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Boxing: The Biggest Upsets by Knockout in 2012 so Far

Justin TateCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2012

Boxing: The Biggest Upsets by Knockout in 2012 so Far

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    Boxing has had an amazing trend this year of upsets by way of knockout.

    Fights that were going one way have been turned around in a single dramatic punch.

    In just this year alone, fast-rising prospects, sturdy contenders and legends have fallen unexpectedly to opposition that was written off by the public.

    Here are the biggest knockout upsets of the year so far.

Honorable Mention: Danny Garcia Stops Amir Khan in Round 4

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    Amir Khan (26-3, 18 KO) was looking to move up to face Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KO) at welterweight before losing a junior welterweight unification against Danny Garcia (24-0, 15 KO).

    Khan was outboxing Garcia for the first two rounds before an unexpectedly huge left hand to the neck caught Khan and sent him crashing to the canvas in Round 3.

    Khan survived the round, but was knocked down twice again in Round 4 to which the referee had seen enough.

    Why was it an upset?

    Khan was outboxing Garcia and showed a distinct speed advantage from the opening bell. Khan got too cocky as the rounds progressed and threw one too many punches when jumping in.

    Khan also moved in a straight line the whole night with predictable combinations and almost no defense.

    Why it doesn't rank higher?

    All Garcia did was take advantage of what was already blatantly there and known before.

    Khan doesn't have great defense. Khan is prone to mistakes and predictability. Khan's chin is also questionable.

    Garcia just added the exclamation point.

5. Carl Froch Stops Lucian Bute in Round 5

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    Lucian Bute (30-1, 24 KO) was an undefeated IBF super middleweight champion coming off a decent victory over Glen Johnson (51-17-2, 35 KO).

    Carl Froch (29-2, 21 KO) had recently lost to undefeated unified WBC/WBA champ Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KO) in the Super Six Finals. Froch seemed ripe for the picking.

    This appeared to be the match that would prove Bute was a superstar that was overlooked for the Super Six Tournament. Then the match actually took place.

    From opening bell, Froch was more active and was easily getting through Bute's defense.

    Bute survived two moments of noodle legs in Round 3 and 4, but when it happened again in Round 5, his trainer stepped in to save him from a further beating.

    Why was it an upset?

    Bute was undefeated and an excellent body puncher coming off the biggest win of his career against Johnson. Froch was coming off a loss where he was severely outclassed.

    Ward vs. Bute was being billed by the media as the next big superfight in boxing.

    Why it doesn't rank higher?

    Ward saw something the media didn't and that was how much Bute wasn't on his level.

    When Ward issued the challenge for Bute to fight an A-class fighter before the proposed superfight could happen, Froch's name was an obvious choice.

    Bute, all to eager to prove himself, even went to Froch's hometown of Nottingham, England. The hostile environment and Froch's "fight for his life" showing proved too much.

    Now Bute must rebound before taking a rematch with Froch that's being aimed for March 2013.

4. Denis Grachev Stops Ismail Sillakh in Round 8

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    Ismail Sillakh (17-1, 14 KO) was being hailed as the next great thing at light heavyweight.

    His hype was so much so that he almost got a shot against one of the division's stars in Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KO) until Denis Grachev (12-0-1, 8 KO) quieted the hype.

    Grachev was being thoroughly outboxed for the first seven rounds, but Sillakh was becoming bored in the ring and not doing everything he could to finish his seemingly outmatched foe.

    Grachev's right hands seemed to be getting through Sillakh's guard. It was inevitable one of those right hands would stun him.

    When the inevitable happened, Grachev jumped on him and flurried against the ropes.

    A slumping Sillakh fell to the ground after receiving a prolonged beating and the referee called a halt to the action in Round 8.

    Why was it an upset?

    Sillakh was clearly the better boxer and had a lot higher expectations for him going forward. Grachev had none of these expectations.

    The only mystery going into this fight was what round would Grachev be taken out in, but Sillakh's boredom and unwillingness to hold or take a knee when he got hurt cost him his first loss.

    Why it doesn't rank higher?

    Maybe the media was a bit too hasty to christen Sillakh as the next big light heavyweight. Going from the likes of Daniel Judah to Jean Pascal is a tall climb.

    Sillakh tripping over the tough rock that is Grachev just goes to show that despite all his promise, he still has a lot of work to do.

3. Randall Bailey Stops Mike Jones in Round 11

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    Randall Bailey (43-7, 37 KO) was a 37-year-old underdog with only one physical advantage over his 29-year-old undefeated foe: one-punch-knockout power.

    Mike Jones (26-1, 19 KO) was expected to dance around the ring and just jab Bailey to net a unanimous decision victory.

    But with a vacant IBF welterweight world title on the line and this likely being Bailey's last chance at a world title belt, a determined Bailey kept coming and was not going to be deterred.

    Jones started occasionally subjecting himself to return fire by mixing it up with Bailey as the rounds went on. Then in Round 10, Bailey sent Jones to the canvas with a straight right out of nowhere.

    Jones got up and recovered, but a right uppercut in Round 11 sealed his fate. Jones fell dramatically backwards in probably the most picturesque knockout of the year. Old man Bailey shocks the world.

    Why was this an upset?

    Bailey was 37 years old and his previous performance against Yoryi Estrella (10-7-2, 7 KO) last September was horrific. Bailey looked slow and undeserving of a title shot.

    Jones was a fighter prone to mistakes, but redeemed by his speed and abilities. His promoter Top Rank also helped with good matchmaking.

    Top Rank would only put Jones in with limited brawlers such as Jesus Soto Karass (26-7-3, 17 KO). These foes proved easy to outbox en route to another unanimous decision.

    Bailey fit the description of yet another brawler, only a lot older and even slower. This was supposed to be an easy way to win a vacant title, but it was far from that.

    Why this doesn't rank higher?

    Bailey has the highest punching power of any foe Jones has faced thus far and Jones has shown that he can make mistakes in his previous efforts.

    In his first match against Soto Karass, Jones gassed out early in the fight and allowed his opponent to outwork him. Jones won a controversial decision he cleared up with a rematch.

    So it was no surprise to see Jones make another mistake in his fight with Bailey by mixing it up and not staying behind his jab.

    Jones took a gamble he shouldn't have and Bailey's power is nothing to roll the dice with.

2. Josesito Lopez Stops Victor Ortiz in Round 9

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    Victor Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KO) quitting on his stool due to a broken jaw suffered at the underestimated hands of Josesito Lopez (30-4, 18 KO) is the quintessential boxing story of an upset.

    Lopez had never fought a true welterweight. Ortiz had dominated welterweight heavy hitter Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KO) last year. It was expected he would do much worse to Lopez.

    Lopez proved durable during a vicious war with Ortiz. Ortiz showed much heart by fighting four rounds with a broken jaw before enough was enough.

    Why this was an upset?

    Ortiz's welterweight career can be summed up in two fights. He previously lost to the best fighter on the planet in Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KO) and defeated an undefeated heavy-handed Berto.

    Losing to a junior welterweight in a welterweight fight, even one as durable as Lopez, was not a thought that came across anyone's mind.

    Even Golden Boy Promotions disregarded Lopez's chances by having Ortiz sign to fight WBC junior middleweight king Saul Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KO) in September.

    Why this isn't number one?

    It's a great upset mostly in part to the talent, strength and power of Ortiz.

    But let's face it, Ortiz isn't exactly Pernell Whitaker when it comes to defense. Lopez was able to catch him and keep catching him when the fight became a war.

    Puncher's chance kept Lopez in the game and ultimately helped deliver the upset victory.

1. Sonny Boy Jaro Stops Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in Round 6

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    Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (84-4-2, 44 KO) was the flyweight king for nearly a decade when journeyman Sonny Boy Jaro (34-11-5, 24 KO) knocked him down five times en route to a knockout in Round 6.

    Why is this number one?

    Wonjonkam's only defeat in the last ten years came by decision to Daisuke Naito (36-3-3, 23 KO) and that loss was avenged three times over, including a win by KO.

    Jaro was supposed to be just another showcase for Wonjongkam to help him keep busy until a deal can be made with the next great challenger. Jaro had greater ambitions and fulfilled them.

    This is the power of boxing. A boxing match can change in one punch. The underdog is always in the game as long as they're standing upright on their feet and still have the energy to keep swinging.

    For more boxing news and analysis, follow me on Twitter @justindavidtate

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