Sometimes, you get a clear Upset of the Year, something like Baldomir over Judah or even Breidis Prescott blasting Amir Khan in 2008. Other years it's a bit tougher. This year was somewhere in the middle, but after some thought, I stand firm on my choice.
Sugar Shane Storms Past the Tijuana Tornado
January 24 seems like a long time ago by now, but when thinking of how I felt watching the other candidates, and remembering how I felt watching this fight play out, nothing else came close to this one. There were some (a minority) that felt Mosley was a live dog, but for the most part, he was counted out. It seems foolish in retrospect, but then it's also easy to forget how lethargic and old he'd looked against Ricardo Mayorga about four months prior to this fight.
The wraps and all that are what they are, but Mosley was not supposed to win this fight, and he did. And he did so emphatically, to boot. He made Margarito look second-rate, like a guy that didn't even belong in the same ring with Mosley. The dominance was stunning. He toyed with Margarito, beating him physically and psychologically, roughing up the bigger, stronger man and then picking him apart with thunder and lightning offense. Margarito had no clue how to deal with Mosley. During the fight, I was in awe of Mosley's effort, but after every round I was reminding myself, "Don't count out Margarito. Remember how good Cotto looked against him for the first half of the fight? He might just be getting warmed up."
Instead it was Mosley just warming up. His early fight highlights paled in comparison to what he kept in reserves for a tiring, demoralized Margarito, and he put him away in nine. In all respects, I don't think any 2009 fight shook up the rankings or the perception of the two fighters more than this one did.
I couldn't convince myself to go with Juan Carlos Salgado's TKO-1 win over Jorge Linares for a few reasons. First off, my feelings on first round stoppages at the top levels of the sport have been made clear. I think they're about as fluky as it gets. More importantly, Linares was mostly hype to this point. There's real talent there, sure, but it's not like he'd been making mincemeat of much quality opposition. What the fight might have proven is not so much that Linares isn't as good as everyone had been saying, but that the boat was missed by the big promoters on Salgado.
I barely consider Danny Green beating Roy Jones Jr. an upset at all. I thought that fight went one of two ways, an early Green stoppage or a wide Jones decision. If Roy could avoid the right hand, I said, he'd be fine. He couldn't avoid the right hand. He wasn't fine. The same goes for Miguel Vazquez debunking Breidis Prescott in a lot of ways; I just wasn't surprised at all that it happened.
Kermit Cintron's win over Alfredo Angulo was not supposed to happen, and that shouldn't be forgotten. Angulo was chewing his way through opponents, and then was matched with Cintron. The idea seemed to be that Angulo was so much like Antonio Margarito in terms of style that he'd give Cintron the same trouble Margs did. Instead, Cintron turned in a career-best performance in the ring and got his career back on track.
Antwone Smith deserves his own tip of the cap in this category. While none of the wins of his were particularly stunning, they were pretty much all upsets. He was brought in as an opponent against Norberto Gonzalez in February and beat him. He was then fed to Richard Gutierrez and beat him in May. And then in October he beat Henry Crawford around the ring to go 3-0 on the year. Smith (17-1-1, 9 KO) has joined the fringe contenders at 147, which might not sound like much, but it's a big, big leap from where he was a year ago.