Flash knockdown: What is it?


    There are authoritative knockdowns and there are “flash knockdowns.”You may have heard a fight commentator say at ringside, “That was just a flash knockdown.” 

    So what is a flash knockdown?

    First, let’s define “knockdown:”

    An official knockdown is ruled in boxing when a fighter is punched and:

    a) a part of his/her body other than the feet touch the canvas (such as his butt or glove)

    b) when a fighter is being held up by the ropes (i.e. the fighter would have fallen had the ropes not been there) 

    c) when a fighter is hanging on, through, or over the ropes and

    d) cannot protect himself and, for whatever reason, is lodged in a position where he can’t fall

    Knockdowns usually occur when a fighter is hit by a hard punch or a series of blows that physically move him/her or offset the recipient’s equilibrium thus causing the knockdown.

    Flash Knockdown
    Many assert a flash knockdown occurs when a boxer is floored but rises to his feet quickly, just as or before the referee begins the count. Moreover, some would refer to it as a no-count.

    But a flash knockdown is really just a “fluke” knockdown when the floored fighter hasn’t been the least bit hurt and is more embarrassed than anything else.

    In these cases, a fighter is usually floored because he/she was punched while off-balance or in an awkward position. And sometimes, a fighter can be floored by a light punch or glancing blow simply because he/she was caught off guard – Not because the shot had devastating effects. 

    I was the victim of a flash knockdown once and barely felt the punch. As a matter of fact, it may have been one of the lighter shots I absorbed during that sparring session – But I didn’t see it and was caught by surprise. I wasn’t the least bit dazed or hurt.

    In 1971, Joe Frazier unleashed a wicked left hook to the chin of Muhammad Ali in the 15th Round of their heavyweight super fight. Although Ali arose very quickly (the count of 3?) it was not a flash knockdown. That was a real and legitimate powershot and the knockdown it produced was, by no means, a fluke. 

    Ali could have gotten up at 1 and it wouldn’t have been a flash knockdown.

    Authoritative Knockdown. NOT a flash knockdown

    Sometimes how a fighter reacts when fighting resumes (after the knockdown)  is an indication of whether he/she was the victim of a flash knockdown.

    If the fighter is cautious, more defensive, or a bit unsteady (as Ali was above), he/she was definitely impacted so the event couldn’t or shouldn’t be categorized as a flash knockdown.

    But if she/he, after being floored, immediately resumes fighting as if nothing happened, the event might classify as a flash knockdown. 

    Are flash knockdowns and authoritative (regular) knockdowns scored the same?

    Answer: Absolutely.

    The strength of the actual knockdown is not judged, only the knockdown itself.  

    Prominent Nevada boxing judge Duane Ford told SecondsOut:

    “It is important that a judge NOT evaluate the strength of a knockdown! By that, you still must give 2 points for the knockdown. Do not confuse yourself by trying to say, ‘It was a flash knockdown and the fighter got right back on his feet. A knockdown is a knockdown and gives him 2 points for the knockdown.’ “


    In the video below, Pernell Whitaker is victimized by a classic “flukish” flash knockdown against Diosbelys Hurtado. Whittaker, who was caught by surprise and a bit off-balance, was unphased by the punch and seemed in utter disbelief he’d tasted the canvas.

    Flash Knockdown: Oscar De La Hoya is the victim of a flash knockdown in the video below. He got short-circuited by a good, quick counter punch but appeared unphased. After fighting resumed, he showed no ill effects and stopped his opponent later in the round. It was as if the knockdown never happened.