Ability and dedication are key factors in any fighter’s success, but showmanship also plays a major role in boxing and we take a look at the best nicknames in the sport’s history.
However, we have steered clear of some of the more obvious names, so don’t expect to see Iron Mike, the Louisville Lip or Hands of Stone make an appearance.
‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler
Few aliases rolled off the tongue smoother than Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s. The New Jersey-born fighter is sadly no longer with us, but his legacy and name will live on.
There’s no doubt that Hagler is one of the all-time middleweight greats and his fight against Thomas Hearns will be remembered as a classic.
The American lost just three times, was never stopped in 67 fights and held the WBA, WBC, IBF and The Ring middleweight titles in a truly ‘Marvelous’ career.
James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith
You don’t need to be a boxing expert much to understand that it’s a tough and punishing sport and no alias sums that up better than James Smith’s.
The American’s pseudonym of Bonecrusher tells you exactly what to expect with brutal simplicity. Smith defeated British hero Frank Bruno at Wembley Arena, before going on to stop Tim Witherspoon and claim the WBA world heavyweight crown a couple of years later.
The American was then dealt a crushing blow himself when losing a unification bout against Mike Tyson just a few months after securing the WBA belt.
Eric ‘Butterbean’ Esch
Outside of hardcore boxing fans few people would have ever heard of Eric Esch, however, mention the name Butterbean and the conversation will flow.
The American heavyweight may not have had the talent to go with the showmanship, but he is a larger than life character and the Atlanta slugger served up plenty of entertainment.
Only one of Butterbean’s 91 professional fights went further than four rounds and it was a case of knock the opposition out, or be knocked out.
Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker
Hearing the name Sweet Pea doesn’t exactly fill you with fear, but it does give a thought of beauty and that’s exactly what Pernell Whitaker delivered.
The movement and skill of the Virginia man was indeed sweet and Whitaker was no doubt one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of all time.
Sweet Pea was a four-weight world champion, the undisputed lightweight king and he claimed the lineal lightweight and welterweight titles.
Whitaker is still the longest reigning unified lightweight champion in boxing history and Sweet Pea’s skills live on after his passing.
James ‘Lights Out’ Toney
James Toney’s career spanned almost 30 years until the lights were eventually turned out in 2017.
The American was a three-weight world champion and never lost any of his 92 professional bouts via stoppage. Toney beat John Ruiz to claim the WBA and IBA heavyweight titles in 2005, but was later stripped of the belts.
Toney won 77 of his 91 career fights and 47 of those triumphs were lights out victories.