Ranking the Most Overrated Fighters in Boxing Today
This sort of ranking is tough to do, because fighters who are perceived as being overrated also tend to receive unfair criticism from those fans who aren't buying in.
Claiming that Deontay Wilder's KO streak doesn't mean as much as a lot of fans are making it out to mean is one thing. Dismissing Wilder as a pure hype job requires a lot of cynicism and a lack of generosity of spirit.
Still, on balance, the fighters on this list all benefit from an inflated public opinion, even if they also receive some unfair critiques as well.
6. Saul Alvarez
One almost hesitates to call Saul Alvarez overrated at this point. He does have a legitimate claim to being in the pound-for-pound top 10. Few fighters have beaten more top-rated opponents from their weight class in recent years.
But Erislandy Lara arguably did enough to deserve to win over Canelo, when they fought in July 2014. And Alvarez's victory over Austin Trout was far closer than some of the judges saw it. Against Floyd Mayweather, he arguably didn't win a round.
So Alvarez's superstar status in the sport is based on more than his resume. His charisma leads to his true achievements being overstated at times. He's about to fight for the lineal middleweight championship in November against Miguel Cotto without ever having fought at middleweight.
Alvarez's aura would seem to have helped him with the judges at times. In each of the three biggest fights of his career, against Mayweather, Lara and Trout, he's received one completely cartoonish scorecard in his favor.
Against Trout in April 2013, Stanley Christodoulou scored an absurd 118-109 for Alvarez. Against Lara, Levi Martinez gave him a stunning nine rounds. When he was defeated by Mayweather in September 2013, C.J. Ross obscenely scored the fight a draw.
5. Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao has been one of the great boxing stars of his generation. His climb through the weight classes was an amazing accomplishment. And even today, he still has a claim to top-10 pound-for-pound status based on his resume.
But his long-awaited showdown with Floyd Mayweather earlier this year demonstrated that fans who have wanted to rate him alongside the all-time greats have been overstating his case.
His inability to cut off the ring at all against Mayweather exposed the limitations of his style. It was impossible to even know that Pacquiao had possibly injured his shoulder in that fight, because he couldn't get close to Mayweather consistently enough to let his hands go.
Pacquiao has been a rare and exciting talent. It would interesting to see him matched against any top 140-pound fighter. But he's not an all-time great at welterweight and at this point, he'd likely struggle against that division's top stars, like Kell Brook or Keith Thurman.
4. Miguel Cotto
Since I've already riled up the fans of two of the world's most popular fighters, I might as well keep the ball rolling by bringing up Miguel Cotto here, at No. 5.
Miguel Cotto's June 2014 TKO of Sergio Martinez to capture the lineal middleweight title was a thrilling, career comeback moment for the great Puerto Rican star. His four-round TKO of Daniel Geale this past June was an impressive defense.
But realistically, Cotto is being ranked now with the top fighters in a division where he's never even fought at the true weight limit of 160 pounds. All of his "middleweight" bouts have been contracted at catchweights.
When Cotto beat Martinez, he was beating a 39-year-old champ who had been through multiple surgeries in the past two years.
3. Vyacheslav Glazkov
Vyacheslav Glazkov's status as a top-10 heavyweight is legitimate, based upon his resume. But his resume is also less impressive under scrutiny than it is from a glance.
In my opinion, Vyacheslav got a gift when he received a draw against Malik Scott in February 2013 and again last March, when he won a decision over Steve Cunningham. There is a strong argument that Glazkov deserved to lose when he escaped journeyman Derric Rossy with a majority decision in August 2014.
Instead, he's remained unbeaten and ranked inside of the top 10. The biggest win of his career, over Tomasz Adamek in March 2014, was deserved. But Adamek also lost his very next fight to Artur Szpilka, so a win over him at this point probably isn't worth what it was back in 2010 or 2011.
2. Deontay Wilder
American boxing fans would love to embrace WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder as the next great American king in the heavyweight division. He's got exciting KO power, having stopped 34 of 35 opponents in his perfect career.
But he's made it a habit of feasting on lesser opposition. Aside from Bermane Stiverne, whom he beat for the WBC belt last January, he hasn't faced a single top-10 opponent. He hasn't faced any at all in the top five.
So simply having come into possession of an alphabet-soup belt doesn't necessarily make Wilder the true No. 1 rival to the real heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko.
Until he starts consistently fighting opponents from near the top of the division, his place in the heavyweight top five, let alone top two, will be unearned.
1. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
On HBO's Game of Thrones, the scheming Littlefinger once observed that "a gift of a great name" is "sometimes...all one needs."
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. also has the gift of a great chin, and when he was still willing to cut enough weight to compete against generally smaller men, he was able to win a large number of fights, often in an exciting fashion.
But Chavez was guided along carefully for years and still needed outrageous gift decisions, such as the ones he received against junior middleweight Carlos Molina in 2005 and 2006, to remain undefeated. In his WBC middleweight title win, he was again treated generously by the judges, defeating the undersized Sebastian Zbik by majority decision in June 2011.
In September 2013, Chavez renegotiated the weight multiple times against Bryan Vera and still needed a gift decision against the journeyman middleweight.
Chavez was exposed and forced to quit in his corner by light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara earlier this year. Yet as the son of one of the sport's great legends, his name remains powerful enough to earn him another big payday in the future.