Best Knockout with a Left Hook?

by Fran on April 29, 2010

The Best Knockout Ever Using a Left Hook?

The left hook is synonymous with knockouts, and often spectacular knockouts at that!  The shot relies on skill, rhythm and timing in order to land it effectively, but when it does land effectively it is not surprising that the left hook has resulted in some of the best knockouts in boxing history.

In December 1985, a young Donald Curry met the tall, languid figure of Milton McCrory in a Las Vegas boxing ring to sort out who was the top welterweight in the world.  The two boxers knew each other well as both were supremely talented amateurs and regularly performed toghether on the same US international teams.  Curry was giving away height and reach to the tall Kronk boxer, but had clearly put a great deal of thought into his strategy.

The first round passed without any real incident (although Curry was clearly on top and was looking to counter McCrory’s jab).  In the second round, the ‘Lone Star Cobra’ landed a left hook with such cataclysmic force that it would have been reasonable to expect to see a mushroom cloud form above the ring!  By some miracle or other (and some might say a questionable decision by Mills Lane to allow the bout to continue), McCrory lifted himself off the canvas only to be scythed down by a devastating right hook.  But let’s be clear here, the left hook was the staggeringly fast and powerful blow that ended the contest!

Check the video out below to view in my opinion the best knockout ever as the result of a left hook.  OK, so McCrory throws lazy jabs and his defence is not particularly tight, but the speed and economy of movement by Curry is what brings about the end.  Note also that Curry combines 3 skill elements that are covered by video articles on this site, that’s the inside slip, the move in (forward) and the mid-range left hook.  I wonder how much practise it would take for you to combine those elements to master the Curry knockout?



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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Roche November 2, 2014 at 6:48 am

Great video. Donald Curry is a bit before my time so this is the first time I’ve actually seen him in action. But I had heard his name mentioned in reverential terms before. Wow, he was sharp, wasn’t he? He makes his opponent look like a real plodder which I’m sure he wasn’t!

I also love the technical analysis of the knock-out left hook. As a student of the game 2 things puzzle me a bit though So maybe you can help Fran please.
(i) He slips inside first and then moves forward to deliver the left hook. Why wouldn’t he do the slip and move forward at the same time though as in one of your Capri articles? As doing the inside slip first puts all the weight on the front foot and makes it really difficult for him then to push forward from the back foot?
(ii) He slips to the inside of McCrory’s jab rather than the outside. Isn’t this a bit of a no no?

Thanks again Fran.


Fran November 3, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Hello Dan

Thanks for the questions.

1) Can be done either way. The left hook can be thrown on the move (as Don very ably demonstrates)
2) Slipping inside a jab is fine as long as you accept the risk that a right hand might follow the jab. Really speaking your head should be out of the firing line as you immediately get back to the start position.

Hope this makes sense.


Roland May 15, 2013 at 6:40 am

Not sure if you would agree with me, but Joe Frazier was also quite a monster in delivering left hooks to his opponents eh ? Correct me if i’m wrong. Thanks for sharing Fran !


Fran May 17, 2013 at 7:12 pm

He certainly was Roland, no argument there!


SnowMan August 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I meant 2011.


SnowMan August 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm


I found a left-hook for the ages from a left hook specialist that combines all the pointers you mention. This one is from a recent fight in Canada December 9th of 2012. Featherweight Jelena Mrdjenovich STOPS Olivia Gerula with a picture perfect slip, weight shift, and delivery. It was like Gerula got shot. It was Murder, I tell you, MURDER.


Fran August 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Yeah I’ve seen that one Snowman. A friend of the site pointed it out. Hell of a shot, would have put a hole in a brick wall, beautiful timing. Thanks for the link.


Fran August 31, 2011 at 9:24 pm


It’s poetry in motion watching Curry at his best. Whilst his big defeats at the hands of Honeyghan and McCallum stopped him fulfilling his potential, he is a technician’s dream. Such a smooth and efficient boxer. Still one of my favourites to watch, and well done for spotting the various skills. Interlacing the skills is, I believe, the key to it all.

Thanks Paul


svenjamin May 2, 2010 at 12:52 am

“Curry combines 3 skill elements that are covered by video articles on this site i.e. the inside slip, the move in (forward) and the mid-range left hook. I wonder how much practise it would take for you to combine those elements to master the Curry KO?”

Indeed. I’d be happy with combining just the first two effectively. Should one slip during forward motion, or slip and then move in with their punch?
I have been practicing the slipping technique as you describe it from a boxing stance. It seems to be predicated on having the hips at an angle, but this can be problematic in Muay Thai where we have to worry about being able to defend our legs. Is it possible to have an effective slip from a more square stance?


Fran May 2, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Hey Sven

Good to see you’re still keeping an eye on the site! You refer to two main points in your comment, so I’ll try to answer them in turn:

1. During this KO, Don Curry slips, then at the point in the slip where he is most ‘left’ (i.e. he is 50% of the way through the slip) he pushes forward and lashes in the left hook. It is a tremendously intricate passage, not particularly to sequence the skills, but more to sequence the skills at speed and still generate the power that Curry does.

2. Regarding the stance. You are exactly right, the boxing style that I convey here is predicated on that particular arrangement of the hips (see stance and on-guard). You may note that all right hand work on the site requires that stance to enable effective rotation. However, given that you have very good reasons for ‘squaring’ the stance in Muay Thai (defending the legs), then you have some ‘risk assessment’ to do. By squaring up, the basic slip will require a more exaggerated transfer of weight to the front leg (don’t let the body weight go ‘over’ the leg). On the flip side, if you use that slip to generate power for the left hook (short or mid-range), then there is a very good chance that you’ll get more ‘bang for your buck’ on that hook. It’s really a trade off I guess. Hope this answers you’re question, apologies if I seem to be ‘sitting on the fence’ a bit, but that’s life I guess.

Cheers and thanks for taking the time to comment.


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