When some fights are made, they immediately pique the interest of the fans and public alike. There can be a number of different reasons why a fight garners so much attention. The fight can be between two of the best of all time, it can be the much anticipated debut of a new star, or it can be a matchup between men who have already put on a great show before.
Whatever the circumstances, these highly anticipated matchups often have the fans imagining the outcome and dreaming about how amazing the fight is going to be. From Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson putting on perhaps the best fight in UFC history, to the “Thrilla in Manila” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier that goes down as one of the most thrilling fights in boxing history, sometimes these ultra-hyped fights live up to the hefty expectations.
On the other hand, these fights can also be some of the most disappointing of all time if they don’t go as planned. There are a variety of reasons why these fights go bad. The most often culprits are: fighters being too cautious, fights ending due to an unforeseen circumstances and one fighter simply being overrated. So when a highly anticipated and hyped fight turns out to be a stinker, it is commonplace to label that fight as overhyped.
This list will look at 15 of the most highly anticipated fights in combat sports history that ended up being huge disappointments for a number of different reasons. Read on and enjoy the Top 15 Overhyped Fights That Stunk.
15 Manny Pacquiao vs. Oscar De La Hoya
The first fight on the list is the late 2008 battle between Pacquiao and De La Hoya. At the time, this was a humongous super-fight between the pound for pound king Manny Pacquaio and former Olympic Medalist Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya, being the much bigger fighter, was favored by most experts to emerge victorious from this fight. What happened instead was that Pacquiao laid down an absolute beating on De La Hoya and propelled himself into superstardom. The reason this fight appears on this list is simply due to the number of people who believed it would be a competitive back and forth fight, but instead, it was a one sided beating.
14 Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger
This fight between highly touted prospect Rory MacDonald and heavy hitter Jake Ellenberger was supposed to produce the next legitimate threat to Georges St-Pierre’s Welterweight championship. Instead, the two put on an absolute stinker of a fight. The fight had a ton of hype behind it, with Ellenberger claiming he would knock MacDonald out cold, and MacDonald not backing down. Come fight time, neither man did much of anything as MacDonald won a boring decision. You know a fight is bad when Dana White, who normally sticks up for his product, said “That fight sucked so bad.”
13 Michael Bisping vs. Jason Miller
The two men were opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 14, and had one of the most vocal and combative seasons in TUF History. Throughout the season, both Miller and Bisping were very adamant that they couldn’t wait to get in the cage and go at each other. When the time finally came for them to step in the octagon, the fans were shaking their heads. This is because the fight was not competitive for even a minute, as Bisping outclassed Miller entirely and ended the season in as anticlimactic a way as possible. People who watched the entire season felt cheated that they didn’t see the coaches go at each other in the cage like they did on the show.
12 Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran 3
This highly anticipated matchup between two of the best boxers of all time was supposed to be an ultracompetitive culmination to this lengthy rivalry. This fight took place almost a decade after their first two dramatic meetings. They were 1-1 against each other, and this had the makings of a brilliant rubber match. Instead, both men fought way too cautious and were fighting to boos during the last half of the fight. The 33 year old Leonard won the snoozefest over the 38 year old Duran in a fight that most of us would like to forget.
11 Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar 2
These two men participated in the fight that launched the UFC and MMA into the mainstream. At the TUF 1 Finale, Griffin and Bonnar went to absolute war for three whole rounds for a shot at a UFC contract. Little did they know that their fight would be an instrumental part of the future of MMA. A year after their first meeting, the UFC matched the two up again in a fight that had fans salivating. Unfortunately, despite being an okay fight, the fight failed to live up to its monumental expectations and left some fans wishing it could’ve been a repeat of their first fight.
10 Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson
This fight between Lewis and Tyson took place in mid-2002 and was a battle to determine the heavyweight title holder. This fight was already big because of the aura surrounding Mike Tyson, but the events at the press conference took it to another level. A massive brawl erupted between Lewis and Tyson that added a ton of fuel to the fire. However, once the fight began, Tyson had nothing for Lewis and was ultimately knocked out in the 8th round after a forgettable fight. It really is a shame that the fighting at the press conference was more heated than their fight in the ring.
9 Kimbo Slice vs. Houston Alexander
When it was announced that internet superstar Kimbo Slice was going to take on slugger Houston Alexander, fans were excited to see two of the most powerful and aggressive strikers go head to head. Nobody in the combat sports world thought that this fight would end by anything other than a knockout, but boy, were they wrong. From the opening bell to the closing bell, not much of anything took place in this fight. It was an embarrassing showing from both men, as they were both extremely cautious and fought the exact opposite of the way they normally did.
8 Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch
Hector Lombard was one of the most highly anticipated UFC acquisitions in recent history. He was an unbelievable physical specimen with brutal knockout power. He was brought to the UFC on a six figure contract and was touted as the next big thing. When it was announced that he was going up against the extremely tough Tim Boetsch, fans were incredibly excited, as it pitted an unstoppable force vs. an immovable object. As it turns out, the fight was horrible as both men were tentative and overly cautious which led to a lackluster bout that failed to live up to the hype. To add to the disappointment, Lombard ended up losing a split decision in the fight.
7 Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield
This was a huge match-up at Madison Square Garden between two legendary champions and the entire combat sports world was watching. Holyfield added fuel to the fire during fight week by walking around and tell everyone who would listen that he was going to knock out Lewis. However, when it came to fight time, Holyfield didn’t do much of anything this fight, and Lewis wasn’t much better. And in addition to the fight not living up to the pre-fight hype, the fight was scored a draw, which was horrible as it was hard to find even a round that Holyfield won.
6 Dan Severn vs. Ken Shamrock 2
This was one of the original super-fights in UFC history as two of MMA’s biggest and best Heavyweight stars of the time were set to face off at UFC 9. After an incredible first fight, and with both men becoming huge stars, the rematch was marketed as a rematch for the ages that had fans excited. Instead, the fans got little more than a synchronized dance routine as both men essentially circled the cage for the entire 30 minutes of the fight, making it one of the most boring fights in UFC history.
5 Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield 2
Now we get to two men who are making their second appearance on this list. After Holyfield defeated Tyson in their first fight, Tyson was out for revenge in the rematch. This fight sold itself as it had the great storyline of the defeated Tyson looking to avenge his loss and regain the WBA Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the fight ended in the third round when Tyson was disqualified for biting off a portion of Holyfield’s ear. This fight had the potential to be something special, and it became memorable for the wrong reasons, but we’ll never know what could have been if Tyson decided to actually fight Holyfield.
4 Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia
Now this fight may be one of the most embarrassing moments in UFC history. This fight was marketed as one of Anderson Silva’s biggest tests as Demian Maia is an absolute wizard on the ground who could give Anderson fits. However, much to the dismay of fans and the UFC staff alike, the fight was nothing more than a joke. Silva essentially stood around, baiting Maia the entire fight and rarely showing urgency. Dana White profusely apologized for the fight and promised to make it up for anyone who “bought this s*** tonight."
3 Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks
Now this one was just disappointing in the simplest sense of the term. This fight pitted two undefeated Heavyweights against one another, which was an easy sell for promoters and had fans interested from the get go. Tyson was a young knockout artist who had captured the world’s attention with his unreal power, and Spinks was an Olympic gold medal winning boxer out to prove he was the best. Unfortunately for those who were expecting a competitive fight of the century, Tyson proved to be the better man when he knocked out Spinks in only 91 seconds.
2 Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman 2
After Chris Weidman shocked the world and knocked out the best fighter of all time in Anderson Silva, fans were immediately clamoring for a rematch as they thought it was a fluke. They got their wish as a rematch was announced, and the fight quickly became one of the most hyped fights in combat sports history. When it came to fight night, the unthinkable happened. Early in the second round, Silva broke his leg while throwing a leg kick, ending the fight in an instant. This was horrific as it not only looked like it could be the end of his career, but because it also prematurely ended one of the most hyped fights of all time before it even got going.
1 Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao
Fans had been begging for this fight for the better part of a decade, and when it was finally announced, it sent shockwaves through the sports world and pandemonium ensued unlike ever before in combat sports. As the event got closer, the hype only multiplied and got crazier. If you were on social media the night of the fight, people who didn’t even know about boxing were conversing about the fight. Unfortunately, neither man really put any sort of real effort or urgency into the fight, which disappointed millions and left a lot of people wishing they could have their $100 back.