UPSET OF THE YEAR VOTING RESULTS
Jason Lizau-Celestino Caballero: 65 percent
Today's poll: Event of the Year. Vote at Yahoo! Sports by clicking here
Celestino Caballero is a freak, a talented and powerful 5-foot-11 (180cm) junior featherweight who had dominated his division so thoroughly that some people had him on their Top 10 pound-for-pound lists.
And the Panamanian was coming off a near-shutout victory over then-unbeaten Daud Yordan in April after making his long-awaited move up to 126 pounds, at which he confidently planned to challenge the likes of Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
In the meantime, Caballero and his handlers agreed to face Jason Litzau at 130 pounds in a transitional fight because the capable Minnesotan probably wasn’t talented enough to pose a serious threat to Caballero at any weight, or so they thought.
In the fight, on the Juan Manuel Marquez-Michael Katsidis card on Nov. 27 in Las Vegas, Caballero seemed to be sluggish, off his game – even disinterested at times – while Litzau clearly was inspired.
The underdog, gaining more and more confidence as the fight progressed, boxed his suddenly vulnerable foe on at least even terms and outworked him in most rounds as the crowd and the TV audience watched in amazement.
The result was in doubt at the final bell, as Caballero had his moments late in the fight, but no one was shocked when the announcement was made: Litzau by split decision.
Litzau’s victory was the runaway winner for the 2010 Ring Fan Polls Upset of the Year award.
Caballero claimed afterward that the weight gave him problems. First, he had trouble making 130 pounds, having to lose 1½ pounds in about an hour after initially failing to make the limit.
And, second, once he did get down to 130, he said his speed and ability to move were hindered at the unfamiliar weight. He told boxingscene.com that he weighed 145 pounds on the night of the fight, seven more than he normally weighs.
Caballero wants a rematch with Litzau but also said he might go back down to 122 pounds. We’ll see how he rebounds from this surprising setback.
Meanwhile, Litzau, who was stopped by Robert Guerrero in his only title shot, has now beaten two big-name opponents in a row – Rocky Juarez and Caballero – and has won five straight overall. As a result, THE RING has Litzau rated No. 10 at junior lightweight and he is in line for some important fights in that division.
That’s what such an upset can do for a fighter.