Boxing Cheaters: A Look At The History Of Dishonesty In The Ring

November 15, 2023
6 months

Boxing is a sport that has seen its fair share of controversies and scandals over the years. In this article, we delve into the most notorious cases that forever changed the landscape of the sport.

Muhammad Ali And The Vietnam War Protests

One of the biggest controversies in boxing history revolves around the legendary Muhammad Ali. As the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world in 1967, Ali refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War. Consequently, the New York State Athletic Commission revoked his boxing license, with other commissions following suit. Ali’s protest cost him three prime years of his career and left the world wondering what could have been.


Antonio Margarito And the Plaster Of Paris Scandal

Antonio Margarito’s career took a dark turn when he was caught using illegal substances in his gloves. In a 2009 fight against Shane Mosley, Margarito’s gloves were found to contain plaster of Paris – a substance that hardens when wet. This scandal raised questions about Margarito’s previous fights, including his 2008 victory over Miguel Cotto, and led to a one-year ban from boxing.

Luis Resto And The Padding Removal Incident

In a 1983 fight against Billy Collins, Luis Resto’s trainer, Panama Lewis, removed padding from Resto’s gloves. The resulting injuries to Collins’ face were severe, ending his career and leading to Resto and Lewis receiving prison sentences and lifetime bans from boxing.

Roy Jones Jr. And The 1988 Olympic Scandal

Roy Jones Jr.’s controversial loss to South Korean Park Si-Hun in the 1988 Olympic finals remains one of the most notorious cases of judging bias in boxing history. Despite dominating the fight, Jones was denied the gold medal due to questionable judging decisions, which many believe were influenced by corruption.

Mike Tyson Bites Evander Holyfield’s Ear

In a 1997 rematch against Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson infamously bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear during the fight. Tyson was disqualified, fined $3 million, and temporarily banned from the sport, further damaging boxing’s reputation.

Cheating Techniques

Low Blows

Low blows are illegal punches below the belt that can cause significant pain and discomfort to the opponent. Some boxers use low blows as a cheating tactic, hoping to gain an advantage and weaken their opponent. Abner Mares‘ controversial 2011 fight against Joseph Agbeko is an example of a match marred by numerous low blows.


Lacing is a cheating technique that involves hitting the opponent with the bottom half of the glove, where the laces are located. This can cause cuts on the opponent’s face and gives a boxer an advantage. Boxing legend Jack Dempsey was accused of using lacing in his 1919 fight against Jess Willard.


Headbutting is an illegal and dangerous tactic in boxing that can cause severe injuries and cuts. Some notorious boxing cheaters, such as Evander Holyfield, have been accused of using headbutts to gain an advantage over their opponents.

IV Usage and Doping

Doping is a prevalent form of cheating in sports, and boxing is no exception. Some boxers use intravenous (IV) infusions to rehydrate after cutting weight, while others use banned substances to enhance their performance. Notable cases of doping in boxing include Shane Mosley’s admitted use of EPO and Canelo Alvarez’s positive test for a banned substance.


Boxing cheaters have left an indelible mark on the sport’s history, tainting its image and casting doubt on its integrity. From high-profile scandals involving legendary fighters to lesser-known incidents of rule violations, cheating in boxing has taken many forms.

As the sport continues to evolve, it is crucial to address these issues and ensure that boxing remains a fair and honest competition for all involved.