Poland's Krzysztof Glowacki was an afterthought leading up to the fight.
Although unbeaten, he was also an unknown mandatory challenger and supposedly going to be the answer to a trivia question: Whom did cruiserweight titleholder Marco Huck beat to retain the title for the 15th consecutive time and break the division record for most defenses?
But a funny thing happened on the way to making history on Aug. 14 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Germany's Huck (38-3-1, 26 KOs) got upset as Glowacki (25-0, 16 KOs) stopped him in shocking fashion in the 11th round to win the title and end a legitimate fight-of-the-year candidate with a knockout-of-the-year candidate as the largely Polish crowd of 5,843 went absolutely wild.
The fight, which was the co-feature of a Spike-televised Premier Boxing Champions card headlined by the heavyweights Steve Cunningham and Antonio Tarver, was terrific from start to violent finish. But no round was more hard-hitting and exciting than the sixth, the 2015 ESPN.com round of the year.
Huck got off to a shaky start to the fight, but by the sixth round he had established control, which he further exerted when, 30 seconds into the round, he nailed Glowacki with an overhand left to the temple that knocked Glowacki flat on his back in the center of the ring. It was first time he had ever been down.
Glowacki barely beat referee David Field's count and then staggered backward into the ropes. Many referees would have stopped the fight as soon as Glowacki wobbled backward, but Fields showed great restraint, and when Glowacki responded to his commands, Fields let the fight go -- even though Glowacki looked shaky.
It was the right call by Fields because as soon as the fight resumed Glowacki caught the hard-charging Huck with two hard left hands to the head that rocked him. Huck also kept firing shots in a brutal exchange in which both men were hurt.
"Everyone around us, this entire crowd, is on its feet as they should be," exclaimed Spike broadcaster Scott Hanson.
Huck and Glowacki continued to pound away at each other in the center of the ring as the crowd cheered for the final 90 seconds of a tremendous round that ended with Huck landing a clean right hand to the head at the bell.
When the fight was over, Glowacki said he was still feeling the effects of the memorable sixth round.
"I still cannot hear well because of the knockdown," Glowacki said. "I didn't even realize I was counted [on the knockdown] and I didn't care what the scores were. He wanted to dominate me and bully me. I always have something inside of me against bullies."
2. Francisco Vargas-Takashi Miura, Nov. 21 at Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas (ninth)
Dropped earlier in the fight, Vargas was trailing on two scorecards and even on the third. He had nearly been stopped in the eighth round and had horrible cuts around his badly swollen and nearly closed right eye. He was in such rough shape that it looked as though the fight would be stopped after the eighth round. Vargas needed to do something dramatic and he did, authoring one of the greatest comebacks in recent boxing history by getting the knockout to win a junior lightweight world title. He stormed out of his corner and connected with a four-punch combination that knocked Miura down in the opening seconds of the round. Miura scrambled to his feet, but he was in desperate trouble. As Vargas continued a hellacious assault, Miura tried to fight back, and it was amazing that he stayed upright. But when Miura took a head-snapping right hand, referee Tony Weeks stopped it at 1:31. A great round, a sensational fight and an amazing comeback were all in the books as Vargas pumped his fists in unlikely victory.
3. Edwin Rodriguez-Michael Seals, Nov. 13 at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi (first)
This light heavyweight bout quickly erupted into a wildly entertaining drama featuring five total knockdowns, three in the fantastic first round. Rodriguez dropped Seals face-first with a left hand 30 seconds into the bout. Then he went looking for the knockout, but Seals unleashed a right that floored him out of nowhere. Rodriguez was in worse shape than Seals was when he got dropped. With 15 seconds to go they threw simultaneous rights, but Seals' landed flush on the chin, turning Rodriguez's body into jelly. His arms flew up in the air and he fell face-first in cartoonish fashion. He barely beat the count as the fabulous round ended.
4. Lucas Matthysse-Ruslan Provodnikov, April 18 at Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York (fourth)
From the moment the junior welterweight fight was made between Matthysse, half of the 2014 BWAA fight of the year, and Provodnikov, half of the 2013 FOY, expectations were for a classic. And they delivered, never more so than in the violent fourth round of an all-out slugfest. The round featured heavy back-and-forth exchanges with big shots to the head and body. Both fighters were rocked, including a left hook that hurt Matthysse and an uppercut that snapped Provodnikov's head back. The crowd rose to its feet and cheered wildly at the sustained action.
5. (tie) Daniel Jacobs-Peter Quillin, Dec. 5 at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y. (first)
Jacobs was defending his middleweight belt against pal Quillin in a fight also for Brooklyn bragging rights. Expected to be competitive, it instead ended after 85 pulsating seconds of warfare. The fireworks began immediately as Jacobs got through with a right hand that hurt Quillin, who staggered into the ropes. Jacobs let his hands fly and continued to catch Quillin, who was in trouble. Quillin tried to fight back but Jacobs overpowered him, eventually landing a brutal right hand on Quillin's temple that took away his equilibrium and sent him hopping around in wild fashion, as he couldn't control his legs. Quillin was wobbly and his eyes were glazed, forcing referee Harvey Dock to stop a brief but electrifying fight.
5. (tie) Anthony Joshua-Dillian Whyte, Dec. 12 at O2 Arena, London (second)
The unbeaten heavyweights met in a much-hyped fight that was exciting and tested both men, but never more than in the second round. Joshua, the 2012 British Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist who had once lost to Whyte in the amateurs, beat him pillar to post in the first round and had him all but out in the second round when Whyte suddenly came back. He rocked Joshua to his boots with a left hook and several more punches that sent him into the ropes in a round that featured a wild change of momentum.
More mayhem: Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland (second); Nonito Donaire-Cesar Juarez (eighth); James DeGale-Lucian Bute (12th); Daniel Jacobs-Sergio Mora (first); Jean Pascal-Yunieski Gonzalez (second); Sergey Kovalev-Jean Pascal (fifth); Amir Imam-Fidel Maldonado (third); Jorge Linares-Kevin Mitchell (10th).