In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when a boxer stays down for a count to 10 from the referee, at which point the boxer loses the match to his opponent. If the boxer manages to get up before the count of 10, he can continue the fight until he gets knocked down (KD'd) again. In Punch-Out!!, if the boxer gets knocked down three times within one round, it will count as a technical knockout instead, and the boxer forfeits the match to his opponent.
Like all of the opponents in Punch Out!!, the player (Little Mac) can be KO'd and TKO'd. As Mac is physically smaller and less resilient to punches and knockdowns, he will be KO'd after a certain number of knockdowns.
Whenever a boxer is knocked down, he will fall to the mat and the referee will begin counting to 10. In case it is the opponent, he has a chance to fake out the get-up, causing a pause on the countdown. Upon getting up, he will recover a specified amount of health.
If the knocked down boxer is Little Mac, the player must press the punch buttons to get Mac back into the fight. How quickly Mac gets up after a KD will determine how much health he recovers once he gets up. This will decrease after each KD. To regain the maximum amount of health, the player has to get up slowly, but not too slowly. If the player recovers at a slow and steady pace, usually ending at the count of 4 or 5, Mac will regain much more health than if the player mashed the buttons or waited until the count of 9.
In Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! and Punch Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream (NES), Little Mac can KO his opponent if the player reaches a certain amount of points. Most opponents can be KO'd after 10,000 points, but boxers that can KO Mac after 3 KD's can be knocked down with 6,000 points (e.g. Soda Popinski). There are also opponents that take 11,000 points to KO instead of 10,000 (e.g Bald Bull in the World Circuit).
Each fighter has a limited number of knockdowns before he is unable to get up. King Hippo always has a limit of one, while Glass Joe always has a limit of five. Every other opponent has a limit of four in his Contender form, and five in his Title Defense form. Little Mac has a limit of four in Contender mode and three in Title Defense mode, unless the player successfully performs the KO Recovery trick, allowing Mac to get back into fighting. There are currently 25 known One-Hit Knockouts in this game.
Also in Punch-Out!! (Wii), every fighter, including Little Mac, has his own unique knockout animation. The animation will often, but not always, be played when the opponent is TKO'd. The animation will always be played if the opponent is KO'd with a star punch or a one-hit knockout punch. Little Mac's knockout animation is always played whenever he is KO'd in any way.
List of KO animations
- Little Mac - Spins backwards onto the ropes, then stands briefly before falling on his knees and hitting the mat on his face. Using the KO recovery trick will interrupt this animation by having Mac stomp his left foot on the ground and raise his head, roaring at his opponent as he get back into the fight.
- Giga Mac - Is sent flying backwards, then spins in slow motion before landing on his face, with his head and arms hanging off the ring.
- Glass Joe - Is sent flying backwards in slow motion while croissants scatter everywhere, groaning upon hitting the mat.
- Von Kaiser - Is punched in the face, stumbles backwards and stands up straight, clearing his throat before falling backwards, with both legs briefly straight upwards and hitting the ground together.
- Disco Kid - Is hit with a seemingly weak punch and spins around the arena, ricocheting off corner posts before falling forwards and casually saying "Ouch!" The posts can be seen glowing upon impact.
- King Hippo - Stumbles backwards in slow motion as his stomach audibly rubs against his trunks before falling out of the ring. Bananas and pineapples can be seen falling past the screen.
- Piston Hondo - Is blasted onto the ropes, then jumps off the ropes and stands briefly before falling forwards.
- Bear Hugger - Is punched in the face, spinning into the ropes before falling sideways, seemingly asleep. Maple leaves can be seen scattering everywhere. In Title Defense, he also loses the toque he wears in the fight alongside the squirrel, who falls off the ring.
- Great Tiger - Is hit with an uppercut, causing him to blink repeatedly while looking like he is being pushed backwards, then falls sideways. In Title Defense, he disappears upon hitting the ground.
- Don Flamenco - Staggers about the arena as if he was stabbed in an opera, then sniffs a rose, nodding in approval before falling backwards. The rose wilts to the direction of his face. In Contender, petals scatter upon Little Mac's final blow, while in Title Defense, they don't.
- Aran Ryan - Is blasted into the ropes and gets tangled in the ropes, twitching resembling postmortemous spasms.
- Soda Popinski - Turns around upon Little Mac's final blow and falls forwards like a board, then attempts to grab a bottle of soda, only for the bottle to fall off the ring.
- Bald Bull - Is hit in the gut, then totters around the arena before collapsing. The camera briefly switches to Little Mac doing his final blow in slow motion before focusing back on Bald Bull.
- Super Macho Man - Is punched in the face, causing banknotes to scatter everywhere, then the camera pauses briefly before he spins midair and falls on his face.
- Mr. Sandman - Is punched in the face several times (with a camera flashing on the final hit), then says "Dreamland..." and screams in pain in slow motion while sliding across the ground on his back.
- Donkey Kong - Is punched in the face, he starts to roll over and then falls on his back.