Ranking the Most Overhyped Fighters in Boxing Today
Hype comes with the territory.
With six months or longer between fights for the biggest names in the sport, there is a lot of time—too much really—to talk and promote. With football there's one week in between games, less in basketball and often no off days in baseball, so the dynamics of how the sport is promoted is very different.
The NFL is at a point where it can just turn on the cameras and instantly have a gigantic audience. In boxing, promoters have to sell the fight—especially a pay-per-view—and hype is their best sales pitch.
Selling a fight is different than selling a game. In a fight there needs to be genuine animosity to build up the tension and drama for a match. The ability to sell that aspect is partly what has made Floyd Mayweather Jr. such a great money-making machine.
Hardcore boxing fans will tune in just to see a good match, but the hype attempts to bring in the casual audience that will pass up a fight unless something catches their eyes and ears.
Hype doesn't always work, as there's only so many times you can hear a boxer guarantee a knockout before it becomes white noise. There's a thin line between promoting a fight and overhyping it or the fighters involved. The backlash for the latter is often swift and harsh.
One fighter whom you won't see on this list—he just missed—is the one in the photo above. Kell Brook is overrated in my view, but he doesn't quite fit all of the qualifications for this list.
Brook is a talented fighter, but his list of opponents has been rather soft up until his upcoming fight with 147-pound champion Shawn Porter. Despite his inflated record, he falls under the category of overrated more than overhyped if I can draw a line between the two.
What I mean is that in America—yes, I'm looking at it from that point of view because that's where I am—no one outside of the hardcore fans knows who he is. If a fighter is unknown, how can he be overhyped?
Can't have one without the other.
The following fighters all share one thing in common: Their status doesn't match their accomplishments, which is the very definition of being overhyped and/or overrated.
On with the slideshow!
4. Tyson Fury
Record: 22-0 (16 KOs)
Why He's Overhyped: Big mouth with no big results. I actually think he would fare well against many top heavyweights—except Wladimir Klitschko—but to date Tyson Fury's list of opponents is rather average.
Talking the talk doesn't bother me, but if you're going to talk big, your actions better be big as well, or people will start to dismiss you.
His reason for doing so is a different debate, but he lost me when he backed out of the fight against Alexander Ustinov—scheduled for July 26—at the last second.
Things happen, but if you're going to crush David Haye and Dereck Chisora for backing out of fights due to injury, you can't pull the same crap and expect not to be called a hypocrite.
As if not living up to his word wasn't bad enough, Fury has also not backed up his talk in the ring. His last four opponents had a combined 21 losses at the time Fury fought them, and one of those opponents—the light-hitting Steve Cunningham—put him on the mat in the second round of their fight.
You can't be considered or anoint yourself as one of the best in the division while fighting mostly cupcakes.
Talking a big game is just a part of boxing. It's promotion, but if you're going to bark, you better be willing to bite. Fury too often comes off as lacking the latter.
3. Adrien Broner
Record: 28-1 (22 KOs)
Why He's Overhyped: Adrien Broner shouldn't be on this list. He's easily the most naturally and physically talented fighter here, but that ability has been mostly wasted.
I know, he has three world titles and is only 24, but can you really argue that he's gotten the most out of his ability?
There's no shame in getting hurt by Marcos Maidana when he lands clean power shots, but a guy who attempts to imitate Floyd Mayweather Jr. should be doing a better job of making his opponent miss.
Everything about him just screams inflated ego and extreme cockiness. Boxers should be confident, but he lets that arrogance bleed over into the ring, and it seems to negatively impact his preparation and effort. His attitude doesn't offend me, but it seems to impact his performance in the ring.
Mayweather has some of those same characteristics but works out and prepares like a champion instead of just talking like one. Broner seems to want all of the spoils of being champion without earning it. Maybe that's age and he'll eventually mature, but I'm skeptical.
His list of opponents hasn't been as pathetic as some of the other guys on this list, but other than beating an over-the-hill Paulie Malignaggi, which win really impressed you? I can't find one, and even in that fight Broner clearly underperformed, allowing it to be closer than it should have been.
In most instances I hate comparisons between athletes. No, that 18-year-old college basketball player is not the next Michael Jordan. Most of the time those comparisons are given out by lazy media members, but Broner sought out the title of the next Mayweather on his own.
If Broner toned down his ego and attitude and hadn't appointed himself as the next Mayweather, he wouldn't be on this list. Making that claim and then falling far short is going to draw criticism and cause people to call him overhyped or overrated.
The sad thing is if Broner puts in the work that Mayweather does and stops calling himself his successor, he has the talent to become a top-10 pound-for-pound fighter and wouldn't be thought of as a bust.
Broner has an excellent skill set but tries to imitate Mayweather with the shoulder roll and too often doesn't let his hands go. If he developed his own style and was more aggressive in the ring, he'd have more success and attract more fans.
The question will be if he ever matures enough to realize that. Maybe someone in his entourage who isn't a yes man can break through to him.
It's a shame; he's immensely talented and could be very entertaining if he chose to be.
2. Zou Shiming
Record: 5-0 (1 KO)
Why He's Overhyped: What has he accomplished in the pros to warrant a title shot? Zou Shiming was a great Olympic boxer, but his success at the amateur level should have no relevance in the discussion of whether or not he deserves a championship fight like Bob Arum has discussed.
I get that Top Rank is trying to fast track him because of his age and amateur experience, but he hasn't earned a title shot in the ring. His first three fights were against boxers who had nine total wins combined. Shiming's next two opponents after that were ranked 199 and 113 by BoxRec.com—complete cupcake opponents.
If Top Rank wants to fast track him, then put him in the ring with better opponents and let's find out the height of his ceiling.
Shiming's style is fan-friendly, which plays into his favor, but he has massive holes in his game that will likely be exploited by tougher competition. He's too busy with unnecessary movement that will hurt his stamina in 12-round fights, and he has displayed almost zero power, but my biggest concern for him is his defense.
Shiming attacks aggressively with combinations, which is fun to watch, but he doesn't leave his other hand up and comes at his opponent squarely with a hole in his guard. If he continues to do that, he's going to leave himself wide open for counter hooks and uppercuts.
Call it a gut feeling, but I don't trust his chin, which will be an issue if his defense doesn't improve.
Why are his fights against cupcakes on a premium channel I pay for? Why is a potential title fight being discussed for Shiming with how little he's accomplished as a professional?
Arum is hyping him up, but the Chinese fighter hasn't deserved it at this point.
1. Deontay Wilder
Record: 31-0 (31 KOs)
Why He's Overhyped: We could all be undefeated with a 100 percent knockout rate if we fought cab drivers and construction workers every match. I wonder if Deontay Wilder has to pay dues or fines to the labor unions of his opponents.
Of all the fighters on this list, the resume of Wilder in terms of the opponents he's fought is definitely the biggest joke. Zou Shiming hasn't fought anyone of note either, but at least we're talking about five career fights with him and not 31 like Wilder.
I won't even count Wilder's last fight against Malik Scott as a "win" because it sure looked like Scott went down too easily and made no effort to continue after getting hit twice with one of the shots deflected by his glove.
That "fight" was just embarrassing. Either Scott has a softer chin than Glass Joe from the game Punch-Out, or that fight wasn't on the level.
Wilder's last four opponents before Scott had 29 losses combined. He doesn't have to face murderers' row, but a champion-level boxer should at least do better than fighting Piston Honda, Soda Popinski and Bald Bull; that's two Punch-Out references in one article for the win!
I know I could answer all my own questions with the answer of "that's just the disgusting sanctioning bodies for you," but how has Wilder earned the title shot he's about to get against Bermane Stiverne? Short answer is he hasn't, and I'll continue to view him as overhyped and overrated until he beats someone with a pulse.
Wilder has great talent and tremendous power; it's just a shame that he and his management team have decided to waste his ability against dock workers and tomato cans.