What Is The Best Knockout Punch?

August 20, 2010 August 20, 2010 by Johnny N Boxing Basics, Boxing Mailbag 17 Comments

What Is The Best Knockout Punch?

Q: What is the best punch for knocking out your opponent? – Ahmad Sadeed

A: Hands down, the left hook is the best punch for knocking out opponents.

To begin with, there are really only two “best” punches for knocking out your opponent, the right CROSS and the left HOOK. The right cross (or left cross if you’re a southpaw) is your most powerful punch because it’s thrown with your strong hand and pushed by your strong leg. The punch starts off in the back so it has a little more time to build up speed and hit with more power than any other punch you can throw.


The left hook gets its power from a full body rotation. Instead of being powered by the straight tricep like a right hand, the left hook relies on the shoulder, chest, and bicep muscle to swing the hook across your opponent’s jaw.


So why is the left hook the best knockout punch? There are numerous reasons. The left hook is not a straight punch; it’s a hook. A left hook will land on the side of your opponent’s head spinning it, which either knocks him out or makes him very dizzy. Another reason why landing a punch from the side is more devastating is because the head isn’t braced against anything and so the punch can go through the target and rattle the head. If you land straight right on an opponent’s head, it’s much less damage caused because his chin and entire head is braced from behind at the neck (especially if his chin is tucked down). Another advantage about the left hook is that it comes from the side and so it’s hard to see. The left hook can come from a blind angle at long distance or even short distance and everybody knows it’s the punches you don’t see that hurt you the most.

The right cross is still a bread and butter punch. It’s great for hurting and knocking out people with but it’s not the best knockout punch in my opinion. The uppercut is another great punch that has a deadly surprise angle but I find that it’s hard to use from far away.

Go watch highlights online of boxing knockouts and you’ll see that the most devastating ones are usually left hooks. There are many great fighters that have won numerous championships because they had great left hooks. There are some fighters that were known purely for their killer left hooks. (Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Roy Jones, Jeff Lacy, etc.) Not surprisingly, the left hook is also my favorite punch.

One of my favorite picture perfect left hooks ever landed.

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tony August 24, 2010 at 5:18 am

greatest knockout punc!!!
i want to give my oppinion on whats the best knockout punch,pleas read!!!
if you use the right thecniq,and right timing,every punch can be the best ko punch! examples: if you throw a quick jab tho the head,to set up the right hook,the opponent will blocking the jab,and wount see the powerfull right hook coming right to the temple!!!or i like to say the best ko punch,are the blind punch,the punch your opponent cant see.example: throw a left hook at the same time as you try to drive the opponent to the right,as the hook land,and then follow with a short,fast right hand stright to the jaw,or upper head! what will happend is: the opponent will try blocking the left hook,and when you try to push him to the right,nearer your own right,your right han will come so fast and short that he wount be able to see it coming..exuse my english,its not so good.but hope you people anderstand it.tony


Pat O April 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I agree the left hook is devastating, but please don’t forget Mickey Ward when mentioning a left hook from hell! We’re talking TKO body shots here, his bread and butter…


ben March 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm

favorite knockout ever


Morris May 31, 2013 at 6:28 pm

I think the hookercut and straight punches coming from the side and up are the perfect angles for a knockout. I like to hit from weird angles ,especially after The other day ,I got knocked down for the first time because my sparring partner got beside me when I was dazed and threw an over hand right thru my chin ,my legs shot out and I landed face first but jumped right up no dizzyness..i like to be positive and think thats a sign of a good chin lol


SugarShane June 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm

What about the uppercut????? It comes from an awkward angle and is often shocking.


Johnny N June 20, 2013 at 5:10 pm

I wouldn’t say the uppercut is the best knockout punch because opportunities for the uppercut don’t present itself as often and not as easily as it would for the right hand or left hook. Nonetheless, the uppercut is still a deadly punch and well known for many knockouts.


JD NYC June 9, 2015 at 8:42 pm

Agreed – uppercut is most lethal. It is difficult to land, however.


teles June 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm

No tito trinidad on that highlight ? are believe he has the best left hook ever in the history of boxing !!!


William Baron June 27, 2013 at 7:45 am

The Right cross is the most powerful punch of all and the most deadly. The left hook is pretty deadly too. But the right cross uses perfection to get the speed and the ferocity in control by knocking out an opponent with apparent ease.


Boxer1 December 4, 2013 at 12:32 am

Hey Johnny.
What about the cross and hook at the same time? I mean its like a cross but with an arc. i find it the hardest punch i can throw


Johnny N December 4, 2013 at 10:49 am

That sounds like an overhand right to me.


Boxer1 December 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

No it is like this one: http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/
But to the head not the body


Boxer1 December 5, 2013 at 10:42 am

It aim at the same place as a cross


Johnny N December 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Without seeing the movement, I have no idea what trajectory the hand used to get there. It could have been from long range with a wide arc or short range with a slight arc. It’s technically not a cross.


Jad d June 19, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Is it a right hook if we are right handed? Lol. Cz you said left cross if you’re a lefty but didn’t say right hook if you’re right handed. Thanks.

One additional question; when we throw a direct jab, is it more effective if we curl our fist while prolonging our hand? I mean turning our fist our fist while throwing the punch; it’s like if you had your thumb up, it will be thumb down after the punch. I heard it’s better for the elbow but I don’t see boxers really use it, maybe it’s slower? Thanks.


Johnny N July 23, 2014 at 1:58 am

It’s called a right hook if you’re throwing a right hook from the southpaw position. If you’re in orthodox position, it’s called an overhand right or wide right. I mean, sure, you COULD call it a right hook but more often it will anatomically become one of the other two.

Turning the fist as your extend the arm is standing boxing technique—DO IT!


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