Greatest boxing upsets
Backing the clear favorite may seem like a good idea, especially when the underdog does not seem to stand a chance. However, there are no guarantees in boxing, and circumstances can change in the split of a second. Some of the biggest boxing legends have faced defeat at the hands of boxers who punters would have barely given a second thought. So, which are the biggest upsets of all time? We will arrange the upsets based on gravity, starting with the reasonably shocking to the most shocking matches.
Michael Moorer vs George Foreman (1994)
This match shocked many. To start with, here was Foreman, a 45-year-old veteran who had lost his belt two decades before this fight. Few people expected much of him, and they even scoffed at the 3/1 odds, thinking that the disparity should have been higher. Foreman was set to fight a young, athletic 26-year-old, Moorer. Moorer, at the time, was at his prime and was gearing up for a fight with Mike Tyson. To him and many people, his match with Foreman was but a formality in preparation for the Tyson fight.
The first 9 rounds proved the onlookers and bookies correct. Moorer had won 7 of the rounds, and the scoring cards were in his favor. Besides, he had also landed a good jab on Foreman, which had left the veteran with a swollen left eye. With agility, speed, and athleticism on Moorer’s side, how could Foreman compare? So, it was quite a surprise when Foreman floored Moorer, leaving him unable to get up and claim his win. To make matters even more interesting, Moorer lost his chance to battle Mike Tyson, and Foreman regained the belt he had lost two decades before. What a shocker!
Lennox Lewis vs. Hasim Rahman (2001)
Lennox was a heavyweight champion and was set to meet with Nelson Mandela soon after his fight with Hasim. For many people, Lennox was the clear winner. The bookies even had their odds set at 20/1, with Hasim as the underdog.
However, Lennox was ill-prepared for the fight. For starters, he had spent some time depicting a mock fight in a movie. The movie did quite well, and he spent some added time in the United States enjoying the newfound stardom. Unfortunately for him, this time in the states only delayed his acclimatization in South Africa. He did not even make it to the sixth round as Hasim had already knocked him out on the fifth one.
So, Lennox lost his millions and the chance to battle Mike Tyson. Moreover, he still met Mandela, only without his title as champion. This time around, Lennox was a former champion. While he later met Hasim and reclaimed his title, the fight was one that people will probably never forget.
Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas (1990)
Have you heard of the term Tyson Douglas? It refers to an upset, and for a good reason. In 1990, almost every boxing fan, and even those who barely watched boxing, had heard of Mike Tyson. He was a force to reckon with in the ring, thanks to his speed and punching power. Boxers would lose half the match even before stepping into the ring because Tyson’s name carried a lot of weight. The fear of battling a man with an incredible foot speed and growing titles would often saddle their performance.
So, here Tyson was, set to battle Evander Holyfield as he made his way to a record $22 million fight. At the time, setting your eyes on such numbers was a fete. Even now, such a figure would send most boxers to cloud nine. But, as he made his way to the match, he had one small matter to take care of- a match with Buster Douglas. Buster was a heavyweight in his own right but did not come close to Tyson. Therefore, it was not a surprise that bookies had the odds set at 1/42, with Buster being the clear underdog.
But here is what people did not expect. Buster had taken the pain of losing his mother and channelled it into practice, not paying mind to what people thought of the impending match. On the other hand, Tyson was grappling with the loss of Cus D’Amato and had lost his focus.
Thus, nobody expected Tyson to lose his gum shield in the glare of the cameras. That was an image that would remain splashed across papers across the world. It was the perfect picture of tables having turned. While the two players never fought the way they did that day again, their performances will remain etched in the books of history.