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Feb 21st
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Home Boxing UPSET OF THE YEAR - 2009
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boxing_001There are three candidates I was tossing around in my head, when it came to upset of the year.  Two of them even took place in the same building.  Analyzing these match-ups forced me to look at the core of what makes an upset an upset, and how it separates surprise from an overall performance.
Marcos Maidana KO 6 Victor Ortiz. 
When it comes to perhaps establishing a new name in boxing, this one did it.  Maidana got off the canvas multiple times, and came back to stop Ortiz.  Now, while Ortiz quit, and Maidana certainly fought a bit dirty...  the heart, power, and overall ability could not be questioned.  This fight does not quite qualify for upset of the year status, however, as Maidana was a top-ranked figher, who had fought live bodies in the division before.  Unknown, yes, but not untested.  If anything, we had just as many questions about Ortiz.  He had just had the hype and manueveruing behind him.

Shane Mosley KO 9 Antonio Margarito
Certainly Mosley was the hero on this night.  Little support from the crowd, despite fighting in his hometown.  Biggest crowd ever assembled in the Staples Center.  Margarito found to be cheating (moot point, as he barely laid an effective glove on Mosley).  It was all pointing to a surprise beatdown for Margarito, and Mosely didn't disappoint.  An added element of surprise came when Mosley won via TKO, against a man we thought unstoppable.  Again, close, but doens't quite fall into the category of biggest upset, since it is Mosley who is the proven hall-of-famer.  Margarito was riding high, but had lost a fight recently (Williams), and Mosley had already proven his ability to look bad for a few fights, and then come back.  A surprise, but not the biggest surprise.  In fact, I picked this one.
Juan Carlos Salgado KO 1 Jorge Linares
Ok, here's our winner.  Sure, Linares was largely untested against the real threats in the division, and Salgado was undefeated, but this one has more elements than any other.  Linares was perceived to be a future star in boxing.  He already was so in Japan, had already signed with a major U.S. promotional outfit, and was set to bring his stardom west.  Salgado was merely an untested mandatory that he had to get out of the way first.  Then let's add the manner in which the fight played out.  A dramatic one-punch knockdown, which looked at first to be of the flash variety, followed by a calculating barrage of punches, which finished off Linares.  This one came out of nowhere, and left behind all of the great questions of a big upset.  Who is salgado?  Will he be able to repeat this performance?  Will Linares recover?  Was this just luck, or did it expose a future achilles heel?  The possibilities are endless.  Salgado could disappear after a lackluster showing in a rematch (like Kastushige Kawashima), or go on to a bigger career than the man he supposedly got "lucky" against (like James Toney).
Chris Strait

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Bob Carroll |
Good article Chris. I vote for Maidana over Ortiz, although I can also throw in Kermit Cintron UD12 Alfred Angulo. Have a great Christmas.
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