5 of the Best Underdog Stories in Recent Boxing History

Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IIDecember 2, 2011

5 of the Best Underdog Stories in Recent Boxing History

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    Boxing is increasingly becoming a sport in which mismatches are made and certain fighters are given every advantage to win.

    With that said there are sometimes those fights where the other boxer didn't get the memo that they were supposed to lay down and lose and an upset occurs.

    The fighters picked for this list are not the most glamorous and some even have journeymen records.  None of them were considered world class competitors and they certainly weren't bet on heavily.

    With that said the cutoff for the list was about 2005 because if it wasn't then, arguments could be made for Buster Douglas and other fights that had happened in boxing's past.

    So, here are the five men who decided to flip the scripts and prove that not only can boxing be unpredictable, but it can give us some wonderful stories as well.

Nobuhiro Ishida

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    Ishida started off his career in Japan with mixed results.  After finally winning the Japanese light middleweight title he was able to get enough wins to make it to a title eliminator and than gain an interim belt at that weight.

    Unfortunately he lost split decision to a C-level fighter in Rigoberto Alvarez, who has gone on to lose his last two fights, and was then picked by James Kirkland's promoter to be an opponent for their boxer.

    Ishida was the perfect fit.  He was just tough enough to give Kirkland some rounds and light hitting. It was enough that he didn't even have a knockout count in the double digits.  He was a great way to ease Kirkland back into the ring on a somewhat serious level.

    Except even light hitting guys sometimes score a KO.  Ishida did just that in the first round.  He was able to knock Kirkland senseless and walk away with the win.

    Since then he only fought one fight in Mexico against a fighter making their pro debut which tarnishes his underdog story a little bit, but he may still redeem himself and continue on as this one isn't finished yet.

Carlos Molina

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    Sadly, in boxing there are times when fighters are good enough to pull upsets, but because they don't have name recognition with casual fans are passed over for the bigger paydays.  If boxing were smarter, the powers that be could use social media to clue fans in and make the best fights.  Unfortunately it doesn't seem like promoters want to do their job and elevate such fights.

    Molina's story happens to be one of those cases.

    From being a fighter who was on a three fight losing streak and having been robbed of a win against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Molina was able to bounce back and beat a decent rung of lower opposition.  When he finally stepped up against returning former contender Danny Perez, he started making waves.

    He was able to beat Perez by unanimous decision which led to him getting a fight on ESPN Friday Night Fights against Erislandy Lara. He scored a draw, but some believed Molina won.

    He has since gone on to win his next two fights—the last of which was against Kermit Cintron by unanimous decision.

    Yes, the same Cintron who just got a shot at Saul Alvarez and lost.

    Molina's story isn't over yet, so fans may still see something great happen.

Cristobal Cruz

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    One look at Cruz' 39-12-3 record with one no-contest tells the story of a journeyman.  Until another look makes the reader realize that he is also a former champion.

    Cruz had been a pro since 1992 when he finally won his featherweight title in 2008 on ESPN Friday Night Fights.  The grizzled gatekeeper suddenly turned into a Cinderella story for fight fans as he beat the expected victor, Thomas Mashaba, by majority decision.

    What is even more unexpected is that he went on to defend his title several times before losing it.

    At 34, it is unlikely that he will get another shot at the title or win another belt. Then again, it was unlikely the first time and he was still able to do it.  All he needs to do is stop having his fights end from cuts because of a clash of heads.

    And if he does, perhaps fans will see Cruz pull off another miracle in the ring.

Edgar Sosa

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    Edgar Sosa didn't start his career out with a lot of help.  He had a full-time job and seemed to be on his way to mediocrity when he fought a fight in Haiti and found himself a manager. His trip to Haiti started what would be an undefeated run and a shot at the title against one-loss Brian Viloria. Some considered Viloria to be a future great.

    Instead Sosa beat the one time Olympian by majority decision.  He then went on to defend the belt successfully 10 times.

    And he did that all that in less than three years.

    In a time when boxers seem to only fight two times a year it is refreshing to see someone who was willing to not only win the belt, but then not wait for the biggest money fight to keep it.  He might not have fought the greatest opposition, but he fought often. For a man who at one time seemed to be on the way to becoming a journeyman it is admirable.

    He finally lost the belt and since hasn't reclaimed the gold with his last fight being a loss to flyweight champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam.

    If that is how his boxing career ends, at least he can hold his head high.

Carlos Baldomir

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    There may not be a better way to explain Baldomir's life story than the article posted here.  

    The man is a boxing fairy tale.  He's the kind of story fans like to tell themselves and the media loves to report on.  He is the Argentinean Rocky Balboa.

    The man's training suffered because he couldn't even pay his boxing fees.  He instead opted to sell feather dusters on the street to support his family.

    Finally he started putting wins together—sometimes even skating by with an occasional draw.  However, he was able to refrain from losing and in doing so it netted him a fight with then undisputed welterweight champion Zab Judah.

    He was then able to beat Arturo Gatti and claim a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in which he made bank to the tune of $1.6 million.

    Sadly Mayweather was able to beat Baldomir easily in their fight.  The underdog king hasn't been able to win a serious fight against top opposition since then.  In fact he was used as a measuring stick against rising boxer Saul Alvarez.

    However, if Baldomir was smart with his money, then he could retire whenever he wants to take care of his family.

    Hopefully it is pride that keeps him coming back to the ring and not the need for another paycheck.  And if his pride does return him to the ring, maybe he will somehow pull off one last run.

    In boxing there are very few victorious underdogs.  It would be nice if Baldomir stayed one of them.


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