Dan Rafael, ESPN.com's boxing writer, is one of the most prominent members of the boxing press by virtue of the enormous reach of ESPN. He's colorful, opinionated, and ultimately controversial.
While Rafael doesn't actively court argument, he doesn't back away from it either. When you are putting out thousands of words per week to the boxing public, unanimous praise is likely not in the cards.
European boxing fans, especially fans from the UK, are especially likely to have issues with Rafael as evidenced by his weekly boxing chats. These fans believe that Rafael exhibits an unwillingness to treat UK fighters fairly—especially with respect to David Haye.
Rafael has had a well-publicized mini-feud with the British heavyweight. He has been outspoken in calling Haye a "ducker" for refusing to fight either of the Klitschkos. Even now that a bout with Wlad has been set, Rafael has continued to question whether Haye will actually show up at the fight.
Haye is not the first boxer to have issues with Rafael. Shannon Briggs tweeted a series of accusations against Rafael earlier this year that became increasingly personal over time. In an April chat on ESPN.com, Rafael responded to a question by saying that he wished that the Briggs-Kliltschko fight had been 15 rounds rather than 12.
Given the beating that Briggs took, the implication was that Rafael wanted to see him suffer more. Interestingly, the archive of that chat has been edited, removing Rafael's statement.
Recently, rumors have floated through the boxing world that Rafael is potentially moving to HBO in some matchmaker-like role. Rafael's refusal to firmly confirm or deny these rumors has led to further arguments about his objectivity, or the perception of his objectivity.
One thing is for sure, as long as he remains the boxing writer for ESPN, Rafael will continue to anger some with what he has to say.