Highest number of knockouts in boxing

Published:

If you are looking for a quick answer to, "Who has the most number of knockouts in boxing history?" — it is Billy Bird, with 139 KOs out of 356 fights.

As quick as this answer is, it is an equally boring answer. And probably it is not what you are really looking for. Maybe you actually want to know more, like, "Who are the top 10 or maybe the top 50 boxers with the most number of knockouts? Does my favorite boxer make it to the list? Does the boxer I don't like so much make it?", etc.

The answer to what you are looking for is actually not as simple as you would think. Someone could have fought 1,000 "tomato cans", and knocked all of them out. Is that what you are looking for? How meaningful is such a performance to you? Probably worthless and of zero interest.

So we have created two lists for you. One is about knockouts count in general, and the other is for knockouts in title fights. It is very likely that you will find the answer(s) to your question(s) in these two lists.

Highest knockouts count

This list is about the most number of knockouts, irrespective of the quality of opponents or the relevance of the fights — purely numbers, with no significance of any kind.

Considering how infrequently the present day boxers fight, it is very unlikely that any of them will ever make it to this list. In fact, their fight record itself may never reach the least number of knockouts on this list. So this list is likely to be historical and is already set in stone.

Table of 50 boxers with the all-time highest number of knockouts.

#BoxerTotal FightsKOsKO%
1Billy Bird35613939
2Archie Moore22013260
3Young Stribling29112944.3
4Sam Langford31412640.1
5Buck Smith22812052.6
6Kid Azteca25211445.2
7George Odwell21011152.8
8Sugar Ray Robinson20010954.5
9Peter Maher17710760.4
10Sandy Saddler16210363.5
11Henry Armstrong18310054.6
12Joe Gans19710050.8
13Jimmy Wilde1509865.3
14Len Wickwar4739419.9
15Jorge Castro1449062.5
16Chalky Wright2388736.6
17Julio César Chávez1158674.8
18Yori Boy Campas1288364.8
19Jose Luis Ramirez1118273.9
20Fritzie Zivic2338134.8
21Rubén Olivares1057975.2
22Ceferino Garcia1627445.7
23Primo Carnera1037269.9
24Benny Leonard2197032
25Roberto Durán1197058.8
26Earnie Shavers896876.4
27George Foreman816884
28Marcel Cerdan1146557
29Willie Pep2416527
30George Chuvalo936468.8
31Carlos Zárate706390
32Alexis Argüello856272.9
33Ike Williams1576138.9
34Carlos Monzón1005959
35Cleveland Williams925863
36Eric Esch905763.3
37Georges Carpentier1125750.9
38José Luis Castillo805771.3
39Jhonny González795569.6
40José Nápoles885461.4
41Manuel Ortiz1315441.2
42Shannon Briggs685377.9
43Wladimir Klitschko695376.8
44Ezzard Charles1215243
45Joe Louis695275.4
46Jorge Páez985253.1
47Marvelous Marvin Hagler675277.6
48Boonsai Sangsurat805163.7
49Marco Antonio Rubio685175
50Max Baer815163

Most knockouts in title fights

The next list is a more meaningful one, since it is about knockouts in title fights instead of mere numbers. Of course, title fights don't always equal great matchups but there is better control in terms of opponent quality; and in the majority of cases, we get to see worthy opponents against the champions.

It is likely that you will look for a certain dominant champion with a very high knockout percentage on this list and will not find him or her. Why is that? That's because this list is not about knockout percentage. In fact, a list based on knockout percentage would be pretty meaningless — 1 KO out of 1 fight is 100%, just as 100 KOs out of 100 fights is — and the two are incomparable.

Table of 50 boxing world champions with the all-time highest number of knockouts.

#BoxerTitle FightsKOsKO%
1Joe Louis282382.1
2Julio César Chávez372156.8
3Dariusz Michalczewski272074.1
4Gennady Golovkin262076.9
5Ricardo López261973.1
6Wladimir Klitschko291965.5
7Wilfredo Gómez231878.3
8Alexis Argüello221777.3
9Naoya Inoue191789.5
10Oscar De La Hoya291758.6
11Ratanapol Sor Vorapin241770.8
12Félix Trinidad211676.2
13Henry Armstrong251664
14Miguel Cotto261661.5
15Larry Holmes261557.7
16Marco Antonio Barrera301550
17Muhammad Ali251456
18Naseem Hamed161487.5
19Roy Jones Jr.271451.9
20Terence Crawford171482.4
21Terry Norris251456
22Antonio Cervantes231356.5
23Bernard Hopkins341338.2
24Fernando Montiel221359.1
25Regina Halmich461328.3
26Roberto Durán241354.2
27Azumah Nelson241250
28Boonsai Sangsurat161275
29Manny Pacquiao281242.9
30Marvelous Marvin Hagler151280
31Michael Moorer171270.6
32Nonito Donaire221254.5
33Omar Narvaez321237.5
34Shane Mosley221254.5
35Vitali Klitschko171270.6
36Bob Foster161168.8
37Canelo Álvarez221150
38Érik Morales221150
39Eusebio Pedroza221150
40Joe Calzaghe241145.8
41José Cuevas131184.6
42Kostya Tszyu161168.8
43Manuel Ortiz231147.8
44Carlos Monzón151066.7
45Carlos Zárate141071.4
46Éder Jofre131076.9
47Floyd Mayweather Jr.261038.5
48Gervonta Davis111090.9
49Jhonny González191052.6
50Kazuto Ioka231043.5

There are two active boxers in the top-10 on this list — Gennady Golovkin and Naoya Inoue.

Golovkin just needs three more knockouts to reach Joe Louis' record. Him being 40 years old may make it a difficult task, but if he can reach or surpass Louis' record, it would be quite an achievement.

Inoue is still young at 29, but he will have to knock out six more opponents to reach Louis' record. Considering he is moving up a weight class, knockouts may become harder to come by (we shall see), and if he reaches or surpass Louis' record, it would be an incredible achievement for someone who started fighting at light-flyweight (49 kg / 108 lb).

Conclusion

Billy Bird (139), Archie Moore (132), and Young Stribling (129) are the top three boxers with the higest knockout count. Joe Louis (23), Julio César Chávez (21), and Dariusz Michalczewski & Gennady Golovkin (20) have the three highest knockout count in title fights.

Hope this article provided you with the answer to the question you were looking for, and hopefully answered some more.