COMMENTARY | The words "overrated" and "underrated" are very subjective terms -- especially in the world of big-time boxing, where fates change and career trajectories can alter under the weight of one big left hook.
However, there are always some fighters who seem to get places faster than the rest, skipping over some necessary ring tests on their road to stardom. Whether it's because of unfounded fan/media hype or behind-the-scenes connections, it seems that some fighters become almost instant stars, immediately earning high rankings and rabid acclaim.
Here are 10 fighters who, in this writer's estimation, get way more acclaim than their resumes and/or respective skill levels warrant:
Adrien Broner (27-0, 22 KOs)
Dubbed by critics as Floyd-Lite for his resemblance in style and temperament to "Big Bro" Floyd Mayweather, the 24-year-old Broner gets superstar treatment by the media despite prospect-level accomplishment in the ring. A tepid, dreary performance against gatekeeper Paulie Malignaggi last June did nothing for his status as a future elite. Broner needs to beat a star and look like a star doing it before truly deserving the "Next Mayweather" label.
Tyson Fury (21-0, 15 KOs)
The outspoken British heavyweight giant was almost knocked cold by light-hitting former cruiserweight Steve Cunningham in his last bout and has performed marginally well against a generally pedestrian level of opposition. A big bucks showdown with countryman David Haye this fall will go a long way in determining whether Fury is equal parts bite to bark.
Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-0, 16 KOs)
Yes, he's talented and has pound-for-pound potential, but will we ever see that talent on display in a big fight against a top shelf opponent? The Cuban Olympic gold medalist has gone through promotional and personal issues recently -- and that may justify his inactivity -- but listless, sub-par performances in recent outings against inferior opposition simply add to the frustration of those wanting to be fans.
Tomasz Adamek (49-2, 29 KOs)
A busy fight schedule for the Polish heavyweight masks the fact that Adamek simply can't compete at the highest levels of the division. A blowout at the hands of Vitali Klitschko and controversial decision victories over Steve Cunningham and Eddie Chambers in recent bouts have made it clear that Ring Magazine's No. 5-ranked heavyweight is simply not a top 5 fighter.
Keith Thurman (21-0, 19 KOs)
Thurman's nickname "One Time" may refer to his punching power, but it could also refer to the number of actual top 20-level fighters on his resume. While the world is in love with the idea of having a heavy-handed welterweight on the scene, Thurman's resume is paper-thin and his skills are crude (but improving). The 24-year-old is still developing, but he's not a main stage player just yet.
Deontay Wilder (29-0, 29 KOs)
He's big, heavy-handed, and exciting, but up until two or three fights ago, he was fighting the type of hapless tomato cans that even journeymen enjoy splattering. The world is hoping for the next big American heavyweight champion, but it's not Wilder -- at least not now. Give the 27-year-old slugger some more seasoning; some more experience against fighters who can fight back, and then something special may happen.
Robert Helenius (19-0, 11 KOs)
He's big, strong, and has a cool nickname ("The Nordic Nightmare"), but he has looked absolutely miserable in recent outings. Highly ranked and close to a mandatory title shot against Wladimir Klitschko, Helenius is more fizzle than sizzle at this point.
Mikkel Kessler (46-3, 35 KOs)
When can a 5-time world champion be considered an overrated fighter? When four of those five reigns began at the expense of mid-level talents like Dimitri Sartison, Brian Magee, Markus Beyer, and Manny Siaca. Kessler is a very good fighter, but not the legendary super middleweight some have made him to be. A very basic, 1-2 fighter with plenty of wins against lower-tier fighters, Kessler's career will be defined by losses to Andre Ward and Joe Calzaghe as well as a 1-1 record against Carl Froch.
Jean Pascal (27-2-1, 16 KOs)
More athlete than boxer, the Haitian former WBC light heavyweight champ is worthy of respect for his accomplishments in the ring, but he has never really been a complete, elite-level fighter. In recent outings, Pascal has resorted to stealing rounds, counting on a burst of action in the final moments of the round to make up for nearly a full frame of inactivity.
George Groves (19-0, 15 KOs)
How did a razor-thin decision over a fellow UK prospect, James DeGale, propel the 25-year-old Groves into a top 5 spot in Ring Magazine's super middleweight rankings and an upcoming world title shot against Carl Froch? The thinning of the herd at 168 may be mostly to blame for this rapid advancement, although exaggerated importance placed on his wins over DeGale and Glen Johnson may also be responsible. Whatever the case, at this point, Groves has shown himself to be little more than a solid regional talent with possible room for growth.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
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