A Brief History
On February 11, 1990, Iron Mike Tyson went into his match against James “Buster” Douglas as a 42 to 1 favorite. Not only did Tyson, undefeated and undisputed as the Heavyweight Champion at the time, lose the fight, he was knocked out in the 10th round!
While Douglas’s surprise victory is largely considered the biggest upset in boxing history at any weight class, some of the other major heavyweight upsets include:
James “The Cinderella Man” Braddock over Max Baer, 1935
Max Schmeling’s knockout of Joe Louis in 1936
Muhammad Ali’s knockout of Sonny Liston in 1964
Muhammad Ali’s knockout of George Foreman in 1974
Leon Spinks outpointing Muhammad Ali in 1978
Question for students (and subscribers): Which heavyweight boxing match do you consider the greatest upset of all? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Izenberg, Jerry. Once There Were Giants: The Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing. Skyhorse, 2021.
Layden, Joe. The Last Great Fight: The Extraordinary Tale of Two Men and How One Fight Changed Their Lives Forever. St. Martin’s Press;, 2007.
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