Few people will forget the sight of Mike Tyson, previously considered nigh unbeatable, searching forlornly for his gumshield on a Tokyo canvas on 11th February 1990. As the heavyweight giant was beaten down by James “Buster” Douglas, boxing fans around the world were left stunned.
In boxing, the transformation between favorite to loser is a humbling one. It can make or break a career. It also helps to maintain a high level of intrigue within the sport. There are a number of fights already scheduled for 2015, some of which have the potential for a dramatic turn against the form book. With that in mind, here are the top four potential upsets in 2015.
Bermane Stiverne vs. Deontay Wilder
There is a degree of nonchalance surrounding the outcome of this heavyweight fight. Stiverne got his hands on an alphabet belt by beating Chris Arreola for a second time, but his challenger – Wilder – is seen as the bigger threat and favorite going in.
Wilder has power, but we are yet to see his chin tested. Stiverne may not look all that, but he’s a decent boxer with enough of a punch to check opponents. Wilder certainly cannot be complacent about this fight.
Gennady Golovkin vs. Martin Murray
Golovkin hasn’t been given the breaks his talent deserves, but he has picked a tough opponent in Murray. The Englishman gave Sergio Martinez a dressing down in Argentina before losing a controversial split decision. Thus, in another time this fight may have been for the lineal middleweight belt, with Murray the holder.
Golovkin is favored to win, and rightly so, but all Murray needs to do to upset people here is compete, and there is a high chance he will. He’s awkward, strong, tall and a good boxer with a high guard. Expect him to cause more trouble than ‘GGG’s recent opposition.
Arthur Abraham vs. Paul Smith II
Abraham earned a win in his first duel with Smith, but the judges scorecards were way off. One judge gave “King Arthur” 11 of the 12 rounds, while the other two gave him nine. All three scores misrepresented a fight that had been evenly contested, and once again suspicious glances were directed in the way of judging in German boxing.
Smith now has his rematch, and this may well be his last shot at an alphabet world title. Abraham turns 35 the day before the fight and there have been clear signs of slippage since he was stopped by Robert Stieglitz in 2013. Now is the perfect time for Smith to take advantage, cause the upset and fulfill his dreams.
Vyacheslav Glazkov vs. Steve Cunningham
Cunningham has fared surprisingly well since his move up to heavyweight in 2012. He was unfortunate in points defeat to Tomasz Adamek before giving Tyson Fury all he could handle. He then beat Amir Mansour last year in an engaging fight to further confirm his status as a legitimate heavyweight.
Glazkov’s only standout performances came in his points win over Adamek and a controversial 10-round draw with Malik Scott. Although he is the favorite for this fight, Cunningham’s skill and hand-speed will be difficult for him to handle.