Time
Legends of The Ring
This list is in no particular order but all ten boxers deserve to be on any top ten list to do with left hooks. All of the fighters below have scored impressive knockouts with the hook against top competition. Several Boxers with outstanding left hooks did not make the cut because this list only has room for ten selections.
Honorable Mentions: Tommy Morrison, Earnie Shavers, Carlos Zarate, Gerry Cooney, Sonny Liston, George Foreman and Arturo Gatti.
Sugar Ray Robinson
Who has the best left hook in boxing history?
Sugar Ray Robinson
Ring Record: 173-19-6 with 108 Knockouts
Sugar Ray Robinson is the former Welterweight and five time Middleweight Champion of the world. Obviously he had power producing 108 recorded knockouts. Although his right hand and uppercut caused several ten counts it was his left hook that was his most deadly shot without a doubt. He is considered the best boxer in history pound for pound and his offensive arsenal, chin, heart and footwork are the primary reasons. Robinson started combinations with the left hook and finished them with the left hook.
Robinson used his left hook to knockout Gene Fullmer who had an iron chin. Among Robonson's knockout victims were Jake La Motta (Unanswered shots on the ropes), Gene Fullmer, Rocky Graziano and BoBo Olsen. Not to mention the way he hooks off the jab which is how he kept Kid Gavilan tame twice and Carmen Basilio running into shots, Henry Armstrong and Tommy Bell could not escape the jab or lead left hooks which Sugar Ray used to good effect in both matches.
Smokin' Joe Frazier
Ring Record: 32-4-1 with 27 Knockouts
Smokin' Joe Frazier won a Gold Medal in the 1964 Olympics and the heavyweight world title as a professional. He was a great fighter in his prime and it can all be owed to his left hook. He threw double and triple hooks to the head and body with full power at all times and it was so fun to watch his battles with Ali. Many boxing historians say Frazier has the best left hook in the sports storied history. He couldn't beat Big George Foreman but otherwise he was a great prizefighter.
Frazier knocked out Jimmy Ellis with a double left hook to win the vacant heavyweight title and then when he defended it against the then undefeated Muhammad Ali he floored Ali with a leaping left Hook in the 15th round of their first bout. Also, Frazier used his deadly accurate and short hook to chop down Ellis, Jerry Quarry, Buster Mathis, Oscar Bonavena, Eddie Machen, Bob Foater and George Chuvalo.
Birthplace of Joe Frazier (Beaufort, South Carolina)
The Brown Bomber
Ring Record: 66-3 with 52 Knockouts.
"The Brown Bomber" Joe Louis has the record for the most defenses of the heavyweight title with 25. Louis was an offensive machine and he was deadly with lefts and rights, hooks, crosses and uppercuts not to mention his jab was like some boxers' power shot. Louis lacked fast footwork but he had an outstanding jab, right hand and left hook which he used to break jaws and finish bouts.
Louis used combinations to finish many of his opponents but his left hook was always involved in his opponents destruction one way or the other. Louis knocked out Max Schmeling, Max Baer, Buddy Baer, Billy Conn (Twice), Jersey Joe Walcott, Jimmy Braddock and Primo Carnera just to name a few.
Felix "Tito" Trinidad
Ring Record: 42-3 with 35 Knockouts
Felix "Tito"Trinidad won titles in the welterweight, jr. middleweight and middleweight divisions. He made 15 defenses of the welterweight crown which is second all time. Tito has a huge right hand and a demolition of a body attack but it's the left hook that is his calling card. He would pivot and turn perfectly when he unleashed his signature shot. Slow of foot as he proved when Oscar De La Hoya baffled him but huge on heart and power.
Trinidad has knocked out Yori Boy Campas, Maurice Blocker, William Joppy, Fernando Vargas, Ricardo Mayorga and Larry Barnes at least partially because of his deadly hook. Also, David Reid, Pernell Whitaker and Hector Camacho were scared stiff by the power of Tito's left hook.
Felix Trinidad Fight Highlights
The Baddest Man on The Planet
Iron Mike Tyson
Ring Record: 50-6 with 44 Knockouts
Iron Mike Tyson is a two time heavyweight champion and the youngest heavyweight champion in history. He won the crown at 20 years of age. Tyson was an offensive weapon who loved body work, hooks, crosses and uppercuts. His left hook was still his best punch and when it landed solidly opponents crumbled.
Iron Mike knocked out Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Tony Tubbs, Trevor Berbick, Tyrell Biggs, Frank Bruno and Alex Stewart with sweeping left hooks or at least the hook was part of the pinpoint combination that finished matters. He beat Trevor Berbick to become the youngest champion and then he unified by beating the other two champions, James "Bonecrusher" Smith and Tony Tucker.
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Ring Record: 35-15 with 31 Knockouts
Although Cuevas was limited with footwork and speed his power more than made up for his shortcomings. Cuevas leveled Angel Espada in two rounds to win the welterweight championship and defended it eleven times. Cuevas was capable of out boxing an opponent but if things didn't go his way against a slick boxer he had an equalizer. Cuevas has literally leaped off of one foot to land a homerun left hook to end matters and it's worked more than once.
Pipino Cuevas used tremendous leverage when he punched especially with his monstrous left hook which he launched up close and from a distance with equal effect. Among his knockout victims were: Espada, Miguel Angel Campanino, Harold Weston, Scott Clark, Billy Backus and Randy Shields.
Sugar Ray Robinson's Career Highlights
Ring Record: 44-10-2 with 29 Knockouts
Evander "The Real Deal" Holyfield won a Bronze Medal in the 1984 Olympics, Unified the Cruiserweight championship and won the heavyweight championship four different times which is a division record. Holyfield works off footwork and the jab but his power shot is the left hook. Holyfield has a steel chin and his will is elite level which gives him a constant chance in any bout. His fights have always been high drama and Evander always gave his best.
Holyfield put the iron chinned Ray Mercer on his butt with the hook and in the third bout with Riddick Bowe Holyfield floored Bowe and had hi out on his feet with his left hook on full blast. Among Holyfield's victims were: Bowe, Mercer, Mike Tyson, Michael Moorer, George Foreman, Lrry Holmes, Alex Stewart and Dwight Muhammad Qawi.
Joe Frazier Highlights
Ring Record: 56-8-1 with 46 Knockouts
This light heavyweight king simply destroyed Dick Tiger in four rounds to begin his reign of terror at 175 pounds. Truth be told Foster has power in his right and his left but in slow motion on video you can see Foster turning all of his body into his left hooks. His hooks made his opponents cringe and in some cases completely go stiff. Foster was tall and lanky and he reminds me of a light heavyweight Tommy Hearns.
Foster has fought and beaten: Tiger, Willie Besmanoff, Mark Tessman, Mike Quarry, Chris Finnegan, Pierre Fourie and Vicente Rondon among many other light heavyweights and heavyweights.
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Everlast Boxing Headgear
Julio Cesar Chavez
Ring Record: 107-6-2 with 86 Knockouts
Mexico's best of all time is a former Jr. Lightweight, Lightweight and Three time jr. welterweight champion of the world. His left hook to the head was a solid shot don't get me wrong but it's the left hook to the body that lands Chavez on this list. He never relented with his pressure and left hook to the body from rounds one through twelve. He had a steel chin, and he always fought the best during his long career.
Chavez used his left hook to the head and body to Knockout or completely outclass: Edwin Rosario, Hector Camacho, Greg Haugen, Roger Mayweather, Tony Lopez, Meldrick Taylor and Jose Luis Ramirez among many others during his distinguished prizefighting career.
Roy Jones, Jr. Vs. James Toney
Roy Jones, Jr.
Ring Record: 57-8 with 40 Knockouts (As of 2014)
Roy Jones, Jr. is a Silver Medal winner from the 1988 Olympics and he also won titles in the middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight (3 Times), and Heavyweight divisions as a professional. Jones had power in his left and right but his lead left hook was truly devastating. He has knocked out or at least nullified top boxers with his fast, powerful and extremely accurate left hook. I watched him on HBO in the 90's and he was like the Michael Jordan of boxing to be sure.
Jones, Jr. Tamed James Toney and stifled Bernard Hopkins with lead left hooks and hooking off the stick. Other opponents who Jones dealt with were: John Ruiz, Antonio Tarver, Montell Griffin Virgil Hill, Reggie Johnson and Vinnie Pazienza.
© 2014 Buster Johnson