Buster Douglas to Muhammad Ali: Five of boxing’s most memorable wins

Buster Douglas Mike Tyson

Don King Productions

World Boxing News provides a selection of the most significant victories in the boxing ring from Roberto Duran to Buster Douglas beating the great Mike Tyson.

We all know pugilism is one of the most exciting sports in the world.

One reason for this is the unpredictable upsets that occur seemingly every year across all weight classes.

Below are some of our favorite big boxing wins by the underdog that anyone who watched live will always remember. No matter if you placed a big bet on the underdog or were watching as a neutral boxing fan.

1983: Roberto Duran over Davey Moore

A prolific fighter if there ever was one, Roberto Duran fought 119 fights in his professional career. But one of his most memorable was against Davey Moore, who had already successfully defended his WBA Light Middleweight title three times.

Despite being in front of a home New York crowd, it was Moore that suffered booing. The Panamanian Duran was cheered when the fighters entered the ring.

That set the tone for the rest of the fight as “Stone Hands” Duran gave Moore such a bad beating that the war was stopped, with the latter still somehow standing through the 8th.

Nearly ever boxing pundit had picked the much-younger Moore to win the fight over Duran, who had turned 32 that day and was serenaded with “Happy Birthday” by the New York crowd as he lifted a title belt once again.

2004: Antonio Tarver over Roy Jones Jr.

After defeating John Ruiz in 2003 for the WBA Heavyweight Championship, Roy Jones Jr.’s light heavyweight titles were vacated and then won by Antonio Tarver.

Wanting to reclaim his throne, Jones and Tarver met for the first time in 2003. Tarver won a too close bout by decision.

However, Jones had dropped 24 pounds in a short amount of time to get ready for that fight. He fought at less than optimal strength.

A re-match was in order, and the boxer named Fighter of the Decade for the 1990s wanted revenge.

Jones seemed as surprised as the viewing and betting public when he caught a big left-hand shot from Tarver in the second round, marking the first time Junior had ever been KO’d.

Fights like these that make boxing great! Fans love the unpredictability factor that boxing offers.

You can never know if the underdog will get knocked out or produce a knock out to his opponent.

George Foreman
HBO / Focus on Sport

1994: George Foreman over Michael Moorer

Even though he was considered one of the ‘meanest’ fighters of his time, few thought George Foreman would be able to tap into his former boxing self when he tried to return to the sport after a 10-year break.

But the star-fighter and entrepreneur went on a 24-match unbeaten streak, earning himself an opportunity to face Michael Moorer for the WBA, IBF, and Lineal Titles.

Moorer was the first southpaw to be the heavyweight champion. A title he won by defeating Evander Holyfield just seven months earlier in 12 rounds.

Almost 20 years younger, the house’s money was on Moorer despite the crowd backing the underdog Foreman.

Most thought that if the match was a long one, it was Moorer’s fight to lose. But the opposite happened.

A mean combo in the 10th knocked Moorer to the canvas, making Foreman the oldest heavyweight champion ever.

1964: Muhammad Ali over Sonny Liston

Both Ali-Liston fights were some of the most anticipated sport had or has ever seen.

The first fight was particularly memorable. It was a contest that saw the transformation of a cocky 22-year old into perhaps the most famous boxer ever.

For Liston, it was the beginning of the end for a once fearsome puncher.

Muhammad Ali had won gold at the 1960 Olympic games as a light heavyweight. But his chances were widely dismissed by the media, who weren’t fond of his boisterous style.

The 7:1 underdog shocked the world when he beat Liston into such a pulp that he wasn’t able to answer the bell for the 7th round.

His victory made Ali the new heavyweight champion of the world. We all know how that went.

1990: Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson

The greatest boxing upset of all-time by James Buster Douglas wasn’t even supposed to be a ‘real’ match.

At the beginning of 1990, Mike Tyson had had only one fight in his entire 37-match career go longer than six rounds.

His knockout power was unlike anything the boxing world had ever seen. He’d also never even been down before.

Pitted against a 29-4-1 fighter named Buster Douglas, the fight was due to be a tune-up match for a prize fight with Evander Holyfield later in the year.

The key word being ‘was.’

Even though Tyson knocked down Buster Douglas in the 8th and seemingly threw everything he had at him in the 9th, the 42:1 underdog would not fall.

A combination on an increasingly winded-looking Tyson sent the champ down for the first time. The news shocked the world when ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ fell.