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Top 10 Greatest Boxing Upsets
Boxing's Most Shocking Upsets
Would you bet on a guy in his first pro boxing match against a 15-time world champion who was 49-0 as a pro? Bovada.lv lists Floyd Mayweather at -550 to win his Aug. 26 fight with UFC champion Conor McGregor, while listing McGregor at +375.
Yet, amazingly, there are some people who are willing to put their money on UFC champ McGregor. Perhaps they are buoyed by the memory of some of these nights, which brought about the greatest upsets in boxing history:
1990: James (Buster) Douglas over Mike Tyson
Tyson seemed insurmountable, punishing most opponents and terrifying some of them.
Douglas, a 42-1 underdog, was floored in the eighth round, but got to his feet and knocked Tyson out in the 10th, handing Tyson his first career loss. The image of Tyson groggily attempting to reinsert his mouthguard is an iconic boxing photo.
1936: Max Schmeling over Joe Louis
Louis, 27-0, appeared to be on a bullet train to the heavyweight crown, but he grew cocky and overconfident against Schmeling, a crafty veteran and a former world champ. Schmeling noticed that Lewis dropped his left when he threw a jab, and punished him with straight rights, dropping Louis in the fourth and knocking him out in the 12th.
Louis won the 1938 rematch via a first round knockout.
1978: Leon Spinks over Muhammad Ali
Ali had been posting uninspring wins over several journymen since his Thrilla In Manila triumph over Joe Frazier, and Spinks seemed another candidate for this bum of the month club.
Shockingly, in his first shot at the heavyweight title, the 1976 Olympian dethroned a lacklustre and out of shape Ali, who would regain the title in their rematch.
1951: Jersey Joe Walcott over Ezzard Charles
Most wondered why Charles even bothered to take this bout. He'd already beaten Walcott in two previous title bouts and Walcott was also a loser in a pair of heavyweight title fights against Louis.
The surprise changed to shock when Walcott recorded a seventh-round knockout. He also beat Charles in a rematch before losing the crown to Rocky Marciano.
1994: George Foreman over Michael Moorer
Over two decades after he first won the heavyweight title, Foreman did it again. While the young Foreman pummeled opponents into submission, this Foreman absorbed tremendous punishment from Moorer before delivering a stunning knockout in Round 10.
At 46, Foreman became the oldest heavyweight champion in history.
1915: Jess Willard over Jack Johnson
Determined to dethrone Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champ, boxing ran one Great White Hope after another into the ring to face Johnson, and he sent every one of the them out of the ring on their backs.
The 6-6 Willard, a gangly 34-year-old, seemed an unlikely hero, but he took advantage of his 83-inch reach and Johnson's poor conditioning to win by knockout in Round 26, although Johnson later claimed he threw the fight.
1935: James J. Braddock over Max Baer
Braddock fought for the world light-heavyweight title in 1929 but not only lost to Tommy Loughran, he suffered a broken hand. Braddock fell on hard times during the Great Depression, working as a longshoreman. He was a 10-1 underdog when he dethroned Baer for the heavyweight crown via a 15-round decision.
Braddock's tale was made into the Hollywood film Cinderalla Man, starrring Russell Crowe.
1985: Michael Spinks over Larry Holmes
Holmes was the undefeated heavyweight champion, 48-0 as a pro, and only Joe Louis had successfully defended the title more frequently. Spinks was the light-heavyweight champion. He didn't hit Holmes hard, but he hit him often and built up enough points to hold off a furious late-round Holmes rally for the decision.
Spinks was the first light-heavyweight champ to win the heavyweight crown.
1951: Randy Turpin over Sugar Ray Robinson
Middleweight champion Robinson was 128-1-2 and riding a 90-fight unbeaten streak, but the man considered the greatest pound for pound fighter in the world had no answers for European champ Turpin and lost the decision.
Two months later, Robinson scored a 10th round knockout in the rematch.
1974. Muhammad Ali over George Foreman
No one had ever regained the heavyweight title, and Foreman looked a menacing foe. Ali concocted his famous rope a dope strategy and allowed Foreman to punch himself out.
He then went on the attack and knocked Foreman out in the eighth round.
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