This is undoubtedly the year for unbeaten fighters to lose for the first time. Some have come against the best of the best (Odlanier Solis vs. Vitali Klitschko) but others have been considerably big upsets in fights where the "0" was supposed to have been retained (James Kirkland vs. Nobuhiro Ishida).
The unpredictability is what makes the sport so intriguing, and it's what makes every match, no matter the opponent, a must-see bout. No matter how good or bad your opponent is, a boxer is only one punch away from being knocked out and one point away from losing a decision.
Although it's not the best thing for a sport that is prominently driven by undefeated records and prospects to have a bunch of fighters with ones on the other side of the record, it's a sign that the fighters are being put in the ring with opponents that can test them.
That is something that a lot of the up-and-comers don't have, and it's something that can convince fans, and more importantly, the boxers, that maybe they aren't ready to take on the best.
Having an undefeated record can also be a burden for most fighters, and with that pressure no longer being a applied to the ones who lost, expect them to come out in their next bout with an extra driven force of trying to prove what was lost and can never be retrieved. They can never take that "1" away, but this means they will always bring something extra to their fights.
Fighters like Amir Khan (22-1) and and Jorge Linares (30-1) were knocked out in the first round of their only career defeats, but look where they are now. Both are arguably at the top or near the top of their divisions and are better boxers because of it.
So why may it be bad for the sport? Well, there is a little bit of extra drama that comes with an undefeated fighter.
The January bout with unbeaten boxers Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley was the biggest fight of the year so far between two undefeated rising stars, which turned out to be an ugly fight with more headbutts than punches. It was one of those bouts where it felt like retaining the '0' was more important than the action, and in the end, it wasn't.
With fighters like Kirkland and Juan Manuel Lopez losing, fans and promoters also lost the chance to see them take on the best in the division, at least in the near future. Kirkland was in line to face top-five pound-for-pound boxer Sergio Martinez later this year or in 2012 while Lopez was on his way to facing Yuriorkis Gamboa in a mega-fight for the featherweight division.
We are only four months into the year, and there are more than a dozen fighters who have lost for the first time. Don't expect them to be the last ones to lose for the first time in 2011. Always remember that the "0" is never secured and that every boxer has the ability to lose.
Here is a list of 16 unbeaten fighters who lost for the first time in 2011:
Devon Alexander (21-1) TD10 vs. Timothy Bradley (27-0)
Juan Manuel Lopez (30-1) TKO by 8 vs. Orlando Salido (35-11-2)
Andre Berto (27-1) UD12 vs. Victor Ortiz (29-2-2)
James Kirkland (27-1) TKO by 1 vs. Nobuhiro Ishida (23-6-2)
Odlanier Solis (17-1) KO by 1 vs. Vitali Klitschko (42-2)
Serhiy Dzinziruk (37-1) TKO by 8 vs. Sergio Martinez (46-2-2)
Matt Remillard (23-1) RTD10 vs. Miguel Angel Garcia (25-0)
David Lemieux (25-1) TKO by 7 vs. Marco Antonio Rubio (50-5-1)
Paul McCloskey (22-1) TD6 vs. Amir Khan (25-1)
Ruslan Provodnikov (19-1) UD12 vs. Mauricio Herrera (16-1)
Ivan Popoca (15-1) TKO by 8 vs. Ruslan Provodnikov (19-1)
Yordanis Despaigne (8-1) UD10 vs. Ismayl Syllakh (15-0)
Maxim Vlasov (19-1) UD10 vs. Isaac Chilemba (15-1-1)
Mike Dallas Jr (17-1) KO by 7 vs. Josesito Lopez (28-3)
Marcus Johnson (25-1) UD10 vs. Dyah Davis (19-2-1)
Willie Nelson (16-1) MD8 vs. Vincent Arroyo (11-1)
Danny O'Conner (14-1) UD8 vs. Gabriel Bracero (15-0)