Every combat sports fan has had to sit through disappointing boxing fights.
You could go as far as to say that disappointment is an integral part of the show. After all, there is always the possibility that a boxing match will only last a few minutes. You don’t really get that with other sports.
On top of that, combat sports are unique in that the actual event is often less important than the hype surrounding it.
Fans want mean, foul-mouthed fighters who spend months publicly going at each other and making threats that would otherwise lead to guilty pleas in court.
Boxing has a rich history of verbal abuse. Things can get personal fast. From Mike Tyson’s “I want to eat his children” to Conor McGregor’s “little f***ing peanut head”, you could write an entire A-to-Z encyclopaedia of boxing insults.
Sometimes, the stakes are so high that the fight simply can’t live up to the expectations.
With this in mind, we have chosen five of the most disappointing boxing fights in recent history.
Jake Paul vs Tyron Woodley (II)
Jake Paul is one of many social media personalities that have turned to boxing in recent years. The trend hasn’t sat well with boxing purists, but the industry has definitely reaped economic benefits from it.
However, Fury pulled out due to a chest infection and broken rib. Woodley stepped in, making the 18 December fight a rematch.
Despite losing the first fight, Woodley was confident in his chances. “All I’m saying is I’m going to knock his ass out December 18th, and they’re going to give me another $500,000 to do so.”
It was a rookie mistake that ended the fight. In the sixth round, Woodley dropped his left hand for a second, making himself vulnerable to Paul’s attack. “The Problem Child” would knock him out with a right hand to the head.
Woodley’s glaring error even led to some fans claiming that the fight was fixed.
It was definitely a sloppy and lacklustre affair, with both opponents clinching and throwing lazy punches at each other.
Viewers seemed to agree. The fight was a massive pay-per-view flop, with only 65,000 buys. Its economic failure alone makes it one of the most disappointing boxing fights ever.
Jake Paul vs Ben Askren
It should have never happened.
To start with, Ben Askren was an MMA fighter, not a boxer. Furthermore, he had been retired for more than a year and had recently had hip surgery. Even before his retirement, Askren was known as a grappler, not a striker.
Boxing was just not his thing.
That said, Askren believed in his chances. “Boxing, that seems kind of easy,” Askren said in an interview before the fight. “Like, I’m sure I could do that.”
After defeating former NBA player Nate Robinson in November 2020, Paul called out a few MMA fighters to step into the ring with him. Askren accepted the challenge, and a fight was scheduled for April 17, 2021.
It was a high-stakes fight – literally. Dana White and Snopp Dogg bet millions on it, and Paul trained several hours a day for months.
Paul’s reputation as a boxer was on the line. Fortunately for him, it was a first-round KO win, with Paul sending Askren to the canvas with a right-hand punch.
Proud of himself after the fight, Paul insisted on being a real boxer.
“I told y’all I was going to do it in the first round. I don’t know how many times I’ve got to prove myself this is for real.”
However, the first-round K.O. left fans wishing he had fought an actual boxer instead.
Logan Paul vs Floyd Mayweather
A celebrity-turned-boxer against one of the best of all time? On paper, it looked like a bloodbath more than an actual fight.
It turned out to be just boring.
In case some spice was needed, Logan’s brother Jake got involved. He heated things up before the fight, messing around with Mayweather’s hat during a press conference. As if the notoriously hot-headed Floyd Mayweather needed any riling-up.
But Mayweather obviously held back during the fight. He started out in a more defensive fashion than usual, dodging all of Paul’s shots. Frustrated, Paul went berserk and started throwing punches as if his life depended on it.
Suffice to say, Mayweather blocked them all.
Paul was more aggressive than Mayweather, throwing twice the punches. However, he only landed 12.9% of them, whereas Mayweather had a 40% accuracy in his strikes.
“Money” grew more aggressive as the fight went on, but the fight still went the full eight rounds. It was a victory of sorts for Paul, but not for the fans.
Tim Bradley vs Devon Alexander
As we’ve seen with Paul vs Askren, boxing fights can soon turn into quick blow-outs. Boxing fans are sometimes left wondering why they even follow the sport at all. All that hype for just a few punches?
Bradley vs Alexander was the exact opposite of that. Initially billed as a super-fight between two then-undefeated boxers, this bout stands as one of the most disappointing boxing fights in history.
Both fighters were overtly cautious from the very start – at least with their hands.
No real punches were landed at all. Both fighters’ knack for headbutting made the match look more like bullfighting than boxing. Suffice to say, headbutting isn’t legal.
After the fight, Alexander had to receive medical assistance due to stinging pain in his eyes. It doesn’t take a Harvard medical degree to assume that he had gone overboard with the headbutting.
Bradley ended up getting the win on a tenth-round technical decision.
Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson
Lewis vs Tyson remains one of the most anticipated combat sports events of the past two decades. It somehow also turned out to be one of the most disappointing boxing matches ever.
Tyson hated Lewis’s guts. An infamous press conference months before the actual fight ended up in a massive brawl involving both fighters, their bodyguards, and WBC president José Sulaimán.
The whole thing ended with a costly lawsuit for Tyson and the fight being rescheduled after Nevada refused to grant him a fighting license.
“Kid Dynamite” must have missed breakfast that day, as he gave Lewis’s leg a good bite.
Unfortunately, the brawl was a lot more interesting than the fight itself.
The bout was a one-sided affair, with Tyson past his prime by this point. He barely landed a decent punch after the fifth round.
By the end of the fight, Tyson was badly cut above his eyes and showed clear signs of exhaustion. Lewis won every single round, including a brutal round seven where he connected 31 punches while Tyson got four.
HBO made a lot of money from the fight, but that’s as far as its success went.
Tyson has recently called Lewis out for a rematch.
Featured Image Credit: Getty