Great villains make for great stories in books, in movies and in boxing.
Where would Rocky have been without Apollo Creed? John McClane needed Hans Gruber. Tom Clancy made a living for years writing enormously successful books with Russian villains.
Boxing promoters love the good vs. evil angle. In a less enlightened age, Jack Johnson was cast as evil personified simply because of the color of his skin. Joe Louis vs. Max Schmelling was huge because it became a proxy for a fight against Nazi Germany.
It can be more complicated, though, in boxing. Ali vs. Frazier was a battle where large parts of the population fervently chose sides based on who they believed was the "bad guy." Conservative America hated the now-beloved Ali for his stance against the Vietnam War and for his conversion to Islam. On the other side, fans viewed Joe Frazier as a sell-out.
Who the villain in the fight was depended on your view of what was happening in the world.
All of the boxers on this list have fans. Passionate fans who will be furious that their fighter ended up on a list of villains. Having fans, though, doesn't mean you can't play the villain.
David Haye has all of the qualities of a great villain but one. He's brash, he's arrogant, he takes the hyperbole too far—all great setups for a villain. The long delay before entering the arena against Klitshcko could be cast as the perfect mind game played by a villainous opponent.
Despite all of this, Haye only ends up barely making the list because he lacks the one key ingredient for a true villain—genuine competition for his opponent. His lack of fight in the Klitschko bout takes him down several notches on the villainy scale.
It's akin to James Bond battling Jersey Shore's Snooki in the next movie. It's going to lack some drama when the villain is so easy to beat.
At the end of the day, a great villain needs to at least threaten to win. David Haye fails on this count.
Once upon a time, Panama Lewis was a hot young trainer poised to become one of the top trainers in the sport. He guided fighters like Aaron Pryor to world championships. Today, though, he is a disgraced ex-trainer still trying to cling to the edges of the sport.
His downfall was simple and deserved. In 1983, his fighter, Luis Resto was in a match with an undefeated prospect named Billy Collins Jr. If you try, you can find some old footage of this fight but suffice it to say that, by the end of the fight, Collins looked worse than Margarito did after the Pacquiao fight.
That's boxing—sometimes it is a brutal sport and if that were the end of the story, Panama Lewis might be training Pacquiao or Mayweather today.
Unfortunately for Lewis, the beating was investigated and it was determined that Resto went into the ring with gloves that had been tampered with. Much of the padding had been removed, making this a match of a boxer versus a bare-knuckled fighter.
To this day, Lewis denies that he was responsible for the padding being removed. The New York State Athletic Commission pulled his training license after the incident and he is no longer an official trainer in the US. Lewis was later convicted on a variety of charges related to this incident.
That doesn't keep Lewis from hanging around the gyms and being an unofficial adviser to boxers. Every once and a while, you'll see his name associated with some young fighter.
Tampering with the sport, and risking lives in the process, would land Lewis at the top spot if he were more actively involved today.
Like Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies, Ricardo Mayorga embraces the roll of the villain. The hatred he engenders from so many boxing fans seems to fuel his desire to fight. He makes no effort to be the good guy, seemingly comfortable to be the "black hat" in every promotion.
At 37, the Nicaraguan fighter has been doing this for a long time but he still finds original ways to offend as many people as possible. In some ways, he's hilarious, but that's only true if you see his behavior as an act.
Fernando Vargas has never been Mr. Lovable himself so you have to work hard to be that bad guy in that match up but Mayorga was up to the challenge, calling Vargas both a "fat girl" and a "pig."
Mayorga may not be quite as active in the ring as he used to be but he's still going strong on Twitter. If you speak Spanish, he's worth following simply for the outrageous statements he still continues to make every once in a while.
Mayorga has been mentioned as a potential future opponent for Canelo Alvarez. If that fight should happen, watch for the fireworks between a devoted Mexican populace and Mayorga with his sure to be offensive pre-fight comments.
Jose Sulaiman is the poster child for most boxing fans' continuous frustration with the sanctioning bodies. The manipulation of the rankings, which rarely seem to have any tie to reality, is a product of a business model set up by these organizations.
Like the petty dictator of a third world country, Sulaiman is the president-for-life of the WBC. Every once in a while, Sulaiman makes noises about resigning but don't ever bet on seeing it really happen. These flirtations seem to be more about having everyone in the organization beg him to say than about any serious intent to leave.
What makes Sulaiman the perfect villain is both his love of the limelight and the "I can do anything I want" attitude he projects. He rules the WBC with an iron fist and if he wants to make a ham sandwich the No. 7 heavyweight contender, he will do so.
The other boxing councils are probably just as bad but the apparent glee Sulaiman displays as he plays with the integrity of the sport is unmatched.
Boxing needs a face for the behind-the-scenes malarkey that is constant in the sport and Jose Sulaiman is that face for many boxing fans.
Floyd Mayweather knows the value of a good villain in boxing. His legendary skills in the ring are only matched by his ability to find controversy. It is easy to believe that much of what Mayweather says and does is geared towards selling tickets and pay-per-view buys and doesn't represent who he really "is," but we will never know.
While his ongoing legal issues make many uncomfortable with his character, it is the words he chooses to speak that vault him into contention for the P4P villain championship.
His racist and homophobic rant last September caused a temporary sensation that will forever be a part of his legacy. It's difficult to watch that display and not associate the words vile, disgusting and moronic with the great fighter.
It's also difficult not to laugh at someone who says, "He can't speak no English" with a straight face. It makes you wonder if he is either a genius being ironic (5 percent chance) or an idiot who doesn't realize just how stupid that sentence makes him look (95 percent chance).
He's an undeniable talent. He's rich beyond most men's dreams. He's also the perfect villain. Only he knows if that is by choice or by nature.
It's tough to beat Floyd Mayweather. While he's never faced him in the ring, Antonio Margarito has managed to beat Mayweather when it comes to villainy.
Margarito did it the old fashioned way—he cheated. Not only did he cheat, he did it in a way that put another man's livelihood and health at risk., When Margarito chose to allow his hands to be illegally wrapped, he made a conscious decision not only to ignore the rules of his profession but to put another man in danger.
We don't know how many times this happened with Margarito. While he was caught in the act later, it is natural to wonder if his win over Cotto was the result of his blatant disregard for the rules.
It takes a special kind of narcissism to value your career over the health and life of another competitor and Antonio Margarito displayed that lack of a value system when he chose to cheat. As long as he continues to fight, Margarito will be the top villain in the sport.