Try to imagine the New York Yankees without the Red Sox as a rival.
Or Duke without North Carolina.
Where would we be without the villains and bad guys? The guys and teams we love to hate and root against?
They make sports more entertaining. They make contests more engaging.
No sport has more fodder than boxing. No sport has more colorful characters.
I've named just a few of the guys that we (mostly) love to root against. Yes, they have their fans. But for the most part, people just want to see these guys get knocked out.
Before I get started, there needs to be some classification.
A "clown" is a guy who, well, just can't seem to get his act straight. He's got talent, but is his own worst enemy.
A "punk" is a bully, and generally a not very talented bully. The guy you tune-in just to see him get his ass whooped.
An "a--hole" is the last category. The prima donna and the diva. The talented fighter, even a world champion, who acts likes he's the best and lets everyone know it.
I like a lot of these fighters; I'd tune in to watch many of them fight. They make for great entertainment. But I wouldn't want to have a beer with any of them.
Paul Malignaggi: Clown
Perhaps the "Clown Prince of Boxing."
In Malignaggi-Diaz I, Paulie's trunks were actually falling down to his ankles for everyone to see his underwear. The ref had to pull up his pants repeatedly! Anytime a ref pulls up your pants in any sport, you're automatically a clown.
I like Malignaggi. His last two fights have been great, but I'd kill myself if I had to share an elevator with the guy. To hear his diatribe against Golden Boy after Malignaggi-Diaz I was hilarious. I think he's one of the long lost members of the Jerky Boys with that thick Brooklyn accent.
This guy is like Rodney Dangerfield: He gets no respect. He needs to start acting like a champion and not a tenth grader from Flatbush.
Vic Darchinyan: A--hole
Don't get me wrong, "The Raging Bull" is one of my favorite fighters. He's tough, relentless, and gets in the ring to hurt people.
But he is an a--hole to the core. Anytime after a knockout, the look of disdain on his face as he smugly looks at his fallen opponent is priceless. He gives his opponents absolutely no respect before, during, or after the fight.
Fernando Vargas: Punk
I used to live in Ojai, California, just up the highway from Oxnard (Vargas's home ground). Even the people in Oxnard can't stand Vargas.
His home gym, La Colonia, is notorious for turning out punks and jerks. He talks smack, walks around in a velvet jump suit zippered down to his belly button, gold chains dangling at his neck. I watched him fight De La Hoya simply because I wanted to see Vargas get his ass kicked (Oscar didn't disappoint).
Vargas has had his day, but in his prime, he was an all-time punk.
Zab Judah: Punk
Judah's reputation as a punk was cemented at the last Pacquiao-Cotto fight, walking around the MGM with sunglasses and a signature velvet jump suit (is there a pattern here?), looking like a pompous jerk. I heard he was intoxicated every night and trying to start fights with anyone and everyone around him.
Judah looks like he should be a hit man for Idi Amin. He's a mid-level fighter without knockout power.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr: A--hole
Where do I start?
His nickname of "Money?"
That he likes to sit in front of a camera throwing hundred dollar bills on the ground and snickering at how much money he has (and how much money you don't)?
That he demands ridiculous drug tests that nobody in history has ever demanded?
Or that he whines about not getting enough credit at every opportunity?
His all-time classiest move? When he called out the HBO commentators for being "racist" because they didn't mention him enough. Skills of a champion, mind of a spoiled six year old.
The Mayweather Brothers: Punks
Floyd Sr. and Roger Mayweather. Two fighters who never reached the pinnacle of the sport. From the slurring of their respective speeches, I'm amazed that Floyd Jr. is the defensive fighter that he is. It sounds like neither one of them ever stopped a punch. They talk trash (when they're talking to each other) and disrespect every fighter that Floyd Jr. has faced. In their day, neither one of them was that good.
Ricardo Mayorga: Punk
Trying to follow Ricardo Mayorga's career is like to trying to solve a Rubik's cube. There are so many retirements, stoppages, un-retirements, and arrests that it's dizzying.
Once you piece it together, this guy makes the "Punk Hall of Fame." We could start when Oscar De La Hoya didn't want to fight him so he called out Oscar's wife! Or when he continually stuck his chin out at Vernon Forrest (R.I.P). Even Don King had to admonish him for that stunt. Apparently he's moved to MMA. At 36? Good luck.
I'm sure I've missed quite a few, please feel free to let me know who you think should be on the list.
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