With his penchant for big knockouts, Darnell Wilson had earned the nickname "Ding-A-Ling Man" during his early rise on the Maryland club fight circuit.
Never, however, was that moniker more appropriate than it was June 29 in Staten Island, N.Y., where Wilson, an emerging top-10 cruiserweight contender, absolutely annihilated Emmanuel Nwodo with one of the most titanic knockouts in recent memory.
It was certainly one of the greatest knockouts in the history of ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" and it was the easy pick as the 2007 ESPN.com Knockout of the Year.
Wilson essentially predicted what would happen in his pre-fight interview.
"I know he can't take my shot. There's no way in hell he can take my punch," Wilson said. "I know he can't. And once I hurt him, I'm gonna go full [into] sixth gear to put him out."
The words were prophetic.
Few knockouts come close to the devastation that Wilson inflicted on Nwodo with a minute to go in the 11th round of their give-and-take bout.
Both men were cut. Wilson had knocked Nwodo down in the third round. Nwodo dominated the middle rounds and Wilson scored another knockdown in the 10th. It all set the stage for the violent conclusion.
Wilson visibly hurt Nwodo with a right hand about a minute into the 11th round and spent the next minute battering him around the ring. Somehow, Nwodo managed to stay on his feet, but he was badly off balance and you could sense the end coming as Wilson, in his so-called sixth gear, chased him down for the finish.
Finally, with Nwodo (21-4, 17 KOs) pinned against the ropes, Wilson (22-5-3, 19 KOs) unleashed a left hook for the ages that creamed Nwodo flush on the chin.
"Ohhhhhhhhhh, a left hook like you cannot believe," ESPN's Joe Tessitore shrieked. "Oh my! Oh my, this fight is over!"
Nwodo had dropped like a rock, his legs pinned underneath him, and then fell to the side. He was out cold in a nauseating scene.
"When the power of lightning strikes from the sky, it is devastating," ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas said. "When the power of a left hook like that strikes cleanly, it is scary."
Added Tessitore, "He took as big of a left hook as I have ever seen in all the fights I have ever broadcast [from] ringside. It was a massive, massive shot."
Nwodo was down for several minutes as he received medical attention before finally leaving the ring under his own power.
"When it first happened, I was a little scared for Nwodo," recalled Dino Duva, Wilson's promoter. "It was scary how he went down. A tremendous knockout. It was really dramatic. But that's the kind of power the 'Ding-A-Ling Man' has."
Knockouts get no more brutal than this one.
As Tessitore was buttoning up the broadcast from ringside, he said, "It's in the clubhouse as knockout of the year, leading the way by far."
It was a lead that was never relinquished.
Other sweet shots:
Still to come: Round and fight of the year
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.