On March 10th, if you sneezed or bent down to tie your shoe lace after the opening bell of the main event at Madison Square Garden, you were simply out of luck—the show was over. Sultan Ibragimov stunned the spectators, who had barely settled into their seats, with the suddenness and ferocity of his attack, capped with a thunderous left uppercut that sent his opponent, Javier Mora, sprawling. It was all over in 46 seconds of the first round—a record for the quickest knockout in a main event bout in Madison Square Garden history!
Prior to this stunning performance the record was 54 seconds, shared by Gerry Cooney and Lee Savold. In 1981, Cooney pounded Ken Norton into retirement at the current Garden, tying the record set back in 1948 when Lee Savold bombed out Bari, Italy’s Gino Bonvino at the old Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue and 49th Street.. Prior to that, the record was 63 seconds, when Al “Bummy” Davis upset former and future lightweight champion Bob Montgomery in 1944.
Mora came into the fight with impressive credentials, never having been stopped in 26 prior bouts of which he had lost only 3. Fortunately for Shannon Briggs, who was Ibragimov’s originally scheduled opponent, the bout was not televised. Watching such a performance certainly could have brought about a relapse for a guy on the mend from “walking pneumonia.”
Sultan, a seemingly introspective, sometimes sullen but not unfriendly scrapper from Rostov-Na Donu, Russia, has paid his dues and earned the respect of the boxing establishment. Now undefeated in 21 professional bouts—and a sparkling new record to go with it—there is no question that he is prepared for a crack at the heavyweight crown.