After 43-year-old Bernard Hopkins (facing) defied expectations in beating Kelly Pavlik -- a man 17 years his junior and a top-10 pound-for-pound fighter -- we dusted off the archives to relive some of the best upsets in the ring.
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Cassius Clay def. Sonny Liston | Feb. 25, 1964
To boxing analysts and writers, the match was too lopsided to take seriously. The champ Liston was feared by nearly every boxer and would surely dispose of the 22-year-old challenger. But Liston failed to answer the bell for the seventh round because of an injured shoulder, giving Clay the win via TKO.
3 of 13John Iacono/SI
Sugar Ray Leonard def. Marvin Hagler | April 6, 1987
In his first fight since suffering a detached retina and retiring, Leonard (white trunks) took on World Middleweight Champion, "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler -- a shocking choice for Leonard that posed Hagler as the heavy favorite. But Leonard's speed and finesse threw off Hagler, and though neither fighter was knocked down in the match, Leonard won by split decision.
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Carlos Baldomir def. Zab Judah | Jan. 7, 2006
Zab Judah (facing) had his status atop the WBC welterweight division locked. That is, until he met Carlos Baldomir at Madison Square Garden. In a mandatory challenge of Judah's title, Baldomir threw a string of right hands to earn a unanimous decision and grab Judah's belt.
5 of 13Tony Triolo/SI
Muhammad Ali def. George Foreman | Oct. 30, 1974
In a bout that will be forever remembered as the "Rumble in the Jungle," Ali took on heavyweight champion Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). No one thought Ali had a shot at regaining his title, but the underdog unleashed his "Rope-a-Dope" style and downed Foreman with a combination in the center of the mat.
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Max Schmeling def. Joe Louis | June 19, 1936
Schmeling traveled all the way to New York to take on the undefeated Louis -- a journey that has been credited for helping to make the sport an international spectacle. In claiming he had uncovered a flaw in Louis' style (the American frequently dropped his guard after punching) Schmeling went on to knock out Louis in the 12th round.
7 of 13FPG/Getty Images
James J. Braddock def. Max Baer | June 13, 1935
Dubbed the underdog throughout most of his journey to meeting Baer for the world heavyweight championship, Braddock (far left) took on the titleholder with 10-to-1 odds stacked against him. It would be an easy win, thought Baer and his handlers. But Braddock slowly wore down the champ to win the bout and the title by unanimous decision.
8 of 13Hy Peskin/SI
Ingemar Johansson def. Floyd Patterson | June 26, 1959
After a number of title defenses, heavyweight champ Patterson took on Johansson (black trunks) at Yankee Stadium. Hardly expected to strip Patterson of his belt, Johansson managed to send Patterson to the canvas seven times before the fight was called in the third. In becoming the first European fighter to dismantle an American titleholder, Johansson was named SI's "Sportsman of the Year."
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Hasim Rahman def. Lennox Lewis | Apr. 22, 2001
Though Rahman (far left) entered the heavyweight-title bout off three straight wins, he was still a 20-to-1 underdog against Lewis. But Rahman needed only five rounds and one nasty punch to knock out the champ. The loss was just the second of Lewis' career.
10 of 13John Iacono/SI
George Foreman def. Michael Moorer | Nov. 5, 1994
After spending 10 years away from the ring, Foreman returned with his eye on Moorer's IBF and WBO heavyweight titles. Donning the same trunks he wore when he lost his title to Muhammad Ali 20 years before, Foreman used a devastating right to split Moorer's lip and send him to the canvas, where the ref counted him out. Foreman got his title back.
11 of 13Al Bello/Getty Images
Frankie Randall def. Julio Cesar Chavez | Jan. 29, 1994
Randall (far left) entered the fight with 18-to-1 odds against him. But he left as the first man to knock down and defeat Chavez, and as the WBC lightweight titleholder. The decision came down to two measly points -- points Chavez had deducted for low blows.
12 of 13John Iacono/SI
Evander Holyfield def. Mike Tyson I | Nov. 9, 1996
In Holyfield and Tyson's first meeting (their second included an ear-biting), the undisputed world heavyweight championship was on the line. Reigning champ Tyson had quickly made his way back to the top since retiring in 1994, while the 34-year-old Holyfield was billed as a "washed-up fighter." But after Holyfield landed a series of punches in the 10th round and followed with a tough combination in the 11th, the referee stopped the fight. Mr. Washed-up was ruled champ.
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James "Buster" Douglas def. Mike Tyson | Feb. 11, 1990
It was supposed to be merely a tune-up fight for Tyson, who was widely considered the best boxer in the world. But in the 10th round, Douglas sent Tyson an uppercut and a series of combinations to knock down the champ for the first time. Tyson struggled to regain his footing and failed to beat the ref's count.<br><br>Send comments to email@example.com.
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