By Ted Sares
Some might refer to it as a mugging, but a mugging takes a bit of planning and solid execution though the distinction between the two is a very fine one. It’s not a one-punch icing because that kind of end seldom happens early (Tua vs. Moorer being a notable exception). No, the blowout is an unmitigated assault launched at the opening bell as the perpetrator comes flying out of the chute motivated to end things quickly and decisively. The reaction of the crowd is one of shock and awe which is magnified if the man perpetrating the blowout is the underdog. Often the victim doesn’t even land a punch. And after possibly two or more knockdowns, the blowout is ended by a merciful referee.
Dee Collier vs. Tex Cobb (Oct. 29, 1985)
Denorvell “Dee” Collier fought out of California during the 80’s and finished with a modest record of 13-9. However, he was not one to be taken lightly. He had an iron chin and excellent power and a close inspection of his record reveals wins over some very tough opponents. Before his short career was over, Collier would twice defeat Mark Wills in bouts billed for the California heavyweight title, saddle Alex Garcia with his first defeat, ice – yes, ice – Monte Masters and go 10 hard rounds with a prime Buster Douglas.
Collier fought Tex Cobb at the Reseda Country Club in California. The iron-chinned Cobb had lost three straight, but he had failed to go the distance only once in his pro career, that coming in his second match with Michael Dokes, a bout stopped on cuts. In fact, he had been knocked down only once in his career, that coming in his most recent fight against promising Eddie Gregg.
If the heavily favored Cobb could score an impressive win, he might be in line for title bout against the heavyweight champion, Michael Spinks, or at least back in the mix. Collier, whose record was then 7-4, was seen as nothing more than a club fighter and Cobb was expected to score a decisive, if not early win.
At any rate, once the bell rang, the 6’4” Collier immediately used Cobb as a punching bag. Cobb’s legendary iron chin turned to glass as he became a basketball, hitting the deck four times before the bout ended at the 2:41 mark of the first round.
This was an old fashioned Texas dry-gulch with the rugged Texan being the ambushee. Like many other victims of a blowout, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and never had a chance. Collier had done what Holmes, Shavers and Norton could not do in 33 combined rounds. Tex had his lunch eaten in Reseda and the guy who did the eating was a mugger named Dee Collier.
James “Bonecrusher” Smith vs. Tim Witherspoon (Dec. 12, 1986)
“I knew his mind couldn’t be on the fight. He wasn’t thinking about me. My plan was to be all over him. He embarrassed me the last time and I wanted to pay him back. I did.” – James “Bonecrusher” Smith
In their rematch (Witherspoon won lopsidedly over 12 rounds in their first meeting), Bonecrusher, a last-minute sub, flew out of the chute at the opening bell and hurt Witherspoon with a right hand 10 seconds into the fight. Then Witherspoon walked into a solid left hook with about 90 seconds gone and was knocked almost through the ropes and down – for the first time in his career. He got up at the count of four on wobbly legs.
Smith never let up as he cautiously moved in, sensing the kill. He then sent Witherspoon down in a heap with another big right hand. Terrible Tim got up at five, spit out a tooth, root and all, and was in terrible shape as The Bonecrusher charged in. The staggering Witherspoon was met with a right hand that dropped him for the third time. Referee Luis Rivera immediately invoked the three-knockdown rule and waved the fight over at 2:12 of the opening round.
This one was a big upset which added to the shock value. Also noteworthy is that Witherspoon did not land a single punch as he was being blown away.
Iran Barkley vs. Darrin Van Horn (Jan. 10, 1992)
If you think Barkley was mad before the fight, wait until he sees how many people are taking part of his purse.”—Bob Arum, after his fighter, Iran Barkley, beat Darrin Van Horn
The “Schoolboy” met Iran “Blade” Barkley (27-7) at the Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden on January 10, 1982. This was Barkley’s turf, far away from the University of Kentucky campus where Van Horn was a part-time student. Van Horn, who held the IBF version of the world super middleweight title, was the favorite and his camp badly underestimated the Blade, who should not have been taken lightly under any circumstance
As the schoolboy entered the ring, you could see some confusion and maybe something else beginning to take hold on his face. He began to look like a deer caught in the headlights. The loud and raucous booing was not directed at his opponent this time; it was directly at him. He was the focus of derision. He was in the Blade’s house now and would be lucky to get out alive. The crowd smelled blood.
Meanwhile, the menacing-looking Barkley, wearing an old-school hooded robe, was pacing back and forth in his corner like a caged tiger, waiting for the bell to ring so he could launch what everybody expected to be an all-out bull rush. And that’s exactly what he did using a blitzkrieg attack.
The fight was almost anti-climactic as Barkley mauled the Schoolboy and dismantled him in less than two full rounds. Van Horn had come in with no game plan and ended up getting mugged in New York City (at a time when muggings in New York City were not all that unusual). After wobbling Darrin in the first round, Barkley decked the Kentuckian three times in the second before the slaughter was stopped 93 seconds into the round by referee Arthur Mercante Jr.
Dana Rosenblatt vs. Sean Fitzgerald ( Dec.10, 1993)
In a match between two fighters from Massachusetts -- a match with more than a touch of old school ethnicity to it -- “Dangerous” Dana Rosenblatt (16-0) met Sean “The Irish Express” Fitzgerald at Foxwoods. Fitzgerald was 18-1-2 with his only loss coming against Roberto Duran.
Team Fitzgerald was confident that the red-headed Irishman would beat the untested Rosenblatt. However, two minutes into the bout, Dana threw a 1-2 combination that sent Fitzgerald to the canvas, dazed and hurt. The fight ended 30 seconds later with Fitzgerald KOd following a Rosenblatt onslaught. This one was more shock and surprise than anything else as the Irish Express had been derailed.
Rosenblatt was somewhat of a specialist in blowout wins as Chad Parker and Howard Davis Jr, later found out. He finished with a superb record of 37-1-2
Lou Savarese vs. Buster Douglas (June 25, 1998)
This one was on a star-studded event at the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut. The date was June 25 and I was there. In fact, I recall that Julio Cesar Chavez (with a monster entourage) fought Ken Sigurani on the undercard—yes, I said “undercard.”
Big Lou Savarese, who won his first 36 professional starts, was coming off a win over overmatched Brett Lally but he had lost his two fights prior to that, getting outpointed by George Foreman and then savagely KOed by David Izon.
Buster opened up with his patented stiff jab and some sharp fast-handed combos; he seemed ready to rock and roll. In fact, most thought he would win this one. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he was dropped by a perfect Savarese right. The fans were up and shouting. Then another more malefic right put him down and this time he was visibly hurt. The end was near. After launching a fast and furious volley, Lou ended matters. How do you say “blowout”? The entire affair took just 2.34.
David Lemieux vs. Elvin Ayala (June 11, 2010)
Shock and awe was expected and shock and awe delivered as Lemieux dropped the game Ayala three times in the first round. It would be a precursor to many more Lemieux blitzkrieg wins.
Fast Forward (2019)
Last month, on Jan. 18, Pablo Cesar Cano shocked the boxing world by dropping Jorge Linares three times and scoring a first round TKO. Cano’s size and power at 140 pounds were too much for Linares, a title-holder in three lower weight classes, suggesting that he move back down to 135 pounds.
The first knockdown came just 15 seconds into the match when Cano landed a clubbing right. Then, with 84 seconds on the clock, the second came from another heavy right overhand. Cano then wisely switched to a vicious left hook to send Linares down again and prompting referee Ricky Gonzalez to perform a mercy stoppage.
The seven examples above are representative of a certain kind of fight; a blowout. Can you think of any others that might fit the criteria?
Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and Strongman competitors and plans to compete in at least three events in 2019. He is a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA).
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