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WAS AJ's loss to Ruiz the biggest shock in heavyweight title history, as some are saying? Sorry, in my book it doesn't even make the top five. Here is my list of the greatest upsets in the division.

1 Now his status as the greatest heavyweight champ of all time has been cemented, it's hard to grasp the fact Muhammad Ali was given virtually no chance against brooding titleholder Sonny Liston.

He entered the Miami Beach ring in February, 1964, a 7-1 underdog and many dismissed the then Cassius Clay as simply a brash, big headed youngster. He would be taught a painful lesson, they predicted. Liston, with concussive power in each fist, was considered a monster. Yet Clay exposed the beast as a bully. After being outclassed in the sixth, Liston quit on his stool.

2 Ten years after destroying Liston's reputation, Ali peeled-off a near carbon copy performance. Again, George Foreman was seen as unbeatable - a human wrecking ball who had demolished Joe Frazier and Ken Norton.

The pair met in Kinshasa, Zaire, on October 30, 1974, and Ali shocked the world - again.

Dubbed The Rumble In The Jungle, he employed a "rope-a-dope" tactic, allowing Big George to pummel his arms.

Foreman, close to exhaustion, was KO'd in the eighth.

3 No-one came close to threatening Mike Tyson's tenure as world heavyweight champ. And Buster Douglas was considered yet another lamb to the slaughter when he faced Iron Mike, who had won all 37 contests, in Tokyo on February 11, 1990. But Buster, a 42-1 underdog, produced the performance of his life. He ground down an illprepared Tyson, climbing off the floor in the eighth to halt the champ two rounds later.

4 During his career, Lennox Lewis was on the wrong end of two shockers, delivered by Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman.

On reflection, McCall's victory was the greater upset. When the pair met at Wembley on September 24, 1994, Lewis was unbeaten and had twice defended his crown.

He was expected to have little trouble disposing of the American. But McCall, a 5-1 underdog, grabbed the title by second round stoppage.

He would go on to lose it to Frank Bruno.

5 One near unbelievable victory forever earned James Braddock the nickname The Cinderella Man. He emerged from near obscurity to challenge Max Baer for the title at Madison Square Garden on June 13, 1935. Past his prime and having already failed in an attempt to take the light-heavyweight crown, Braddock was thought to be mere cannon fodder.

But Baer, a notorious playboy, had seriously under-estimated his foe, cut corners in training and paid the price. He lost on points.

Braddock lost the title in his first defence, suffering a KO at the hands of Joe Louis.


Ali floors Foreman

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 9, 2019
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