The 10 Greatest Boxing Nicknames
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Boxers are among the most colorful athletes in all of sports, so it should come as no surprise that they also have the coolest nicknames. Below are 10 of the greatest in boxing history, from Raging Bull to Boom Boom.
Jake LaMotta – Raging Bull
Born to Italian parents in 1922 and raised in the Bronx, Jake LaMotta learned boxing at a reform school in upstate New York and went on to become a world middleweight champion. He earned his nickname for his charging, aggressive style in the ring and his refusal to be knocked down. LaMotta’s life and career were immortalized in the 1980 Martin Scorsese film “Raging Bull.”
Muhammed Ali – The Greatest
One of the greatest boxers of the 20th century, Muhammed Ali was also a major activist who played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement and the opposition to the Vietnam War. In 1964, after defeating Sonny Liston and winning the World Heavyweight Championship, Ali rushed to the edge of the ring and yelled “I’m the greatest!” The nickname stuck.
Walker Smith Jr. – “Sugar Ray” Robinson
Born Walker Smith Jr., “Sugar Ray” Robinson got his nickname from boxing club owner George Gainford, who described the young fighter as “sweet as sugar.” Robinson’s professional career lasted 25 years, during which he racked up 175 wins, including 110 knockouts. In 1999, the Associated Press named him the Fighter of the Century.
Roberto Durán – Manos de Piedra (Hands of Stone)
A four-weight world champion, Roberto Durán was born in Panama and grew up in a district known as “La Casa de Piedra” (The House of Stone). The fighter would later earn the nickname Manos de Piedra (Hands of Stone) for his fierce punches in the ring. Durán made his professional debut in 1968 and fought his last fight in 2001.
Tommy Hearns – The Hitman
Tommy Hearns, also known as The Hitman, was the first boxer to win world championships in five different weight divisions. The fighter was born in Grand Junction, Tennessee, and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where he was also known as the Motor City Cobra. In 2012, Hearns was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Bernard Hopkins – The Executioner
Before retiring in 2016, Bernard Hopkins fought under the formidable nickname The Executioner and won multiple world championships. The fighter often entered the ring wearing a red executioner’s mask. His professional record includes over 30 knockout wins.
Luis Ortiz – The Real King Kong
At 6 feet 3 inches and about 240 pounds, Cuban boxer Luis Ortiz is a force to be reckoned with in heavyweight boxing. His sheer size and muscle power have earned him the nickname The Real King Kong. Ortiz is considered a strong contender for the world heavyweight title.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. – Pretty Boy
Floyd Mayweather Jr. began boxing as a child and earned his nickname for his strong defensive technique, which prevented him from getting scarred. Mayweather has held over eight world titles and has never lost a professional match. In 2016, ESPN named him the best boxer of the past 25 years.
José Nápoles – Mantequilla (Butter)
Born in Cuba in 1940, José Nápoles is considered one of the greatest welterweight boxers of all time. He became known as Mantequilla (Butter) for his smooth fighting technique. Nápoles retired in 1975 with a final record of 55 knockout wins.
Ray Mancini – Boom Boom
Born in Ohio in 1961, Ray Mancini competed from 1979 to 1992 and held the WBA lightweight title from 1982 to 1984. Mancini’s father, Lenny Mancini, passed down the “Boom Boom” nickname to his son.