Boxing's Year of the Upset: 10 of the Best Shockers of 2011

Henry Martin@KFZ001Senior Analyst IJune 20, 2011

Boxing's Year of the Upset: 10 of the Best Shockers of 2011

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    It has only been a little more than six and a half months since we started this year, a little over half of the year gone and already we have witnessed some stunning upsets in boxing.

    We've seen upsets range from heavy favorites losing to mild underdogs to fighters who’re supposed to be tune-up fights knocking out their competition. It feels like not a month can go by without there being an upset in the boxing world. 

    Being a 2-1 underdog on paper and winning the fight is seen a lot in the sports world and isn't totally uncommon. Being a 5-1 underdog and going on to win is rare.

    Looking back at the amount of times this has happened this year is quite staggering and unbelievable. Here's a look at the top 10 upsets of 2011.

Honorable Mention: Erik Morales

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    After the Maidana fight
    After the Maidana fight

    While Erik Morales didn’t win this fight, I’m giving him an honorable mention because he was able to go into the ring and fight with all his heart despite nobody giving him a chance.

    Erik Morales had just come out of retirement last year and had three fights prior to Maidana against nobodies in the Junior Welter Weight and Welterweight divisions. His fight with Maidana was seen as a fight he had no chance of winning.

    He was fighting in a weight class in which he was untested against the hardest-hitting fighter in that weight class. Nobody gave him a chance of winning against the young Argentinian.

    On fight night, the exact opposite happened and while he may have lost, he turned back the hands of time and gave one of the best performances of his career.

    If Morales had not had his right eye swollen from the first round of the fight, people have speculated he may have had a chance to have won the fight.

    Because of this, Morales was able to open the doors to the upper echelon of competition in the Junior Welterweight division and we could be seeing much more of him in the future.

#10 Kazuto Ioka TKO 5 Oleydong Sithsamerchai

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    Kazuto posing with Gamboa
    Kazuto posing with Gamboa

    In just his seventh pro fight, flyweight Kazuto Ioka (7-0 5KO) was able to not only land a fight against previously unbeaten Oleydong Sithsamerchai (35-1-1 13KO), but also knock him out in the fifth round.

    Oleydong, before this fight, held the belt for two years and made six successful defenses before losing to Kazuto. The fact that Oleydon was undefeated in 36 professional fights, was the 4-1 favorite of winning  and Kazuto was in just his seventh pro fight made this fight an upset.

    Kazuto was able to take control of the fight early on and was leading on all but one score card through the fifth round.

    Oleydong tried to implement a retreat and counter strategy to keep the fight at his pace, but Kazuto was able to put the pressure on him by continually advancing and eventually knocking him down in the second.

    During the fifth round, a left hand to the body of Oleydong floored him and prompted the ref to stop the fight with a little over a minute left in the round. Kazuto not only gave Oleydong his first loss but took his belt. 

#9 Allen Conyers W10 James De La Rosa

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    Conyers vs De La Rosa
    Conyers vs De La Rosa

    Conyners shocked a couple of people with this fight. James De La Rosa (20-1 12 KO) was undefeated in 20 fights and was expected to crush Allen Conyers (12-5 9 KO), who coming off two stoppage defeats and a layoff of over two years.

    De La Rosa was coming off of a 15-month lay off himself and seemed slow throughout the fight.

    Allen Conyers rocked De La Rosa a couple of times and wobbled him on a couple of occasions. Although Conyers entered the fight at steep odds against him, 10 rounds and three knockdowns later, Conyers was able to pull off an upset, giving De La Rosa his first loss.

#8 Johnny Gonzalez KO 4 Hozumi Hasegawa

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    Skip to 11:30 for KO

    Hozumi Hasegawa (29-4 12 KO) was the favorite in the fight. He was a 2-1 favorite going into his fight with Johnny Gonzalez (48-7 42 KO).

    Hozumi made his way back to the top echelon of fighters in the lower weight classes after losing his Bantamweight title to Montiel by taking on undefeated Juan Carlos Burgos for the vacant WBC featherweight belt. 

    The fight with Gonzalez was Hozumi's second fight at featherweight and proved too much for him. Hozumi was performing quite well in the first three rounds and was caught by a punch by Gonzalez, which caught him by surprise and prompted the ref to stop the fight.   

#7 Victor Ortiz W12 Andre Berto

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    This one is an upset to some and wasn't that much of a surprise to others, as many people had picked Victor "Vicious" Ortiz (29-2-2 22 KO) to beat Andre Berto (27-1 21 KO).

    Berto was still a 3.5-1 favorite over Ortiz and people were still criticizing Ortiz over his loss to Maidana and draw with Lamont Petersen. 

    Victor Ortiz came into the fight with furious intent and showed right from the beginning that he did have the heart of a champion. Ortiz came out swinging against Berto and knocked Berto down in the first round.

    From the beginning, Berto didn't look himself. He seemed tired, unfocused and was wobbled at some times from Ortiz. 

    For the most part this fight was a slug fest between the two with a total of four official knockdowns (two apiece).

    Berto was able to recover from the first round and was able to catch Ortiz off balance in the second round while Ortiz was stalking. 

    The two continued to brawl up into the sixth round when things started to get even more exciting. During the sixth, Berto started to pick himself up in the fight and was able to land a left counter that caught Ortiz off guard and knocked him down.

    As soon as Ortiz got up, Berto took this chance to go in for the kill and started advancing when Ortiz hit Berto with his own counter and knocked the champion on his back with seconds to spare.

    From then on, both fighters seemed gassed out, but Ortiz showed his heart and continued attacking. 

    In the end, Ortiz was able to pull off a UD over Berto and win the WBC Welterweight title and hand Berto his first professional loss.

#6 Hernan Marquez KO11 Luis Concepcion

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    Marquez on the right
    Marquez on the right

    Hernan Marquez (30-2 23KO) and Luis Concepcion (22-2 17KO) put on a Fight of the Year performance in Panama City and was nonstop action from the start of the bell to the finish of the fight. 

    Marquez was fighting for the WBA World flyweight championship.

    Concepcion came out guns blazing and knocked down Marquez in the first round. At that point it seemed as if Concepcion was too good for Marquez to handle and the fight may be over sooner than later. 

    It looked as if Concepcion was going to go in for the kill when he had Marquez against the ropes until the Marquez landed a counter hook to Concepcion and floored him right before the bell ended. 

    The whole fight was nonstop action between the two which resulted in another knockdown of Concepcion in the third round.

    From there, the two fighters decided to trade blows and each landed heavy shots on each other, Concepcion taking most of the damage. The only time that either men slowed down was in the seventh and eighth rounds. 

    Marquez wasn't backing down and by the start of the 11th round, the ringside doctor took one look at the swollen eyes and face of Concepcion and deemed the champion unfit to continue. 

#5. Jorge Arce TKO12 Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 07:  Jorge Arce celebrates his 12th-round TKO victory over Wilfredo Vazquez in their WBO super bantamweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena May 7, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)J
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    On May 7, the much-hyped bout between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley took place and if it wasn't for Arce and Vasquez, the whole night might have been a snooze fest.

    Jorge Arce (57-6-2 44 KO) was set to face Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (20-1-1 17 KO) for the WBO Super Bantam weight belt.

    Nobody really gave the Mexican veteran a chance of winning this fight and some bookies even had him as low as a 12-1 underdog for the fight. He was seen as shot, a shell of his former self, a sacrificial goat and a stepping stone for Vazquez's career.

    As soon as the fight started, Arce showed that he still had some gas in the tank and came out swinging against Vazquez.

    He let his hands go, throwing power punches at Vazquez and showed that even after all the wars he had over 65 fights, he still had some gas in the tank.

    Arce was able to survive a flash knockdown in the fourth and worked his way back into the fight. Later on in the fight, he began unleashing a barrage of punches in the 12th round, causing the referee to stop the fight.

    Even if Vazquez had survived the 12th round, Arce was up on all the scorecards and would have won by points.  

    Arce shows that he's still relevant in the sport of boxing and tries to become the first Mexican boxer to win titles in four different weight classes. 

#4 Marco Antonio Rubio KO7 David Lemieux

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    Unbeaten Canadian prospect David Lemieux (25-1 24 KO), who seemed to knock out anybody who stood in his way, took on Mexican veteran Marco Antonio Rubio (51-5-1 44 KO) in Canada.

    Many people didn't give Rubio much of a chance of winning by making him a 12-1 underdog in the odds.

    It looked as if David Lemieux had Rubio's number as he came out looking like a hurricane in the early rounds, like he usually does.

    As the rounds went by, it seemed as if Lemieux seemed to have slowed down and Rubio started to figure him out. Rubio began taking Lemieux's shots and firing back, slowing down the young fighter.

    By the seventh round, Rubio had figured out Lemieux and started his attack and knocked down Lemieux. After the eight-count, Rubio pounced on him in an attempt to end the fight right then and there.

    Rubio continued his assault until Lemieux's cornerman had enough of his fighter taking damage and threw in the towel.

    The good thing for Lemieux is that he's still young and can learn from this loss.

    As for Rubio, he opened up a door which could lead to another world title shot against Sergio Martinez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 

#3 Orlando Salido TKO8 Juan Manuel Lopez

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    LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 04:  Orlando Salido of Mexico celebrates his victory against Robert Guerrero after their IBF Featherweight Championship fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center November 4, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Salido won by unanimous decision.
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Another fight that even though was an upset, some people called Salido giving Lopez troubles. I say this because in his match with Gamboa, Salido was able to give the champion trouble and people thought that he would bring this into his fight with Lopez.

    Veteran boxer Orlando Salido (35-11-2 23 KO) took on Juan Manuel Lopez (30-1 27 KO) for his WBO featherweight title. 

    This was one of the bigger upsets of the year because Juan Manuel Lopez was seen as a rising star and his fight was seen only as a keep-busy fight in preparation of his mega fight with Gamboa. Salido came into the fight as a 12-1 underdog and was thought to not be much of a challenge due to his 11 losses.

    Salido had other ideas for this fight and turned it into a fairly one-sided beat down of the champion. While some people believe the fight was stopped prematurely, the champion was taking a lot of damage in the process from a determined Salido.

    The victory of Salido over Lopez has some people scratching their heads over how this happened and cursing Bob Arum for letting a potential super fight between Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez "marinate" too long.  

#2 Grady Brewer TKO4 Fernando Guerrero

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    This is a fairly recent fight in which the young prospect was beaten by the much older veteran boxer.

    Fernando Guerrero (21-1 16 KO) took on Grady Brewer (28-12 16 KO) during a Friday Night Fights event were this was seen as a fairly easy win for the unbeaten fighter Guerrero. 

    Brewer had a 16 month lay-off before taking a tune up fight a month before his fight with Guerrero. He had been dealing with injuries to his shoulder and knee for a couple of years and mixed in with the fact that he was 40 years old, nobody really gave him a chance.

    Guerrero was controlling the fight coming into the fourth and it seemed that he was going to win the fourth round too until Brewer hit him with a right and put Guerrero against the ropes. Brewer kept up the pressure which resulted in Guerrero going halfway through the ropes. 

    From then on, Brewer owned the fight and continued with his punishment over the undefeated Guerrero until Guerrero fell face down into the mat and the referee decided that he had seen enough and called off the fight.

    Brewer was able to pull off a fabulous upset at the age of 40 and that you should never count a fighter out due to their age.

#1 Nobuhiro Ishida TKO1 James Kirkland

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    Is there really any surprise what the best and biggest upset of 2011 is? 

    When James Kirkland (27-1 24 KO) came into the fight against Nobuhiro Ishida (23-6-2 8 KO) everybody expected there to be a knockout victory. There was a knockout victory, but James Kirkland was the one who was eating mat.

    Nobody gave Ishida a chance of winning. He was 35 years old and many thought that he was a feather puncher due to his seven knockouts coming into the fight.

    As soon the fight started, everybody held their breath, waiting for Kirkland to smash his opposition into the ground and get yet another knockout victory, but that never happened.

    In less than three minutes and only 15 punches, Ishida knocked down James Kirkland three times and caused the referee to stop the fight. This was surprising because Krikland was able to take a lot more punishment from a stronger puncher in Joel Julio and not go down.

    Nobody expected Ishida to win, as there wasn't even a translator to help Ishida translate for his interview on hand.

    Ishida was able to defy all odds and show that you should take any fight, whether it's a major career making fight or a tuneup fight, seriously.  


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