Many articles on boxing upsets have been written and some of them over time have become diminished or exaggerated. In any case, inspired by the recent Miguel Cotto V Sergio Martinez Middleweight title upset I decided I would list in no particular order, the greatest boxing upsets I have personally witnessed live, that made me literally shake my head in open-mouthed awe!
1. Nigel Benn V Gerald McClellan.
In the most savage fight ever seen in a British Ring Benn came back against seemingly insurmountable odds and stopped the ostensibly indestructible aptly named; 'Mini Mike Tyson' McClellan late in the fight. McClellan ended up disabled and Benn was never the same again either.
2. Ricky Hatton V Kostya Tzyu.
Having had a steady hand picked career driven by Promoter Frank Warren, consisting if spurious, ill regarded 'World Titles' and dubious opponents Hatton finally stepped up to premier league in a fight he wasn't supposed to win. With a fairly ugly performance that was more marauding than scientific Hatton stopped an admittedly slightly ageing and inactive Tzyu, with sheer will power and shocked everyone in boxing.
3. Cotto V Martinez.
Forget bad knees and injuries affecting Martinez - he's a professional and would never fight with injuries. Neither would he get back to his feet five times if he had bad knees - Cotto was awesome in this fight! Probably the most beautifully technical boxer of his generation, he combined perfect timing with tremendous judgment of distance along with surprising power at middleweight. Cotto immediately took the fight to the larger Champion from round one dropping him 3 times and then went on to take the fight from him. Cotto instantly became THE MAN in boxing with this result. Breathtaking!
4. Wladimir Klitschko V Corrie Sanders.
I remember the shock felt by everyone in attendance at this fight as an over confident Klitschko came into the ring cold, not a trickle of warm up sweat on him and within 2 minutes of the first bell he was fighting for survival. He looked so amateur back then it was embarrassing. Last minute opponent, the late, great Sanders was expected to be a walkover but ultimately had too much power and very, very fast hands. Dr Steel Hammer got nailed in such a way that he could never be an all time great in my eyes regardless of what else he did!
5. Pele Reid V Julius Francis.
A big British domestic bust up back in 2000 that the unbeaten Reid was meant to walk through for the British Title. Francis covered up excellently and survived the initial clumsy, headhunting assault of Reid and instead got the stoppage himself inside the distance.
6. Tyson V Holyfield I.
Holyfield had previously retired with a hole in the heart and had not looked great in his previous 3 comeback fights (Losing a third fight with Riddick Bowe by stoppage) Tyson was a huge favourite and Holyfield was 25 to 1 with the Vegas bookmakers. The Real Deal however put in the performance of his career stopping Iron Mike in the 11th Round. As the late British Boxing pundit Reg Gutteridge commented at the time; "I have to tell you this was the biggest upset in the fight game-bar none!" History was made that night.
Picture Courtesy of Rob Blakeman