5 Fighters Boxing Fans Love to Hate
Hate comes with the territory.
The unshakable confidence, swagger and self-worth needed to make it at the highest levels of boxing can also be characteristics that turn people off.
The confidence a boxer exudes often comes off as arrogance or cockiness to the average person. That public persona is often found annoying but is necessary in their world.
Think of it like the best cornerbacks in the NFL; they need that confidence to survive. They're often left on an island with a receiver and asked to excel in a nearly impossible task. No one notices them if they do their job well for the most part, but anytime a receiver scores or is wide-open on a deep pass, they're instantly vilified.
Boxers, like cornerbacks, have to possess great confidence and a short-term memory. They're going to get beat at times. They're going to get knocked down at times. If they dwell on it and let it shake their confidence, they're done.
Once doubt creeps into the picture, their performance will decline. They have to accept they will get beat or caught with a big punch from time to time and use it as motivation to get better, but they can never admit those failures make them a lesser player or boxer.
A boxer or corner who doubts himself will make more mistakes when not playing with the same confidence and aggressiveness that made him successful. Overthinking or being in your own head is their biggest enemy.
In our world we can't act like that or we likely won't have many friends or people who want to hang out with us. Their world is different, and people often hate what they don't understand.
Obviously another factor is the envy people feel towards money or fame. I don't think most people begrudge a fighter who makes a lot of money because they obviously have to work hard and risk a lot to get to the top level of their sport.
We just don't like it when people flaunt it, which several people on this list do quite often.
One guy who barely missed the list is Wladimir Klitschko.
The long-time heavyweight champion didn't make this list of the most-hated fighters, but I'm aware he would be on the personal list for many fans.
I think most of the animosity towards the younger Klitschko brother is due to his long reign atop the heavyweight division. People love to hate the Yankees, Lakers and Duke because they always win, and we like to see new faces step into the mix; the same applies to Klitschko.
It also doesn't help him that he's from Ukraine during a period of boxing when American fans are starved for one of their own to be a serious heavyweight champion.
Two notes before we get started with the list: Not all of these guys are boxers I personally hate, and they're not ranked in order.
Now to the list; let the argument begin!
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Why do boxing fans hate Floyd "Money" Mayweather? Let me count the ways.
His ego, his cockiness, the way he throws around his money, his treatment of women and his record in the ring are all factors. Unfairly or not so is how he has been perceived as ducking a potential matchup with fellow mega-star Manny Pacquiao.
If you're like me you watch every episode of All-Access or 24/7 before a major fight. If that fight includes the pound-for-pound king Mayweather, then we're often treated to a 30-minute look at how insanely rich boxing has made him.
He uses stacks of money—that would represent 10 years or more of our earnings—as a cell phone. He buys jewelry and fancy cars as often as we buy milk. He seems to want to constantly remind the viewer that he has not one, but two mansions.
I don't think many fans resent the fact he makes a ton of money—or at least I don't—we just don't want our faces rubbed in it.
His well-documented treatment of women is also off-putting.
I was raised with the belief that the way you treat people or things you don't have to treat well defines your character as a man. Basically your size and strength advantage over women, children and animals means you don't have to treat them as well as you would someone who can hurt you physically; but you should.
I'm not talking about hunting and I'm not a bleeding-heart liberal, but if you hit a woman, child, dog or cat then I think less of you as a person.
People can change and should be given a second chance and forgiveness if they earn it, but it still happened.
Another big factor is that despite his perfect record in the ring, he often gets labeled as a fighter who doesn't take on the top competition available. Of course, that mostly references a fight against Manny Pacquiao that has yet to happen.
The charge Mayweather doesn't take on top opponents has been exaggerated a little.
Canelo Alvarez, Ricky Hatton and Diego Corrales all had zero losses on their record when they fought Mayweather. Marcos Maidana is a feared puncher Mayweather is about to take on for a second time. Zab Judah and Robert Guerrero were both former champions who were still in their primes and one of the top fighters in their weight class when Mayweather fought them.
He's also fought Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosely and Juan Manuel Marquez who are either in the Hall of Fame or will be shortly after they retire.
Where there is room for criticism is when Mayweather has decided to face those opponents.
Alvarez at age 23 wasn't ready for someone of Mayweather's caliber, and both Mosely and De La Hoya were past their primes.
Then of course there is the situation with Pacquiao.
Mayweather gets most of the blame for the fight never happening, but while he deserves the majority of it, fingers can also be pointed at Pacquiao, Bob Arum and Golden Boy Promotions for getting in the way of the fight of the decade.
With Pacquiao staying loyal to Top Rank Promotions, I would be shocked if this fight ever happened. Without the mega-fight the legacy of both fighters will be stained, but the bigger blemish will belong to Mayweather.
Wasted talent and opportunity.
Adrien Broner comes off as if he believes he's already reached the peak of his nearly limitless potential but he's not even close. Broner says he wants to take over the throne of Floyd Mayweather once he retires, but yet he only embraces half of what has made Mayweather both one of the greatest fighters and money-draws of this generation: money and bravado.
Broner eagerly embraces the flashy lifestyle and swagger Mayweather exudes but doesn't seem to be willing to do the work necessary that has given Mayweather the right to be that cocky.
I'm addicted lol pic.twitter.com/HvnIXM2w— Adrien Broner (@AdrienBroner) July 15, 2012
Posting videos where he's "pooping money" (NSFW) also doesn't help.
Broner wants to taste the fruit before he's climbed to the mountaintop. He comes off as an entitled clown more than a feared boxer.
I don't doubt his talent—his upside is near limitless like I said previously—but his natural talent is too often the only thing he brings to the ring. His attitude, effort, heart and preparation too often seem like they are afterthoughts to the circus around him.
No better example of this than his fight last December against Marcos Maidana.
With his belt on the line against a dangerous opponent, Broner decided humping Maidana when his back was turned was a good idea. Seriously, Broner?
Later in the fight he did his best impression of a soccer player by flopping and acting like he was shot after a punch below the belt.
Actions like those are why many boxing fans were near giddy to see him get knocked down twice in his loss to Maidana.
The good news for Broner is he's still very young and has time to mature in an attempt to win fans back. It won't be easy, but it can be done.
For one, stop having your dad brush your hair. It isn't cute, it isn't funny and it looks stupid.
Second, if he would put half the time he spends "living the lifestyle" into his training, he could become one of the top-five pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Right now—as of July 10, 2014—he's not even ranked inside the top-five of his own division—140 pounds—by either ESPN or Ring Magazine.
Lastly, try to forge your own path instead of copying the road traveled by someone else.
Quit whining and making excuses. That's where the hate comes from for many boxing fans including myself.
That opinion of Amir Khan was magnified with how he handled the pursuit of a potential fight against PPV king Floyd Mayweather and how he reacted after not landing said mega-fight.
Very disrespected by his team. Wasted my time— Amir Khan (@AmirKingKhan) February 21, 2014
Can I apologies to the thousands of people who are let down. You me and everyone wanted the Mayweather fight. He's running scared.— Amir Khan (@AmirKingKhan) February 21, 2014
We can all understand him being disappointed, but he acted like an entitled brat who didn't get ice cream after dinner. Khan is an accomplished fighter who deserved to be in the competition for landing a fight with Mayweather, but he's not Manny Pacquiao; not choosing him wasn't insulting to the boxing public.
From Dan Rafael of ESPN, Khan went on an embarrassing rant on his Facebook page.
Why would Mayweather even consider putting Maidana in the mix? Slow hands, slow feet. Only thing he brings to the table is power. I agree, he beat Broner. We've seen how Mayweather deals with power i.e. Canelo [Alvarez]. Let Broner have his rematch on the undercard of Khan-Mayweather. I bring speed, explosiveness, power and footwork to the table. Look back at quick opponents Mayweather has fought in the past. [Zab] Judah and Oscar De La Hoya both had speed and were close fights. Floyd did say fans want to see him knocking someone out because his fights are boring. So no wonder he's now wanting to fight Maidana.
The delusion is just dripping from that quote.
He's the ninth-ranked welterweight by Ring Magazine—I wish Danny Garcia would pick a top-10 opponent—and had lost two of his last four fights before trying to land the match with Mayweather, with one of his two wins coming against an opponent who had six losses. Khan was also knocked down in the fourth round of that closer-than-expected fight against Julio Diaz.
How did that recent resume make Khan an obvious choice for a Mayweather fight on PPV?
The fight could have performed well financially if it was fought in London, but Khan certainly didn't deserve the fight on merit more than Marcos Maidana who had just dominated the previously undefeated Adrien Broner for a welterweight title.
Maidana's performance against Broner is what won him the fight against Mayweather. Had Khan not backed out of the fight against welterweight title-holder Devon Alexander and won, his chances of landing the fight against Mayweather would have been much higher.
Khan hadn't, and still hasn't, earned the fight on merit; his ego is massively inflated even by boxing standards.
Bernard "The Alien" Hopkins is an all-time great fighter, and what he has done at his age is beyond impressive, but his style of fighting also puts many boxing fans to sleep.
Not Guillermo Rigondeaux-level boring, but boring nonetheless.
I respect and enjoy watching great, pure boxers like Floyd Mayweather, but what Hopkins does in the ring doesn't feel like boxing at times.
One, two, clinch. One, two, clinch. Repeat for 12 rounds.
He's also one of the dirtiest players in the game which doesn't help his appeal as an already boring boxer. He reminds of some basketball teams like the Detroit Pistons of the 1980s or any Utah Jazz team under Jerry Sloan; they seemed to know the refs wouldn't call everything so they decide to foul constantly knowing it would give them a slight advantage.
Hopkins hits while holding, hits to the back of the head, hits low, pushes off, steps on feet and does any other little thing to give him the edge even if it's small. If the ref doesn't see it or refuses to call it then I get why he continues to use that strategy, but it's frustrating to watch as a viewer.
That style has been successful for him, and I don't blame a fighter for embracing a style that has improved his longevity, but his style is the least TV-friendly of any great fighter today in the eyes of many boxing fans.
There is not a more unwatchable HOF boxer than Bernard Hopkins. His fights suck 100% of the time.— Matt Jackson (@MJ4Sports) October 27, 2013
While many including myself greatly respect his skill level and what he's accomplished, at some level boxing is also entertainment. No one is asking him to stand in the middle of the ring with his hands behind his back, but open it up a little bit. His fights are on premium channels boxing fans have to pay extra for; they want to be entertained.
As skilled as Hopkins is, he's rarely entertaining.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
The other four fighters listed were easy to pick; this last spot was tough.
Many fighters including Wladimir Klitschko, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Richar Abril and Carlos Molina—the 154-pound Molina—were considered for this spot but there can only be one "winner."
The son of the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez is the pick.
Why people dislike Chavez Jr. comes from many of the same reasons listed for Adrien Broner. Basically he comes off as entitled and arrogant without the accomplishments to back them up.
That part of his character was broadcast to the world on HBO's 24/7 before his big fight a couple years ago against Sergio Martinez. On those shows Chavez Jr. was often seen not waking up until the late afternoon and deciding to do his training for the day inside the living room of the house they were staying at during training camp.
From Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub TV via Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook, Chavez Jr.'s former trainer Freddie Roach confirms the lack of effort and dedication before the Martinez fight and also spills on how the son of the legend just flat-out didn't show up for a later training camp.
I think if he'd trained for the (Sergio) Martinez fight, he'd still be champion. But the thing is, he didn't want to train for that fight. I don't know what got in his head, you know? It was, like, from one extreme to another. Like, from the best guy to the worst guy. It was just so hard. And I would have walked out of that camp long before the fight if it wasn't for his dad. I like his dad and his dad begged me to say and help his kid. I said I can only help the kid if he comes to the gym.
Like Broner, Chavez Jr. has tremendous physical potential and upside but seems unwilling to put in the work necessary to reach the elite level. Missing weight and failing multiple drug tests certainly have not helped his image either.
Being labeled as a guy who can't make weight and gets caught with drugs in his system is not favorable, but perhaps even worse is being labeled as a guy who has been protected or has avoided unfavorable matchups.
Look at his list of opponents on boxrec.com. It's pitiful.
At a time when he should have been challenging himself and pushing to become one of the elite fighters in his weight class, he fought glorified taxi drivers and construction workers.
Even with over 30 fights under his belt, he fought guys like Matt Vanda, Billy Lyell and Peter Manfredo Jr. who all had at least five losses on their record; those fights had no business even being scheduled.
Let's see, Chavez Jr. is entitled, doesn't work hard, fails drug tests, doesn't make weight and ducks tough opponents; hard to root for the guy.