Tag Archives: upset

Can Povetkin Pull Off a Wembley Upset?


By: Ste Rowen

September has already given us the return of ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, Superfly 3 and Canelo/GGG 2, so you could be forgiven for forgetting that this weekend sees the unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, return to the ring to face the under-the-radar threat of Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium.

It feels a long time since AJ added the WBO to his ever-expanding belt collection, which is now only missing Deontay Wilder’s WBC and the vacant Ring Magazine title, but it seems an age ago since Povetkin took on Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 for his first, and so far, only attempt at the full world championship belts.

By some, the Russian was hailed as the chosen one, the man who could end the Klitschko brother’s heavyweight duopoly. He entered the pro ranks riding a wave of hype having won gold medals at the 2003 world championship and the 2004 Athens Olympics. Fighting between Germany and Russia, Alexander steadily built his record with wins over gatekeepers and fringe contenders but when his breakout happened, it happened quickly.

In 2007, just 2 years as a professional, Povetkin, at 13-0, took on Chris Byrd, who 18 months previous, had been stopped in seven rounds by the now, IBF champion, Wladimir Klitschko. That night in Erfurt, Alex engaged in an entertaining back and forth with the American southpaw until ultimately forcing the stoppage in the 11th round. Just three months later, the Russian was back in the ring to take on 30-0, Eddie Chambers. This time in Berlin, the rising star from the East completely dominated Chambers. The only thing missing was the knockout.

It didn’t matter too much, from there it was all about biding his time, staying busy until he was finally given his shot at either Klitschko. By the time of the Moscow bout, ‘Sasha’ was 26-0, held the WBA ‘Regular’ title, and had added names to his growing record such as Ruslan Chagaev, Marco Huck, a faded Hasim Rahman and an unbeaten Andrzej Wawrzyk.

But in the end, Wladimir was a bridge too far. Dropped four times en route to a unanimous decision defeat, the Ukrainian was a level above. All of ‘Sasha’s’ best attributes were nullified; unable to land his looping overhand-right, rarely successful with left hooks to the body and what seemed most demoralising of all, Klitschko’s size eradicating the 2004 gold medallist’s attempts inside. It’s an issue Povetkin will no doubt have worked on in preparation for facing another bigger man in Joshua.

‘‘I need to work on my conditioning…Just a single punch could’ve turned it all upside-down…I lost the battle, but I’ll win the war.’’ Povetkin said post-fight that night, perhaps more hopeful than realistic. He never got the opportunity for revenge and ever since the Klitschko loss it’s felt as if the current WBA’s #2, has been in search of a big-name fighter to propel him into boxing’s mainstream and redeem himself for that defeat. It should have been Wilder, but the Russian has only himself to blame for those bouts falling through.

Whatever your views on Povetkin’s suspect history with PEDs, purely in terms of resume of opponents to earn another shot at a full world title; since 2014, ‘Sasha’ has those names, including stoppages over Carolos Takam, Manuel Charr, Mariusz Wach and most recently a chilling two-punch destruction of David Price on the Joshua-Parker undercard in March.

At today’s press conference, Alexander, like the rest of the build up to this bout, continued to be understated,
‘‘I’ve been concentrating on strength and endurance…There’s nothing else to add. The fight will show everything that we’ve got.’’

‘‘When I fought Klitschko I was much weaker and much worse shape than I am now…I never like to say what will happen ahead of time. You will see everything on Saturday night.’’

The Russian, currently 34-1 (24KOs), will step into the ring with what many view as no more than a puncher’s chance. Perhaps the lack of hype heading into his 2nd super fight will see the 39-year-old excel.

Joshua is already set for yet another Wembley stadium bout in April 2019, where the opponent is expected to be Dillian Whyte in a rematch of their 2015 domestic dustup. It’s up to ‘Sasha’ to scupper those plans and upset the masses.

More Columns

Aging Pacquiao Stunned By Horn Via Controversial Decision In Australia


Aging Pacquiao Stunned By Horn Via Controversial Decision In Australia
By: Sean Crose

Pacquiao was believed to be something of an afterthought, a dwindling has-been of an attraction who was clinging to diminishing pay per view receipts as the sport of boxing moved on without him. Promoter Bob Arum and ESPN, however, gave Pacquiao the opportunity to reintroduce himself this weekend, when the legendary fighter faced popular Australian contender on (at least in Australia) Jeff Horn on Sunday morning in Brisbane. The bout was aired live basic cable television in the United States, where fans were able to watch the famous PacMan defend his WBO welterweight title strap for free in front of 50,000 Australian fans.

IMG_4101

Horn came right out to win after the opening bell and managed to land cleanly. Things got closer – and quite exciting – however in the second, with Pacquiao seeming to get into his groove. Things stayed intense in the third, but it looked like Horn might be starting to tire. Still, Horn was able to land and roughhouse in the fourth, while Pacquiao was able to employ his legendary skill. A head butt stopped the fight temporarily in the sixth, as Pacquiao suffered a cut. Perhaps more tellingly, he was able to land hard at round’s end. It was hard to write off Pacquiao’s skill and slipperiness, however.

It was, surprisingly, a strange fight to comprehend. Horn was bigger and perhaps even more aggressive. Yet Pacquiao was getting the more important clean shots in. A second head butt stoppage in the seventh caused a lot of blood to run down Pacquiao’s face. In the eighth, Pacquiao tossed Horn to the canvas. It was a somewhat ugly, knotty affair. By the ninth, however, Pacquiao’s greatness rose to the occasion, as he started to beat the clearly exhausted Horn senseless. While Horn sat on his stool between the ninth and tenth, the referee threatened to stop the fight if Horn didn’t come alive.

Horn, however, survived the tenth, In fact, he looked decent. Furthermore, Pacquiao’s foot was off the gas for the full three minutes. By the eleventh, the Filipino icon looked exhausted. Still, Pacquiao was able to employ his effective clean punching in the round. The twelfth and final chapter ended with Horn going for broke and a feeling that the judges might give the fight to the local guy, even though he might not deserve the win. And indeed, Horn was given a unanimous decision victory with scores of 117-111. 115-113, 115-113.

Welcome to big time boxing, ESPN viewers.

Earlier in the evening, Jerwin Ancajas bested Teiru Kinoshita with a brutal seventh round body blow in their IBF super flyweight title matchup. Before that, Irish Olympic star Michael Conlon took out Jarrett Owen in his third pro bout with a great display of featherweight body work. Lastly, Shane Mosely Jr opened the night by losing a split decision to David Toussaint in an eight round middleweight throwdown.

More Headlines

Yuriorkis Gamboa and Abraham Lopez Upset in Las Vegas!


Yuriorkis Gamboa and Abraham Lopez Upset in Las Vegas!
By: Ken Hissner

At the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Ballroom, in Las Vegas, NV, former 2004 Olympic Gold medalist, WBO lightweight, interim WBA super featherweight and WBA Super and IBF featherweight champion from Cuba Yuriorkis Gamboa returned to Las Vegas for the first time since 2012 and may have seen his career come to an end. It was a Golden Boy Promotion over ESPN2 in a night of upsets.

IMG_3604

In the main event lightweight Yuriorkis “El Ciclon de Guantanamo” Gamboa, 26-2 (17), of Miami, FL, was upset by Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos, 24-12 (14), of Celaya, MEX, at the end of the seventh round having scored several knockdowns over Gamboa.

In the first 2 rounds there was not much action with Gamboa having an edge. In the third round a jab by Castellanos followed by a right to the chin of Gamboa and down he went. In the fourth round a lead round house right hand by Castellanos on the chin of Gamboa and down he went. In the fifth and sixth rounds Gamboa came back with flurries backing up Castellanos who went right hand crazy with few landing.

In the seventh round Castellanos rocked Gamboa with a right to the head but was outworked by Gamboa who seemed like a shell of his former self. The 35 year-old Gamoba advised his corner to stop the fight in between rounds after the seventh round. Gamboa has had four years of inactivity during his career at different times and it caught up with him. Russell Mora was the referee.

In the co-feature Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez, 22-1-1 (15), of LaPu nte, CA, lost his WBA-NABA featherweight title, to Jesus Rojas, 25-1-2 (18), of Caguas, PR, at 1:47 of the eighth round of a title eliminator.

In the opening round there was no feeling out as both fighters were throwing bombs. Lopez got the better of the two. In the second round a solid left hook by Rojas to the chin of Lopez made him wobble back and another left hook made Lopez took a knee. In the third round Lopez came back in a continual slugfest getting the better of Rojas.

In the fourth round a Rojas left hook to the face of Lopez bloodied his nose in knocking Lopez down. By the end of the round Lopez was back on top. The next 3 rounds went back and forth. In the eighth round 3 Rojas rights to the head of Lopez and down he went. Upon getting up Rojas was all over Lopez until referee Tony Weeks stepped in and waved it off.

Middleweight southpaw Yamaguchi Falcao, 13-0 (6), of Sao Paulo, BRZ, dominated Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch, 18-1 (8), of Pittsburgh, PA, over 10 rounds.

Through the first 3 rounds Falcao was the aggressor and used his speed of hand to get the best of Fitch. In the fourth round with his trainer Tom Yankello urging him Fitch came forward hurting Falcao with a body shot. Falcao returned the favor with a glazing right off the chin of Fitch that had him ducking and moving to avoid another punch. In the fifth round the smaller Falcao used his jab more than the much bigger Fitch.

In the sixth round a straight lead left and followed by a right hook from Falcao rocked Fitch whose right eye looked very red. In the eighth round Fitch had swelling over the left eye from lead straight lefts zeroing in from Falcao. In the last two rounds Falcao was showboating being much quicker than Fitch who couldn’t take advantage of it. Judges scores were 100-90 as did this writer.

Super lightweight Vergil Ortiz, Jr., 5-0 (5), of Dallas, TX, stopped Pangel Sarinana, 7-6-2 (3), of MEX, at 1:43 of the third round.

In the opening round it was all Ortiz throwing nothing but bombs but failing to get his fifth straight first round knockout. In the second round Sarinana got his punches in with combinations in a close round. In the third round a vicious right uppercut from Ortiz to the chin of Sarinana and down he went. Upon rising referee Jack Reece had Sarinana take a couple of steps and wisely decided to stop it.

More Headlines

Yuriorkis Gamboa Quits On Stool


Yuriorkis Gamboa Quits On Stool
By: Sean Crose

Yuriorkis Gamboa (26-1)looked to reignite interest in his somewhat stagnated career on Friday when he faced Robinson Castellanos (23-12) in front of ESPN cameras at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

IMG_3602

The ten round lightweight bout came during one of the biggest fight weekend’s of the year, as the Canelo-Chavez Jr megabout was going down in town around 24 hours later. It was, no doubt, Gamboa’s chance to get back in the limelight after a crushing loss to Bud Crawford nearly three years earlier.

Gamboa started in relaxed, confident form. Castellanos was in to win, but Gamboa clearly controlled the tempo.

What’s more, the second round was similar to the first. Gamboa slipped early in the third, then was dropped for real late in the round. Credit ringside analyst Teddy Atlas for sounding the warning bell on that one. He had been adamantly pointing out Gamboa’s weak spots since just after the opening bell had rung. He had also predicted Castellanos possibly giving Gamboa trouble.

Sure enough, Gamboa went down again in the fourth. He got up and survived the round, but heading into the middle of the fight, Gamboa certainly wasn’t looking good. He started uping the heat in the fifth, but it was clear Castellanos could drop – and possibly knock out – his man should the opportunity arise. Gamboa continued to throw shots in the sixth, but they were generally arm punches. In the seventh, however, Gamboa started to effect his opponent with power shots. It was clear that he could still carry the night, provided he fought well and consistently throughout the remainder of the bout.

Then, shockingly, Gamboa decided to quit rather than answer the bell for the eighth round. He could have won the fight, he didn’t even seem hurt, but Gamboa had decided enough was enough.

Still, no one knew if there was some damage the man was facing that couldn’t be seen at ringside or on a television screen. Regardless, is was a bad turn for a man whose career had once held such promise. It’s easy to write fighters like Gamboa off, but not always wise to. With that in mind, Gamboa’s career is certainly not in a great place at the moment.

Earlier in the evening, middleweight Yamaguchi Falcao (12-0) won a ten round decision over Morgan Fitch (18-0-1). Also, Featherweight Abraham Lopez (20-0-1) was stopped by Jesus M Rojas (24-1-2) in the eighth round of a scheduled ten rounder.

More Headlines

Can Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Defeat Canelo Alvarez?


Can Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Defeat Canelo Alvarez?
By: Kirk Jackson

Saturday May 6, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez 48-1-1 (34 KO’s) of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico engages in Mexican-civil war with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., 50-2-1 (32 KO’s) of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chavez_Vera_130928_002a

Headlining HBO PPV, this is a bout at a catch-weight of 164.5 lbs. The betting odds reflect Alvarez as the huge favorite (Alvarez -880, Chavez Jr. +590).

“This fight has always been good because it is good for Mexico, for boxing. And for me it’s a great opportunity. I have to prepare well, I have to be in good condition. I need to apply pressure on him [Alvarez] in a way that he’s never experienced,” said Chavez Jr.

“I need to connect on him, put him in trouble to see how he reacts. I think this fight is heating up and now that fight week is coming up it’s going to be even more credible, because a lot of people thought it would never happen.”

Chavez Jr. has the right idea; applying consistent pressure, preparing for the wide range of skills possessed by Alvarez and ultimately creating an environment and experience Alvarez is not accustomed to.
But it’s easier said than done.

Alvarez is an outstanding fighter, possessing a myriad of traits and skills Chavez Jr. has to be mindful of.

Although observers may fall under hypnosis, admiring the flare of the red-haired Mexican superstar affectionately referred to as “Canelo,”who has substance to go along with style.

Displaying pronounced form and technique, Alvarez is a versatile combination puncher, possessing fast hands and explosive punching power.

Alvarez is great at punishing the body and the head; can seamlessly maneuver from mid-range to the inside, delivering powerful hooks to liver while slipping return fire.

From a defensive standpoint, Alvarez has great upper body movement and slips punches well, emulating his best impression of Floyd Mayweather at times. He also does a great job dictating the pace; fighting patient and setting up smaller traps and punches en route to the bigger punch.

Although a weakness of Alvarez is his lack of foot speed against some of the smaller fighters he faced throughout his career (Mayweather, Amir Khan, Erislandy Lara) – this should not be a weakness against the larger, slower Chavez Jr.

Alvarez appears to have genuine dislike for Chavez Jr. as well.

“He never represented Mexico,” Alvarez said. “He was never a dignified representative of Mexico. He was on a path to become one, but he reached a point where he couldn’t give anymore and he simply couldn’t. He never was, nor did he ever reach to become it.”

The contrast from Alvarez’s perspective is he came up tough in the ranks and never had opportunities handed to him.

Turning professional at age 15, Alvarez has the experience against greater opposition; Khan, Lara, Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Alfredo Angulo, James Kirkland, Austin Trout, etc.

This all factors as to why Alvarez is favored against Chavez. But for Chavez Jr. supporters, there is hope.

Chavez Jr. is this bigger man and must use size to his advantage.To “Big G’s” point, Alvarez has a track record of fighting much smaller opposition. From Chavez Jr.’s camp, they must expose Alvarez with size and pressure.

Regarding size, the fight may depend how Chavez Jr. eliminates excess weight. If it’s last minute draining, along with poor training habits, Chavez Jr. will resemble a humanized version of a punching bag.

But with the enlisting of legendary trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, along with renowned boxing fitness coach Memo Heredia, Chavez Jr. appears serious for the biggest fight of his career.

“I think I’ve made a good preparation and I enjoy what I do. It’s a sacrifice and you have to know how to do it – with Don Nacho and with my uncle I was able to focus on what I should have done after the Martinez fight and here are the results,” Chavez Jr. said.

There is long-standing hatred between Alvarez and Chavez Jr., an emotion Chavez Jr. should take advantage of.

It’s easy to sense the tension between Chavez Jr. and Alvarez; Chavez Jr. should play to Alvarez’s emotions and turn this from a boxing match to a brawl.

With constant application of pressure, make this fight resemble the first encounter between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.

Cotto, the more skilled of the two on paper, dominated early rounds, displaying speed, power and combination punching. His defense was on display as he avoided most of Margarito’s slower-punched retaliation.

But Cotto paid a cost. He exerted a tremendous amount of energy trying to avoid Margarito’s return fire and eventually faded as the fight wore on.

Constant pressure can physically and mentally wear on an opponent. Illegal hand wraps can as well.

“My best rounds are those in the middle, the final ones. I’ll try not to lose any of them, because I do not want to leave it to the judges with a decision. I want to knock him out so I don’t leave anything to the judges,” said Chavez Jr.

Greater skill doesn’t always prevail against larger size. Alvarez, the more skilled of the two on paper, never fought anyone as large as Chavez Jr.

“With the experience I have I’ve come to put on a good fight. It will be hard, difficult. I have confidence that I can get past this commitment and have a good result, a good fight where I can knock him out, beat him like I said I would and I have prepared with that mentality,” Chavez Jr. said.

That’s plan A; overwhelm Alvarez with pressure, keep marching forward despite the incoming punishment he may receive moving forward, use his larger body to lean on Alvarez, wear him out and drag to the later rounds for a potential knockout.

Despite his large frame, Chavez Jr. has an uncanny ability to fight on the inside, and like his father, can deliver a pulverizing left hook.

But there is an old adage in boxing, “Never hook with a hooker.” Chavez Jr. must be conscious of Alvarez’s left hook on the inside. This brings up plan B.

Alvarez likes to throw hooks and keep the fight from mid-range to inside sporadically. Skillful as he is, Alvarez is at a disadvantage fighting from the outside. Viewers and Alvarez observed this first-hand against Khan, Lara and Mayweather.

Khan, Lara and Mayweather operate on a different skill level than Chavez Jr., but this can be a different look to force Alvarez into an aggressive pace – the pace Chavez Jr. should push for.

Keep Alvarez at bay with a constant jab, force the smaller fighter to work and exhaust energy on his way to the inside if he wants to mount an attack, while presenting different looks and providing mental challenges as well as physical.

Utilize the jab like he did against John Duddy and Peter Manfredo Jr. in the past. Press forward with aggression as he did against Andy Lee.

It’s unlikely Chavez Jr. will win on points, most critics have him losing regardless. But he can win utilizing strengths to his style and physical build if he implements the proper game plan.

More Columns

Ronda Rousey Returns After “Biggest Upset in Combat Sports History”? Not By a Long Way


Ronda Rousey Returns After “Biggest Upset in Combat Sports History”? Not By a Long Way
By: Matt O’Brien

Friday night sees the long-awaited comeback of“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey following her shocking defeat to Holly Holm last November, in a result infamously described by UFC commentator Joe Rogan as, “the biggest upset in combat sports history”. Prior to her defeat,Rousey had demolished a string of 12 opponentswith only one of them making it out of the first round – a devastating record by any standard, and there’s no doubt that Holm’s knockout was a truly enormous upset, with the challenger overcoming odds of up to 12-1 against her.

muhammad-ali-memorabilia

That being said, it takes two people to make a fight, and the bookies’ published odds are not the only ingredient that goes into a big upset – the wider context of the underdog’s role is also vital. Ronda’s record was indeed formidable, but keen observers had noted that it could be a far more difficult task than anything she had faced before, with Holm being a former world-boxing champion and arguably the first bona fide world-class striker “Rowdy” had faced off against.

So while Rogan’s assertion that it was the “biggest upset of all time” might be right as far as UFC or even MMA history goes, once we include the sweet science the scale of Ronda’s defeat falls a few rungs down the list of “greatest ever upsets”. Here are five of my favourite shocks in boxing history that eclipse Holly Holm’s upset victory over Ronda Rousey:

1. James Douglas KO10 Mike Tyson, Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship, February 1990

This is the grand-daddy of upsets: not just the biggest upset in the history of boxing; not even the biggest upset in the history of combat sports. This one is arguably the biggest upset in the history of sports, period.

The reason for the scale of Douglas’ shock was twofold: firstly, “Iron” Mike was a destructive force the like of which had rarely, if ever, been witnessed before. Carrying an undefeated 37-fight record, all but four of Tyson’s victims had been knocked out, 17 of them in the first round. Tyson made a habit of making accomplished world-class boxers look like bunny rabbits caught in the headlights of a freight train. Secondly, Tyson’s awesome aura was set against Douglas’ far less-than-fearful persona. A competent yet unspectacular heavyweight, Douglas’ physique was rippled rather than ripped andhis style plodding rather than punishing.

Weeks before the contest though, Douglas’ mother had died, providing him with the kind of motivation and discipline he’d previously lacked. Meanwhile Tyson had fallen into the age-old trap of believing his own hype; his preparations consisted largely of hosting Japanese women in his hotel room and he was knocked down in sparring by Greg Page.

Even so, a listless Tyson was able to floor the challenger and almost pulled off a knockout victory in the eighth round. Douglas beat the count and continued to pummel the champion with a solid jab and powerful right hand. In the tenth, “Buster” unloaded a vicious combination punctuated by a huge right uppercut that sent Tyson sprawling. As he scrambled to put the gumshield back into his mouth, referee Octavio Meyran waved the finish and signaled the greatest upset in history, as the 42-1 outsider stunned the world.

*To his credit, Joe Rogan later admitted that this was actually a bigger upset than Rousey-Holm.

2. Evander Holyfield TKO11 Mike Tyson, WBA Heavyweight Championship, November 1996

It is a testament to Tyson’s fearsome aura and the magnetic grip he held on the public consciousness that six years after the Douglas defeat and following three years of incarceration, he was yet again considered invincible – despite Douglas’ evidence to the contrary. Tyson had demolished four challengers in just eight rounds since his release from prison, though he had yet to face anyone offeringmuch resistance. Frank Bruno looked scared stiff as he walked to the ring and Bruce Seldon put forward probably the meekest capitulation in the history of heavyweight championship boxing, surrendering in just 109 seconds. Evander Holyfield was a different proposition altogether, though few credited him with this distinction at the time.

Once again, the monumental scale of Holyfield’s upset was not just a measure of how highly Tyson was regarded – it also came from a foolish under-estimation of what “The Real Deal” had left to offer. A glut in recent performances in the ring, including a KO defeat to arch nemesis Riddick Bowe and a health scare regarding a heart condition had effectively erased memories of Holyfield’s fighting skills and warrior spirit.Many pundits argued that Holyfield was not just going to lose, but that he was in danger of being seriously injured.

The former champ opened as a 25-1 underdog, but his ironclad self-belief, granite chin and counter-punching strategy troubled “Iron” Mike from the outset. When Holyfield took Tyson’s vaunted power punches, retained his composure and kept firing back, it soon became evident that “the Baddest Man on the Planet” had no back-up plan. They say a picture tells a thousand words, but when Tyson was lifted off his feet by a left uppercut in the sixth round, far less than that were needed to describe the look on his face. Holyfield proceeded to administer a beat down until a dejected Tyson was finally rescued by referee Mitch Halpern in the eleventh round.

3. Hasim Rahman KO5 Lennox Lewis, WBC/IBF/Lineal World Heavyweight Championship, April 2001

Lennox Lewis had been knocked out before, but going into his fight with Hasim Rahman he was in the process of establishing himself as one of the most dominant heavyweight champions in history. He’d already made 12 defences over two reigns as WBC championand was making the fourth defence of the lineal and unified title he won against Evander Holyfield. He had also cut a swathe through potential heirs to the throne, blasting Michael Grant in two rounds and thoroughly outboxing dangerous New Zealander David Tua.

Unfortunately, Lewis had also spent time during preparation for his title defense schmoozing on the Hollywood film set of Ocean’s Eleven, while unheralded challenger Hasim “The Rock” Rahman grafted in the intense heat and high-altitude of a South African boxing gym.But while Rahman was a motivated and respectable contender, he’d done little in his career to indicate he posed a serious threat. Indeed, two years prior he had been brutally knocked out by Oleg Maskaev.

In the ring though, the difference in each man’s preparation showed, as a complacent Lewis blew heavily and struggled to assert himself. In the early rounds, there were warning signs that Rahman’s overhand right posed danger, but even so the end came suddenly and unexpectedly in the fifth round, as Lewis backed against the ropes and the 20-1 outsider unleashed a haymaker that landed flush on the jaw. The champion crumpled into a heap and minutes later was still in disbelief about what had occurred. To his credit, Lewis returned the favour when properly focused for the immediate rematch, knocking out Rahman in the fourth round to reclaim his title.

4. Muhammad Ali KO8 George Foreman, World Heavyweight Championship, October 1974

The 4-1 odds on Ali for this fight really don’t do justice to the monumental scale of the task he overcame on this momentous night. Foreman – much like Tyson years later – was considered to be an unstoppable force that had brutally manhandled some of the most dangerous heavyweights in the world. Joe Frazier, the undefeated heavyweight champion, conqueror of Muhammad Ali and one of the finest fighters the division had ever seen, was bounced around the ring like a rag doll and brutally stopped in two rounds.Ken Norton, a fighter who’d also taken Ali to the wire on two occasions (going 1-1 with The Greatest) was similarly dispatched by Foreman in less than 6 minutes.

In contrast, Ali was 10 years removed from his initial title-winning effort against Sonny Liston, had barely squeezed by Norton in their second fight, and looked sluggish in a dull rematch victory over Frazier.

A 32-year-old Ali offered his usual, charismatic, confident predictions before the bout, but few took him seriously, and even his own camp appeared to fear the worst. Norman Mailer described the atmosphere in Ali’s dressing room as, “like a corner in a hospital where relatives wait for word of the operation.” The dark mood failed to stop the irrepressible Ali, who boxed one of the most brilliant, bold fights ever witnessed to recapture the Heavyweight Championship and cement in his place in history with a truly unbelievable upset of epic proportions.

5. Ray Leonard W12 Marvin Hagler, WBC Middleweight Championship, April 1987

In 1982 “Sugar” Ray had retired following surgery to repair a detached retina, returning to the ring in 1984 in what should have been a routine victory over Kevin Howard, but announced his retirement again following the fight after suffering his first ever career-knockdown. Now, having only boxed once in five years, Leonard was moving up two weight classes from his favoured welterweight division to take on one of the greatest middleweight champions of all-time. It looked liked Mission Impossible on Viagra.

“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler hadn’t lost a boxing match since dropping a majority decision to Bobby Watts over a decade earlier, had won 13 consecutive middleweight title matches, and was ranked as the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by KOMagazine. It’s therefore a testament to Leonard’s star power that he opened only as a 4-1 underdog, and had even shortened these odds to 3-1 by the time of the fight. Among the “experts”, few gave the challenger a chance though, with 18 in a poll of 21 writers picking Hagler to prevail.

The eventual split decision in Sugar Ray’s favour is still bitterly disputed to this day. While there is a strong argument that Hagler did enough to win, there is no denying the success of Leonard’s psychological games, and the fact that he pulled one of the greatest examples of mind over matter in the history of boxing.

Honourable Mentions

The fights above comprise my personal favourite selection of huge boxing upsets greater than Holm’s defeat of Ronda Rousey, though there’s arguably a host of others than should make the cut. Here’s a brief selection of the best of the rest…

Randy Turpin W15 Ray Robinson, World Middleweight Championship, July 1951

Englishman Turpin probably caught the original “Sugar” Ray at the perfect time, as he came to the end of a busy European tour. Still, defeating arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time was a stunning achievement.

Cassius Clay TKO7 Sonny Liston, World Heavyweight Championship, February 1964

On paper the 8-1 odds were even steeper than when the older version of Clay [Ali] defeated George Foreman, as the Greatest “Shook up the World” for the first time in his amazing career.

Frankie Randall W12 Julio Cesar Chavez, WBC Super Lightweight Championship, January 1994

Chavez was lucky to escape with a draw against Pernell Whitaker four months earlier, but was still officially undefeated after 90 fights, 27 of them for world titles, and he entered the fight as a massive 18-1 favourite.

Max Schmeling KO12 Joe Louis, June 1936

The young, undefeated “Brown Bomber” was widely perceived as unbeatable, but the German had studied his style and exploited his weaknesses to great effect. A more experienced Louis destroyed Schmeling in a single round in their famous rematch two years later.

Lloyd Honeyghan TKO6 Donald Curry, Undisputed Welterweight Championship, September 1986

Curry was considered one of the elite fighters in the sport and was being groomed for super-stardom, but he was struggling desperately to make the weight limit. Meanwhile Honeyghan paid short shrift to the champion’s undefeated record and bet $5,000 on himself at odds of 5-1, shocking the bookies and the boxing world in the process.

More Boxing History

ShoBox: The New Generation Results: Green & Odom win by upset KO, Chinea won by SD; Lopez v. Reynoso scored a Draw


ShoBox: The New Generation Results: Green & Odom win by upset KO, Chinea won by SD; Lopez v. Reynoso scored a Draw
By: Matthew N. Becher

Showtime sports presented a four fight card from the Foxwoods Resort and Casino. It was the 15 year anniversary of the “ShoBox” series. ShoBox has put on 484 fights in the past fifteen years, being a series that has showcased many fighters who have gone on to become World Champions. Out of all the young men who made an appearance on the program, 67 have become champs. Deontay Wilder, Ricky Hatton, Erislandy Lara, Tyson Fury and others all made an appearance on ShoBox on their way to becoming the best in the sport. Tonight was another chapter.

image

Khiary Gray (13-0 10KO) v. Ian Green (9-1 7KO): Jr. Middleweight

Green took this fight on one week notice, thinking it was a great opportunity for national exposure. The fight started out pretty rough for Green, as Gray used a thundering counter right which wobbled Green. The first round and a half were all Khiary Gray, until Green landed a one two combination that turned the fight around, knocking Gray down to the canvas. Gray got up, but never had his legs back and could no longer continue as round two was coming to an end.

Green TKO2 2:50

O’Shaque Foster (10-1 7KO) v. Rolando Chinea (12-1-1 6KO): Lightweight

When they say “styles make fights”, this is kind of what they are talking about. Foster is a boxer, while Chinea is a come forward brawler. The fight was awkward, in a sense of scoring and deciding who was controlling the fight. From the get go Chinea, was coming forward with gloves up, trapping foster against the ropes, snuffing punches and even using his elbow and forearms to hit Foster.

Foster was able to use his speed and quick footwork to get away from Chinea. Foster got to the body often, but definitely needed to plan his attack and escape at the same time.

Chinea is a hard nose brawler that is looking for a fight. Foster is a slick boxer with a very large amateur career who doesn’t seem used to fighting for a distance or under such stress.

Towards the end of the fight Foster came out fast, trying to use his speed and boxing ability to control the rounds, but the last half of the rounds Chinea would trap Foster on the ropes and use his power to keep him stuck.

The last round had both guys leaving it all on the line, knowing that they needed the round to possibly win. Exciting fight, with both men showing great heart.

Chinea SD9 79-73 Chinea, 77-75 Foster, 78-74 Chinea

Jerry Odom (13-2-1 12KO) v. Julius Jackson (19-1 15KO): Super Middleweight

The fight started off with Jackson controlling the rounds with his lengthy jab. Odom was trying to land some punches, but was coming up short for the first couple of rounds. Between the 2nd and 3rd round Odom’s trainer told his fighter that he had to stop letting his opponent land so many punches and get too confident. Odom waived his trainer in and whispered “I’m letting him get confident so he will open up”. Odom wasn’t lying. The very next round, Odom saw Jackson get sloppy and landed an overhand right that put Jackson down for the count.

Odom TKO3 1:57

Adam Lopez (15-0 7KO) v. Roman Reynoso (18-1-1 7KO): Super Bantamweight

Lopez came into this fight with a possible title fight on the line with Jonathan Guzman. Lopez used his height advantage to keep the wild Reynoso away, but was also able to land the more compact punches that seemed to throw Reynoso off his game. Reynoso was a strictly wild fighter, throwing crazy overhands rights that just couldn’t land effectively.

Lopez was very lackluster in the first half of the fight, sitting back and throwing less punches then Reynoso. Lopez never followed up with his landed punches, while Reynoso seemed to always come forward and begin to land some more of the wild overhand rights in the second half.

The fight was much closer than most thought it would be. Lopez never looked completely comfortable against the wild, smaller Reynoso. The end of the fight had Lopez land a huge shot on Reynoso that nearly ended the fight. Reynoso spit his mouth piece out to stall a bit and make it to the end. The title shot with Guzman may have just gotten much closer or extremely farther away.

96-94 Lopez, 97-93 Reynoso, 95-95 Draw

More Headlines