It seems as long as prizefighting has been around fighters have been given nicknames. Going back to some of the earliest champions like John L Sullivan, nicknamed the Boston Strong Boy and Gentleman Jim Corbett. To other fighters like ‘Sugar Ray’ Robinson and Leonard, Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed and of course ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali.
Even the Rocky movie franchise had some absolute knockout nicknames (pun intended). From Rocky ‘The Italian Stallion’ Balboa to James ‘Clubber’ Lang to the many which Apollo Creed was introduced as. The Dancing Destroyer,The King of Sting,The Count of Monte Fisto,The Prince of Punch,The Master of Disaster and The One and Only.
The key to a good nickname is they often describe and some could even instil fear into an opponent before even stepping into the ring. Through the years there have been some absolute classic nicknames, this is a look at some of my all time favourites.
‘Marvellous’ Marvin Hagler
Hagler once said, “If they cut my bald head open, they will find one big boxing glove.” He lived for boxing, this is what made him the marvellous one.
‘The Brown Bomber’ Joe Louis
He still remains possibly the greatest heavyweight in history. The iconic name also still remains as one of the best ever.
‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier
Joe got the nickname from his first trainer who said “I want you to go out and make smoke come out of your gloves.” He did this throughout a stellar career.
Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini
Ray’s father, Lenny was the original Boom Boom but when Ray took over the name it was a perfect fit.
‘Sweet Pea’ Pernell Whittaker
One of the most technical and best defensive boxers in history. He was sweet to watch, but to his opponents… not so much.
Evander ‘The Real Deal’ Holyfield
Well, he proved he was the real deal and the way this rolls off the tongue is just brilliant.
Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho
Nothing really needs to be said other than he was the macho man.
‘Butterbean’ Eric Esch
If people worldwide only know you by your nickname, it must be pretty awesome. Not on the level of the other fighters on the list, but most wouldn’t even know his real name.
‘Hands Of Stone’ Roberto Duran
Manos de Piedra or translated to English, Hands of Stone. One of the greatest fighters to ever step foot in a ring with a name alone that is enough to makes your ribs hurt.
‘Iron’ Mike Tyson
Simple, accurate and effective. Just hearing this would have been enough to make opponents quiver in their boots.
Here are some other classic and more intriguing names.
Darnell ‘Ding A Ling Man’ Wilson. Thomas ‘ The Hitman’ Hearns. Juan ‘The Hispanic Causing Panic’ Lazcano. ‘The Wild Bull Of Pampas’ Luis Firpo. Owen ‘What the Heck’ Beck. ‘The Boston Tar Baby’ Sam Langford. Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins. ‘The Boxing Banker’ Calvin Brock. Jake ‘ The Raging Bull’ Lamotta. ‘The Brockton Blockbuster’ Rocky Marciano. ‘The Golden Boy’ Oscar De La Hoya. ‘The Ghetto Wizard’ Benny Leonard.