I think it depends on which company and what decade: the first "Raymonda"'s I saw were the Bolshoi/Grigorivich version, with Bessmertnova and Semenyaka, both of which were made in the '80's. I don't think the character was unsympathetic in the 1980 Kirov/Kolpakova version, either, even if it didn't have the mesmerizing Taranda in it. I find Nureyev's version unwatchable for the most part.
Pavel Dmitrichenko was interviewed during the transmission (he danced Abderakham), and his take on the character was that he is just so in love with Raymonda and he says he loses the battle with Jean de Brienne b/c he takes a second to gaze at Raymonda and then Brienne strikes the blow. However, the transmission did not capture his gaze toward Raymonda, and I have never noticed this detail in any production. The La Scala production has the White Lady shine a mirror in his eyes which causes him to fail (she is the protector of the House of Raymonda or whatever you call it! LOL).
I have always felt sorry for the character myself. He is depicted as "different" and "rough" compared to the "European" characters, but I would be surprised if viewers hated him. The Mariinsky's version (unlike the Bolshoi's) does have him shoving his slaves around (sort of mistreating them though).
I do think with hindsight that Alexandrova, as much as I loved her performance, overdid the digust. I don't remember any other Raymonda being that grossed out by Abderakhman.