YOU didn’t have to be a mind reader to know by the look on Dillian Whyte’s face that he was wondering: ‘What the hell hit me.’
Whyte, knocked out cold by Alexander Povetkin’s perfect left uppercut that exploded on his chin like a sniper’s bullet, didn’t see it coming.
The punch was so powerful it lifted his 18st frame off his feet and dumped him on his back in such a deep sleep, it’s a wonder he wasn’t snoring.
Last weekend in Brentwood, Whyte’s dream of challenging Tyson Fury, for his WBC world heavyweight title, was left in tatters.
Dillian appeared on his way to a comfortable win against the Russian, 40, when he became a victim of that boxing rarity — a devastating single KO blow.
It brought memories of other dramatic occasions I’ve seen when one shot out of nowhere turns certain victory into defeat.
Purists admire silky skills but for most there’s no more spine-tingling sight than someone flattened unexpectedly.
And perhaps most memorable of all was when 45-year-old George Foreman challenged unbeaten Michael Moorer — 19 years younger — for his WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles in Las Vegas 26 years ago.
Moorer must have seen all the lights of Vegas flashing before he landed senseless on the canvas and Foreman celebrated becoming the oldest-everworld heavyweight champ.
Old man Foreman was having his head jabbed off while Moorer gave him a systematic beating.
Three judges had Moorer far ahead as they came out for the tenth and it looked doubtful Foreman would make the final bell.
Little did we know Big George was seconds from history.
Moorer lost his focus and Foreman, seeing the opening, let fly with a right-hand bomb straight as an arrow that crashed against the champ’s jaw.
Moorer must have seen all the lights of Vegas flashing before he landed senseless on the canvas and Foreman celebrated becoming the oldest-ever world heavyweight champ.
Fourteen years before I watched in disbelief as the WBA heavyweight crown changed hands in Knoxville, Tennessee.
John Tate’s first defence in front of his hometown fans saw him way ahead on points against the unheralded Mike Weaver.
A tired and dispirited Weaver had never been 15 rounds.
With 55 seconds left of the final round he threw a desperate right cross.
It caught Tate right on the button and he crashed face down on the canvas, out to the world, while Weaver celebrated.
The most heartbreaking Brit defeat I saw was when Herol Graham threw away the vacant WBC middleweight title against Julian Jackson in Spain 30 years ago.
Graham had brilliantly outclassed Jackson and at the end of the third Julian looked beaten.
Everyone thought it was going to be stopped but his trainer persuaded the ref to give Jackson three more minutes.
All Herol had to do was jab and move but he tried to stop Jackson and the inevitable happened.
He left himself wide open and Jackson landed a howitzer of a right on Graham’s chin and he was out like a light.
Herol is arguably the best British fighter never to win a world title.
Whyte isn’t the first and won’t be the last to be sucker-punched.
He may take consolation in the words of George S Patton, the US World War II general who said “Success is measured by how high you bounced when you hit bottom”.
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