Cherry Picking in Boxing

Published on 25 May 2023 at 08:29

Boxing is a sport that is based on skill, technique, and strategy. A boxer's success is often measured by the number of wins they have achieved in their career. However, not all wins are created equal. Some boxers choose to cherry-pick their opponents, selecting fighters they believe they can easily defeat. This practice is known as cherry-picking, and it is a controversial issue in the boxing world. In this article, we will explore what cherry-picking is, why boxers do it, and some examples of cherry-picking gone wrong.


What is Cherry-Picking in Boxing?


Cherry-picking is a term used in boxing to describe the practice of selecting an opponent who is perceived to be weaker or less skilled than the fighter doing the selecting. The goal of cherry-picking is to secure an easy victory and improve the cherry-picker's record.


Cherry-picking is not a new phenomenon in the sport of boxing. Boxers have been doing it for years, and it is often used as a way to build a fighter's career. However, it is also a practice that is frowned upon by many in the boxing community. The reason for this is that it can be seen as a way for fighters to avoid tough competition and take the easy route to success.


Why Do Boxers Cherry-Pick?


Boxers cherry-pick for a variety of reasons. Some do it to build their record and improve their chances of securing high-profile fights in the future. Others do it to avoid taking unnecessary risks and getting injured. Still, others do it because they lack confidence in their abilities and want to ensure an easy victory.


Cherry-picking is often used as a way to build a fighter's career. In the early stages of a boxer's career, it is common for them to face less experienced and skilled opponents. This is done to build up their record and give them confidence in the ring. However, some boxers continue to cherry-pick opponents even after they have achieved success and are established in the sport.


Cherry-picking can also be a way for fighters to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Boxing is a dangerous sport, and fighters can suffer serious injuries or even death in the ring. By selecting opponents who are perceived to be weaker or less skilled, boxers can reduce the risk of injury and protect their careers.


Finally, some boxers cherry-pick because they lack confidence in their abilities. They may feel that they are not ready to face top-level competition and want to ensure an easy victory to boost their confidence.


Examples of Cherry-Picking Gone Wrong


Cherry-picking can have negative consequences for boxers who engage in the practice. Here are some examples of cherry-picking gone wrong.


1. Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury I


In 2018, Deontay Wilder, the reigning WBC heavyweight champion, faced Tyson Fury in a highly anticipated bout. Wilder was known for his devastating knockout power and had a record of 40 wins and no losses. Fury, on the other hand, had a record of 27 wins, 0 losses, and 1 draw. However, Fury's record was somewhat deceiving, as he had taken a two-and-a-half-year break from boxing and had only fought two low-level opponents in his comeback fights.


Wilder was seen as the heavy favorite going into the fight, and many believed that he had cherry-picked Fury as an opponent. However, Fury proved to be a tough challenge for Wilder, and the fight ended in a controversial draw. Many felt that Fury had done enough to win the fight, and the result was seen as a wake-up call for Wilder.


2. Amir Khan vs. Breidis Prescott


In 2008, Amir Khan was a rising star in the sport of boxing. He had won an Olympic silver medal in 2004 and had a record of 18 wins and 0 losses. However, Khan had yet to face a top-level opponent, and his team decided to cherry-pick Breidis Prescott as his next opponent.


Prescott was a relatively unknown fighter from Colombia and was seen as an easy win for Khan. However, Prescott had other ideas and knocked out Khan in the first round of their fight. The loss was a huge setback for Khan, and it took him several years to rebuild his career.


3. Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. I


In 2019, Anthony Joshua, the reigning unified heavyweight champion, faced Andy Ruiz Jr. in a fight that many believed he had cherry-picked. Ruiz was a late replacement for Joshua's original opponent, Jarrell Miller, who had failed a drug test. Ruiz was seen as a low-level opponent and was not given much of a chance of winning the fight.


However, Ruiz proved to be a formidable opponent and knocked out Joshua in the seventh round of the fight. The loss was a huge upset and was seen as a wake-up call for Joshua, who had previously been seen as one of the best heavyweights in the world.



Cherry-picking is a controversial practice in the sport of boxing. While it can be used to build a fighter's career and reduce the risk of injury, it can also have negative consequences for those who engage in the practice. Fighters who cherry-pick opponents run the risk of being exposed and suffering embarrassing defeats. In the end, it is up to each individual fighter to decide whether or not they want to take the easy route to success or challenge themselves by facing top-level competition.

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