16-02-09 – by James Slater – In the sport of boxing there is nothing quite like a momentous upset; the sight of seeing a huge underdog/ largely unknown fighter going out there and giving the betting favourite/defending world champion a beating. Seeing the little guy win makes fans feel happy because seeing the big guy lose to him gives us all an example of what anyone can do if they both believe in themselves and put their mind to it..
This Saturday night, two fighters will enter the ring very much as the underdogs as they each challenge for a world title. In Youngstown, Ohio, Mexico’s Marco Antonio Rubio will give it his best against world middleweight king Kelly Pavlik; while in Atlantic City, New Jersey Britain’s Michael Jennings will go into the lion’s den against Miguel Cotto in a bout that will decide the vacant WBO welterweight crown. In many eyes neither guy has much of a chance, but who has more of an unlikely shot at winning – the middleweight underdog or his welterweight counterpart?
Due to his more easily recognisable name, Rubio, the WBC number-one contender at 160-pounds, is probably the fighter of the two who is being given more of a chance on Saturday. The overwhelming majority of fans still think Rubio is going to lose – most likely by KO – but they have at least seen him fight and are somewhat familiar with him. Jennings, on the other hand, is a fighter many US fans have never even heard of before now, let alone seen in action.
Also, 28-year-old Rubio, with 37 KO’s from his 43 wins (4 losses and a draw) has at the very least a legitimate puncher’s chance in his fight. 31-year-old Jennings, a fast and fit boxer, is no banger, as his 16 KO’s from 34 wins shows (one loss) and he does not have this chance on his side. Both challengers may take some hope from the fact that they are meeting their respective defending champions while they are both coming back after heavy defeats – Cotto to Antonio “Gloves of Stone” Margarito and Pavlik to Bernard Hopkins. As a result, no-one knows just how affected the two huge favourites will have been by what they went through.
Will either Cotto or Pavlik enter the ring somewhat scarred as a result of losing for the very first time? If either guy does turn out to be a faded force of what he once was, Rubio and/or Jennings could well hit the jackpot and take home the glory.
Rubio is the bigger puncher when it comes to he and Jennings, but the Brit is the better, faster, boxer. And if Rubio has to be given at least a puncher’s chance in his fight, shouldn’t the Chorley man be given a shot at being able to outbox Cotto? If the Puerto Rican has been mentally damaged by what “The Tijuana Tornado” did to him, and if he comes out slowly and is unable to get into his groove as a result; then yes, Jennings will have a shot at out-pointing him.
Both men are in their respective underdog roles for a reason, and no-one would deny that they had seen a major upset if either guy managed a win. Most fans are already looking ahead to Cotto and Pavlik’s next ring outing after they have done away with their challengers on Saturday. But if the two champions are doing likewise, if they are not affording their opponent the required respect, and if they have been badly affected by their first loss, an upset could actually be on the cards.
So who has the better chance of causing the shake-up, puncher Rubio or slick boxer Jennings? Though either guy winning would be something of a jaw-dropper, this writer feels the hugely underrated Jennings has the better chance of the two outsiders.
Jennings might, just might, be able to pull off a historic points victory. As for Rubio, look for him to get iced inside five rounds – game as he is.