What’s in A Boxers Nickname?

By Ken Hissner - 04/25/2024 - Comments

You wonder how some boxers end up with nicknames that don’t fit them, like “killer,” when one doesn’t have a high knockout percentage.

Eric “Butterbean” Esch, 65-2-3, ended the career of Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes on July 7th, 2002. He was credited with a dubious knockdown in the tenth and final round. Holmes never fought again, while Butterbean went on to end with a 77-10-4 record.

I believe it was Muhammad Ali who nicknamed Holmes “Peanut Head” due to the small head and big body Holmes had.
Talking about Ali, he called himself “The Greatest!” 56-5. He usually gave his opponents nicknames like “Rabbit” for Floyd Patterson, 55-8-1. Possibly because he would leave his feet at times landing that left hook.

Ali called Sonny Liston, 50-4, “Big Ugly Bear”. His birth name was Charles, so “Sonny” was his nickname. Others with nicknames he fought not necessarily giving them their nicknames are:

Knockout king light heavyweight champion Archie Moore, 186-23-19, known as “Old Mongoose”.

Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams, 82-13-2, until getting shot was a knockout threat. Argentina’s Oscar “Ringo” Bonavena, 58-9-1.
Of course there was “Smokin” Joe Frazier, 32-4-1. Ali said, “Smokin is bad for your health, Joe!” Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury, 34-0-1.

“Big” George Foreman, 76-5, Ali called “The Mummy!” Chuck “The Bayonne Bleeder”, 36-14-2, like Henry “Our Henry” Cooper, 40-14-1, was another bleeder. Earnie “Black Destroyer” Shavers, 76-14-1, a very befitting nickname with 70 knockouts to his credit.

“Neon” Leon Spinks, 26-17-3, and brother Michael “Jinx” Spinx, 31-1. “Jersey” Joe Walcott, 49-20-1. Rocky “The Brockton Blockbuster” Marciano, 49-0. As did Ezzard “The Cincinnati Cobra” Charles. Alvin “Blue” Lewis, 30-6.

Italy’s Primo “The Ambling Alp” Carnera, 88-14. James “The Cinderella Man” Braddock, 46-24-4. Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis, 66-3. Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, 43-3-1, Max “Livermore Larupper” 66-13, from Larupper, CA. “Ruby” Bob Fitzsimmons, 61-8-4. “Iron” Mike Tyson, 50-6. James “The Boilermaker” J Jeffries, 19-1-2. James “Gentleman” Jim Corbett, 11-4-3. Jack “Galveston Giant” Johnson, 54-11-8. Max “Black Uhlan of the Rhine” Schmeling, 56-10-4.

Floyd “Jumbo” Cummings, 15-6-1,was last opponent for “Smokin” Joe Frazier. “Slappie” Maxie Rosenbloom, 207-39-26. Mike “Giant” White, 26-13-1. Ray “Windmill” White, 40-14-5. “Two Ton” Tony Galento, 78-26-6.

Getting away from the heavyweights there’s Roberto “Hands of Stone, Duran, 103-16, also dubbed “El Cholo”. Alexis “Thin Man” Arguello, 77-8, also “El Flaco Explosivo”. Willie “Will o’ the Wisp” Pep, 229-11-1.

How many are named “Sugar”? Top of the list “Sugar” Ray Robinson, 174-19-6. Olympian “Sugar” Ray Seales, 57-8-3. Another Olympian “Sugar” Ray Leonard, 36-3-1. “Sugar” Shane Mosley, 49-10-1.

One of the many Philly boxers like Tommy “Phantom of Philly” Loughran, 90-25-10. Garnett “Sugar” Hart, 29-7-2. Willie “The Worm” Monroe, 40-10-1. Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, 39-7-1. Stanley “Kitten” Hayward, 31-12-4. Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, 39-9-1.

His son known as Jesse “Hard Work” Hart, 30-3. “Gypsy” Joe Harris, 24-1. Earl “The Pearl” Hargrove, 32-6. “Bad” Bennie Briscoe, 66-24-5. Augie “Broomall Bomber” Pantellas, 28-6.

Anthony “Two Guns” Fletcher, 24-4-1. His brother Frank “The Animal” Fletcher, 18-6-1. “Joltin” Jeff Chandler, 33-2-2. Brothers Jaron ”Boots” Ennis, 31-0, and Derek “Pooh” Ennis, 24-5-1, along with their father/trainer Derek “Bozy” Ennis, 4-2.