Just how big an upset was Anthony Joshua's loss to Andy Ruiz Jr.?

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

Anthony Joshua and his undefeated record have fallen, Andy Ruiz Jr. is your new heavyweight champ and the boxing world is in disbelief.

Facing a boxer whose, um, physique led to jokes around the internet, one of the world’s most famous fighters not only lost, he got knocked to the ground multiple times before the ref called the fight.

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Andy Ruiz Jr. entered boxing history on Saturday. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Andy Ruiz Jr. entered boxing history on Saturday. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Las Vegas odds backed up the eye test. What just happened was one of the biggest upsets in modern boxing history. But was it the biggest?

Well, probably not. But that shouldn’t take away from a surreal night at Madison Square Garden.

How big an underdog was Andy Ruiz Jr.?

Odds on Joshua were somewhat varied entering the fight, but the variability was mostly between “heavy favorite” and “mortal lock.” Per the New York Post, Joshua was listed as low as -2000 at Caesars sportsbooks and as high as -3334 at New Jersey’s PointsBet. The Westgate SuperBook also had him at at -2500.

Bets on the fight were reportedly a heavily one-sided affair, with 92 percent of tickets and 96 percent of money being bet on the Brit, according to a PointsBet official.

That money is now all gone. Some lost bigger than others:

Clearly, Joshua’s lowest odds coming in at -2000 reflects just how much the boxing world expected him to dominate on the way to setting up possible superfights against Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. Boxing has seen much bigger favorites fall, however, starting with the biggest of them all.

Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson remains undefeated

It’s hard to imagine Mike Tyson’s upset loss to Buster Douglas ever being topped. Tyson looked like the most dominant athlete in the history of boxing at the time, a 37-0 unified champ that was widely voted the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer and had knocked out nearly all challengers with ease.

Douglas was, well Buster Douglas. He was supposed to be a relative walkover opponent to set up a superfight against Evander Holyfield. And then Douglas won.

The odds that Douglas defied are pretty well-known at this point. A documentary about the fight called “42 to 1” was once aired for crying out loud. Via the Action Network, the only sportsbook to offer a moneyline on the fight was the Mirage, which started the odds at 27-to-1 and eventually jacked it up to 42-to-1, the latter of which received no takers for Douglas:

Vaccaro said the biggest bet he received on Tyson was $168,000 to win $4,000.

“He told me he’d be back to collect his money,” Vaccaro said. “He obviously didn’t come back.”

Both numbers were reportedly already in uncharted territory for heavyweights if Douglas had won. The biggest winning heavyweight underdog known up to that point was James Braddock, the Cinderella Man, against Max Baer at 10-to-1 odds.

So, yeah, while Ruiz was a massive underdog, Joshua was no Tyson. He still surpassed a number of other famous underdogs to win, including Hasim Rahman over Lennox Lewis, Corrie Sanders over Wladimir Klitschko and Frankie Randall over Julio Cesar Chavez. That’s quite the feat, and a joyous night for the few that believed in Ruiz.

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