The Top Rank boxing showdown between Jose Zepeda and Ivan Baranchyk has delivered a brutal war that won’t be forgotten any time soon in a certain contender for fight of the year and knockout of the year.
By the time the dust settled on the junior welterweight battle, there had been eight knockdowns and one crushing knockout.
Zepeda ended the fight in the fifth round with a devastating uppercut that folded Baranchyk in half as he collapsed to the deck in a scary moment.
Zepeda was dropped twice in the first round, but sensationally recovered as the pair traded an extraordinary number of power shots that all seemed to land flush.
Zepeda had done enough to claw his way back in front on the judges’ scorecards before the start of the fifth round after dropping Baranchyk five times.
With the boxing world left stunned by the already wild brawl, Zepeda ended the fight in fitting fashion when his underhand left hook caught Baranchyk coming forward.
He crumpled in ugly fashion with his leg caught underneath his limp falling body.
Baranchyk didn’t move for more than a minute before he was eventually helped to his feet and was able to leave the ring on his own two feet.
The stunning brawl was declared by ESPN boxing guru Dan Rafael to be the fight of the year so far.
Legendary promoter Bob Arum declared it one of the all-time great fights.
“One of the best fights I’ve seen since Foreman-Lyle. Plain and simple,” Arum wrote on Twitter.
Rafael wrote: “Baranchyk is still down. 8 knockdowns in less than six rounds. That was just nuts,” he posted on Twitter.
“KO of the year candidate.
“These KO replays are just sick. The way Baranchyk went down was like a rag doll, leg all messed up, smashed head on mat. Just limp. Oy. He’s being take. To the hospital obviously.”
Aussie glamour boxer Ebanie Bridges wrote: “Was that 8 knockdowns and a KO within 5 rounds!?! Like man I lost count… that was INSANE!”.
ESPN combat sports reporter Brett Okamoto wrote on Twitter: “OMG. That Top Rank main event on ESPN+ was one of the wildest fights I’ve seen all year. Wowwww. Wait til you see the highlights from this if you weren’t watching. It’ll be about a five-minute reel”.
Boxing superstar Terence Crawford wrote simply: “Never seen no s*** like it”.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani said it was “scary” to see Baranchyk unable to move immediately after the KO.
He wrote on Twitter: “Getting a bit scary on this boxing telecast. Baranchyk still on the canvas. He just lifted his head twice but he still seems pretty stiff. Wowzer”.