Jeff could horn in on boxing's greatest upsets list
AUSTRALIA'S Jeff Horn is facing mission impossible against future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao in their world title showdown in Brisbane.
No one expects Horn to defeat the Filipino legend, and bookmakers have him a firm $5 outsider. To put things into perspective, that's the same price Conor McGregor (a boxing novice) is paying to defeat 49-0 Floyd "Money” Mayweather.
But boxing has a proud history of outsiders pulling off upsets, with some of the biggest names suffering embarrassing defeats to those they were meant to dispatch easily.
It is what makes the sport so great, and it provides Horn hope he can shock the world on July 2 at Suncorp Stadium in "The Battle of Brisbane”.
Here are six of the biggest upsets in boxing history:
6. ANTONIO TARVER VS ROY JONES JR
Roy Jones was boxing's king at this time. He'd breezed to the middleweight, super-middleweight and light-heavyweight world titles - even creating history by claiming a heavyweight belt against WBA champion John Ruiz.
Jones looked untouchable, until he ran into Tarver. The legend was tested in their first fight, but Jones managed to scrape through with a majority decision. He wanted to do things much easier in their rematch, blitzing the first round.
But things took a drastic turn in the second. A huge left hand from Tarver sent Jones crashing to the floor. Game over. Jones was knocked out by Glen Johnson in his next bout.
His career went downhill after that, at one stage suffering a first-round knockout by Aussie Danny Green.
5. GEORGE FOREMAN VS MICHAEL MOORER
George Foreman created history becoming the oldest ever heavyweight champion when he knocked out Michael Moorer.
Foreman may have been 46 years old, but he still had his punching power. Moorer punished him for nine rounds until Foreman, his face showing the punishment he'd endured, landed a perfect short right hand to become champion - 21 years after first winning the title.
4. SUGAR RAY LEONARD VS MARVIN HAGLER
Before this fight Sugar Ray Leonard had retired, returned, been knocked down for the first time in his career, gone back into retirement, had eye surgery and battled drug addiction. It was safe to say no one expected him to beat Marvin Hagler when he made a shock return.
Hagler was unbeaten for six years and had been middleweight champion for the last two. But Leonard's lethal combination punching kept Hagler off balance and stole important rounds in a close fight. Hagler never fought again after the loss.
3. JAMES J BRADDOCK VS MAX BAER
It certainly wouldn't happen today. A heavyweight with 25 losses on his record would never get a world title shot, but Braddock was different.
Six straight wins gave Braddock his chance against world champion Max Baer and he wasn't going to miss his big moment. The Great Depression confined his family to a life of poverty and his boxing training was supplemented by work in a shipyard, but the 101-1 underdog pulled off one of the great boxing upsets, winning a 15-round decision over the champion.
Braddock would lose the title in his next fight, two years later against Joe Louis. His story was immortalised by Australian actor Russell Crowe in the 2005 movie Cinderella Man.
2. MUHAMMAD ALI VS GEORGE FOREMAN
Nobody thought Ali had a hope. Foreman was the bigger man and Ali was getting on. Many assumed Ali was just in Africa to collect one last big payday. Foreman was knocking everybody out and many expected the same to happen to Ali.
Ali had struggled past Joe Frazier, whereas Foreman knocked Frazier out in just two rounds. Perhaps Ali's most famous performance was reserved for "The Rumble in the Jungle”.
Ali entered the ring and found the canvas was mushy instead of firm, which formed his "rope a dope” strategy. If he ran and fought at a distance, Ali would run out of gas early. So instead, he let Foreman pound on him for seven rounds. It was insane, but in the end the perfect plan.
By round seven, Foreman was exhausted and ripe for the taking. Ali landed a perfect combination and Foreman went down and didn't get up. Muhammad Ali was the champ again.
1. JAMES 'BUSTER' DOUGLAS VS MIKE TYSON
Undeniably the greatest upset of all time. Tyson at the time was the "baddest man of the planet”, 37-0 and with 33 KOs. Most sports books refused to take bets on the fight because it was so one-sided.
Douglas was a 42-1 underdog. But "Buster”, motivated by the recent death of his mother, put in the performance of his life.
Douglas used his extra reach to pound Tyson every time the champion came forward aggressively. Tyson dropped Douglas in the eighth round but the challenger came back stronger. Douglas dropped Tyson in the 10th - stunning the world.
"Iron Mike” is said to have taken Douglas lightly, hardly training and throwing himself into partying after a messy split with partner Robin Givens.
He had also split with long-time trainer Kevin Rooney, which impacted preparations.
Tyson had signed to fight Evander Holyfield in his next fight, plans that were thrown into disarray with defeat to Douglas.
The Tyson loss highlighting one of the biggest lessons in boxing - don't overlook anyone.
Manny Pacquiao, you have been warned.
MANNY PACQUIAO vs JEFF HORN live on Main Event pay-per-view, Sunday July 2