There have been hundreds of upsets in the squared circle throughout history as the favourites have often come up short. But some upsets are definitely bigger than others when the loser happens to be a current or former world champion in the middle of their hall of fame career and the winner is basically just a journeyman. This list deals with the 10 biggest upsets in the modern era of the sport. When boxers used to fight every week and had 200 bouts in their careers there was bound to be an upset or two along the way.
Sugar Ray Robinson losing to Randy Turpin in 1951 is a prime example of this and let’s not forget Robinson fought just nine days earlier. Therefore, we’ve focused on the past half century as boxers now have the time to properly train and focus on their opponent for a couple of months before meeting them. There are no excuses for losses these days when you’re fighting only two or three times a year.
10. Kirkland Laing over Roberto Duran
Roberto Duran may have been ‘The Hands of Stone’ when he met Jamaican-born Briton Kirkland ‘The Gifted One’ Laing in Detroit in 1982, but Laing had an iron jaw that night. Duran weighed 155 lbs. for the 10-round match while Laing was under 150. The lighter man used excellent movement to frustrate the former world champion and grew in confidence as the fight went on. He even rocked Duran a couple of times with his own power shots and the judges took notice. When the scores were read in Ring Magazine’s upset of the year, Laing took a well-earned split decision and Duran’s proposed big-money fight with Tony Ayala fell through. Laing would get knocked out in his very next fight by Fred Hutchins, but would go on to become a British and European champion even though he lost 12 career fights.