Looking Back to the Best Boxing Nicknames

Mike Tyson

@miketyson

Sport is entertainment, we all know that. To make combat sports more entertaining for fans, we build up personas around these fighters and allow ourselves to get carried away with the fantastical aspects. Nicknames help promote fighters, build matchups, and allow fighters to remain in the memory of fans for generations. 

Of course, In many sports and hobbies, nicknames are popular amongst the participants.

For instance, in the world of poker, nicknames are historically an important part of the culture, and this dates back to the days of wild west saloon games and characters like Calamity Jane and Mustache Maude.

It was a tradition in the professional poker scene that you weren’t a serious player until you had a nickname. This philosophy has carried over to every major sport, including boxing. Now these nicknames stand not only as a tradition but as a way of enhancing a fighter’s fearsome reputation. 

”The Gypsy King”

Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury has a memorable and attention-grabbing nickname with “The Gypsy King.”

He is currently at the height of his career with a rubber match with Wilder right around the corner, and analysts are already looking ahead to a possible Fury versus Wilder IV match.

Not only does his nickname make for good promos in the lead-up to his fights, but it also speaks to his heritage and background, something that few nicknames accomplish. 

Fury’s parents have Irish traveler heritage, and his family also has strong ties to the boxing world, especially the underground scene.

Fury’s father was an unlicensed bare-knuckle boxer that competed in dozens of fights, and his family tree includes other notable underground boxers like Uriah Burton and Bartley Gorman. 

 “Hands of Stone”

Roberto Duran is a boxer that was active through some of the golden years of the sport. Beginning his career in the late 1960s, Duran competed up until 2001.

His nickname is a remnant of a time where boxers were less concerned with their personality and more focused on establishing a fearsome reputation.

“Hands of Stone” comes from Duran’s unfailing ability to clobber his opponents. Across 103 wins, Duran KO’ed 70 opponents. 

Butterbean Eric Esch
HBO

”Butterbean”

Eric ”Butterbean” Esch is one of the most instantly recognizable figures in boxing history, and his nickname plays on his appearance.

The massive, hulking character was dubbed “Butterbean” due to his exceptionally round figure, smoothly shaved head, and paper-white complexion.

The nickname stuck after telling reporters how he had to live off a diet of “chicken and butterbeans” to make the 400lb weight limit.

Yes, this monstrous boxer had to slim down to make weight for his heavyweight fights. 

”Pretty Boy” Floyd to Floyd “Money” Mayweather 

Floyd Mayweather graduated from ”Pretty Boy” Floyd to Floyd “Money” later in his career. Both of these nicknames are ideal because they truly speak to his personality.

In the beginning, Mayweather was all about flash and spectacle, but later, he became focused on the business side.

The legend of “Money” Mayweather lives on through the events he engages in. The so-called “money fights” against unranked, amateur boxers like Logan Paul. 

”Hitman” Tommy Hearns

 While Tommy Hearns had another nickname in “Motor City Cobra” that was popular during his career, it’s “Hitman” Hearns that has withstood the test of time.

It’s an ideal nickname. It rolls off the tongue, and it presents a complete image instantly. A hitman is a fearsome figure that is completely professional and dedicated to the mission.

Hearns certainly backed up this image with a serious record of 61-5-1 with 48 KOs. 

”Iron Mike”

“Iron” Mike Tyson is one of the most famous boxers of all time. His nickname is spectacular not for how it sounds but what it represents. The legacy of “Iron Mike” is something that the boxing world will never forget.

Before his appearances in comedy films and podcasts, he was the egomaniac knockout machine that absolutely no one wanted to face.

Iron Mike was a force of nature. “The Baddest Man on the Planet” won his first 19 fights by KO, often in the first round, before compiling a 50-6 with 44 KO’s record.

The name Iron Mike represented his unbreakable will and determination.

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