With two of the most controversial boxers in recent history going head to head on February 22 in Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, we’ve decided to take a look at the most controversial personalities of them all to grace the sport.

Muhammad Ali

What better place to start than with the most famous boxer of all time? Even if you don’t have the first clue about the sport, you instantly know who Muhammad Ali was. Nicknamed ‘The Greatest, he is now beloved by the public, but he was active in one of the most divided eras in the United States’ history and did cause controversy with some of his views. An outspoken fighter, he wasn’t afraid to say what he felt in a time where many wouldn’t.

Ali caused controversy when he joined the Nation of Islam in 1961, only adding to his controversial image, going on to change his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. He then went on to be stripped of his world title and his boxing licence in 1966 when he refused to be drafted into the U.S. army for the Vietnam War, a war that he did not believe in.

One of the biggest names in boxing, and indeed outside of the sport, his legacy will never be forgotten, thanks in part for his bravery to speak out and cause controversy when others may have hidden.

Mike Tyson

A man that’s been riddled in controversy throughout his career, and even after…let’s not forget the tattoo across his face. A phenomenal boxer who could land a devastating blow at any point throughout the match, Mike Tyson was a man to be feared. He made his debut after coming out of a juvenile detention centre and wreaked havoc on the world of boxing. Following a shock loss to Buster Douglas in 1990, Tyson had another brush with the law which saw him go down for three years after being convicted of rape.

Tyson returned to boxing after completing his sentence but would go on to hit the headlines for controversial reasons once again. The most famous incident being when he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear off in one of the most aggressive matches in history. It was bad enough that he did this once, but he went on to bite Holyfield’s other ear in the same round. Tyson was disqualified and lost the match. He has since mellowed out in recent years, such as when appearing in comedy smash ‘The Hangover’, having retired from boxing in 2005.

Tyson Fury

From a travelling background, Tyson Fury was quick to be recognised as a hard-hitting heavyweight. Fury is currently undefeated and his most memorable fight was when he beat Wladimir Klitschko to become heavyweight champion of the world. The rematch of this exact fight, however, had to be postponed due to worries about doping and drug use. The rematch never happened, and Fury was stripped of his titles.

The outspoken Gypsy King then briefly retired from boxing and his battle with drugs and mental health has been well publicised. Fury has since made a return to the ring with multiple successful results, with his biggest fight being when facing Deontay Wilder in 2018, a match which ended in a draw. The rematch is set for later this month and it’s set to be one of the biggest boxing matches in recent memory.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has racked up a fair amount of black marks against his name during his career, and he is just as controversial now as he was back in his heyday. ‘Money’ Mayweather has an incredible record of 50-0-0, with his latest victory coming against UFC’s Conor McGregor.

Mayweather flaunts his wealth at any given opportunity and lives the highlife, while he has fallen on the wrong side of the law a number of times – something McGregor played on constantly in the build-up to their fight. After multiple stints in prison and house arrest, Mayweather has finally calmed down. An incredible boxer, but perhaps not the golden boy he’s sometimes made out to be.

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