Dog House Boxing's 2014 knockout of the year is…
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Dog House Boxing's 2014 knockout of the year is…
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (Dec 29, 2014)

Carl 'The Cobra' Froch
Carl 'The Cobra' Froch
Oh, the knockout, the most dramatic outcome in boxing. It can happen without warning. It's akin to being broadsided by a bus. One battered fighter is left prone on the floor while the winner, rejoices near his fallen foe.

While picking the knockout of the year can be challenging, three fights come to mind.

Heavyweight contender Amir Mansour has the kind of power that can knock a house down. Most know his story. Mansour lost eight years of his career in prison. In 2010, at the age of 38, he was back in the ring. He's KO'd 16 opponents in 21 wins.

Mansour's final appearance in 2014 was a few months ago against Fred Kassi. He made it a memorable one. He stalked Kassi for six rounds. Mansour connected with some hard shots, but the homerun blow hadn't landed. That changed in the next round.

Mansour fired a hard left that missed Kassi. His follow-up, a wicked right hook, landed flush. Kassi hung in the air for a millisecond, and then toppled to the canvas on his face. He didn’t move for five minutes.

For most of the first four and a half rounds, middleweight Andy Lee was hardly having a good time against the hard-hitting John Jackson. Lee, a southpaw, hit the canvas for the first time in his career in the opening stanza—courtesy of a heavy right hand from Jackson. The blow would have rendered other fighters unconscious, but Lee sprang up at the count of three.

Lee tried to rally in the next few rounds, but Jackson was a tad quicker. He stalked Lee, looking to land that big right hand again. Lee was able to touch Jackson with a few shots, but couldn’t hurt him. Jackson was making a mistake, looking for the home run blow and forgetting about his jab.

And had he forgotten that Lee can punch a little as well?

Apparently he had. Because in round five he managed to jolt Lee with a thudding combination. Lee slid off the ropes and actually tripped into his opponent’s corner. Jackson thought he had Lee right where he wanted him. He charged in and threw a left to the body. He was preparing to fire his big right hand, when Lee countered the left with his own short right hook. Jackson never saw the punch, collapsing on his face.

Carl Froch and George Groves don’t like each other. That was apparent before their first fight last year.

Groves clearly irritated the three-time super middleweight champion. His lack of respect had Froch beside himself. The fight turned out to be a donnybrook, as Groves, a heavy underdog going into the bout, floored Froch in the opening stanza. Froch rose and battled, but was clearly behind when referee Howard Foster, probably aware of Groves' reputation for running out of gas, controversially stopped the match in round nine. The stoppage was horribly premature. Groves was hurt, but was punching back when the referee draped his arms around him and waved off the contest.

The pro-Froch crowd booed lustily, forcing Froch, who has often said he'll fight anyone, to tangle with Groves again.

The rematch was to take place on May 31, 2014. History seemed to be repeating itself a few months before the event took place. Groves angered Froch by playing with (and solving) a Rubik’s cube. Then during a photo shoot at the venue for the fight, Froch wouldn’t look at Groves, gazing instead at the photographers while Groves stood facing him. Froch, wound tighter than a trip wire, suddenly shoved Groves.

Groves said to Froch,”Can you handle it? Why don’t you be professional, for God’s sake.”

Froch sneered and stared at Groves, who obviously felt that, once again, he had managed to get under the skin of the three-time super middleweight champion.

Not quite. Froch, 36 at the time of the fight, was clearly more focused and determined to silence his much younger nemesis.

Two days before the bout, Froch predicted the follow-up would end conclusively. Groves disagreed, saying that he would be the one to get a knockout victory.

In the end, it was Froch’s right hand that ended the discussion in round eight before 80,000 fans at a raucous Wembley Stadium in London, England.

The match started slowly. Froch, felled so dramatically in round one six months before, kept his left glove high and near his chin. Groves, the younger man by 10 years, ran out of gas in the later stages of the first fight. This time, he fought at a more measured pace and used his speed to take the lead.

Groves connected with a heavy left in round two. In rounds three and four, he continued to outwork Froch. He would slide to his left, stop, and throw a lightening quick combination. Froch closed his eyes and accepted the punishment. His reputation for being a tough guy is well-deserved.

Froch smacked his gloves together and made Groves work in the next few rounds. He forced his opponent into the ropes and landed a combination to the body. Like a powerful locomotive picking up steam, Froch continued to apply pressure. He connected with a right hand that opened up a cut under Groves' left eye in round five.

Groves fought back in the next stanza, but it was evident that the fight's momentum had changed. He was still beating Froch to the punch, but the champion was winning the battle of wills. Froch bulled him into the ropes and worked him over some more.

Before the fight, Groves said he would knock out Froch with his left. He landed a beauty in round seven that shook Froch, but by the end of the stanza, it was Groves holding on after a four-punch combination to the body.

Through seven rounds, the match was close. But Groves must have sensed the bout slipping way. He came out with more purpose in round eight. He moved and shot his jab from the hip, but was courting danger by allowing his left arm to hang by his side. Froch stalked and ate more punches.

The Nottingham native is blessed with one of the best chins in the business. Groves nailed him with a strong combination that Froch hardly noticed. Groves seemed to be feeling his rhythm as he backed into the ropes and set himself to throw a left hook. Froch feinted, drawing Groves' eyes to his own left and let fly with a heat-seeking right hand. The punch landed flush on Groves' chin and dropped him with a thud.

Referee Charlie Fitch immediately waved off the contest at 2:34 seconds of round eight. Groves rose, then fell into the referee’s arms.

As impressive as the Mansour and Lee knockouts were, the Froch right hook was the most dramatic. The bout was incredibly tense to watch. It was like a horror film were the audience waits for a hand to appear out of nowhere for the big scare.

In this case it was the Froch right, which eliminated the champion's personal demon. And also won him the knockout of the year.

John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at:

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