As much as you love everything about boxing and MMA — the characters, the backstories, the athleticism, the fear factor and the pure draw of fighter versus fighter, the real reason you watch the sport is for the knockout. Watching two fantastic fighter outsmart and out maneuver one another is a draw but every fan is waiting, just waiting, for that one knockout shot.
The human fascination with the knockout punch is why organizations like BKB have become so popular with fight fans. The fights in BKB take place in “The Pit” — a circular area of action, only 17 feet in diameter, that encourages big hits, huge knockouts and doesn’t really give fighters much room to run roam. The Pit forces a fighter to take to the offensive. It also offers no relief from an opponent’s brutal onslaught.
Since the knockout is to boxing what the touchdown is to football, let’s discuss some of the finer points of the knockout punch.
What Exactly Happens To The Body During A Knockout?
In a fascinating article from 2010, Popular Mechanics explains the actual science behind the knockout punch and exactly what happens internally to the body.
The body contains dissolved sodium, potassium and calcium, collectively known as electrolytes, which are responsible for conducting impulses along neurons. Every time a fighter receives a blow to a nerve, potassium leaves the cell and calcium rushes in, destabilizing the electrolyte balance, while the brain does all it can to keep these levels in balance. With each successive blow, this balance becomes harder and harder to maintain, and more and more energy must be spent in the process.
After the body reaches the point where the damage is too severe, the brain automatically shuts down to conserve enough in order to fix the injured neurons at a later point.
The Myth Of The ‘One-Punch’ Knockout
When people hear the term “knockout punch” they immediately assume it was only one punch that knocked a fighter into the next week. This isn’t true. While one punch effectively finished a fighter’s night, it’s usually a series of punches (or other forms of strikes in MMA) that bring on the eventually knockout.
While it is possible to knock a person out with one deadly strike, in organized fighting, it’s usually the succession of punches that leads to the eventual finishing blow. Another new advancement in boxing, and one of the reasons the above mentioned BKB is so popular is the ability to measure punches in real time. At their card in April, BKB was the first to use sensors in each fighter’s gloves to measure the speed and force of every single punch. Fans were able to see the exactly how much force was behind each and every punch, especially the eventual knockout shot.
How To Tell A Knockout Is Coming
People assume the eyes or a facial cue will be the clue that a fighter is about to take a temporary nap. Not true. Surprisingly, it’s the fighter’s feet that give the first signal of an impending KO. During the punches leading up to the ending blow, the part of the brain responsible for coordinating motor activity are disrupted, and a fighter loses his ability to coordinate foot movements. This is how the term “out of his feet” came to be.
Why Do People Crave The Knockout So Much?
Exactly why do humans love to watch other humans get knocked out. The answer is rooted deep in our animal-like instincts.
According to a 2008 study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, the same clusters of brain cells common in humans and animals have a craving for violence, much the same way as they crave a reward. All animals are drawn to aggressive behavior, especially when it involves defending themselves against other members of the species.
One of our basic human instincts is to survive and fighting is a means of survival. It’s just much more fun watching others attempt to survive.
Check out BKB and learn more about the latest evolution in boxing.