Because boxing is a sport that tends to attract some big personalities, we have been introduced to more than a few iconic characters over the years. Yet, some great boxers in the past weren't the wittiest people, and struggled to sell their fights with what they had to say — which is when having a great boxing nickname comes in handy.
Nicknames function as a way for boxers to set themselves apart from the pack, and a way for fans to recognize and remember them. While some boxers choose a nickname that displays their skill or is used as an intimidation tactic, others opt for something funnier. Yet, the key to creating a memorable nickname is originality — and that's what we want to honor today.
This article is our comprehensive ranking of the 20 best boxing nicknames of all time. We intended for this list to be a blend of funny, intimidating, and iconic nicknames; some of which you've surely heard before, and some will likely be new to you. While we had to leave out some great nicknames, we feel confident that you're going to love the 20 included on this list. So without further ado, let's get into the 20 best boxing nicknames of all time.
Top 20 Best Boxing Nicknames of All Time
20. Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins
Although the iconic boxing nickname of Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (52-6-2, with 32 KO's) isn't the most original, it made Hopkins — the record record 20-time defending middleweight champion who competed from 1988-2016 — even more of a household name than he already was.
What we love most about “The Executioner” is how it perfectly portrays Hopkins' boxing style: cold, ruthless, and technical. And considering how badly Hopkins knocked out opponents across his career, “The Executioner” fits that bill.
19. “The Explosive Thin Man” Alexis Arguello
“The Explosive Thin Man” is not only a hilariously honest boxing nickname for Alexis Arguello (82-8 with 65 KO's), but it's also fitting, since Arguello is one of the most devastating power punches in boxing history. And the best part is that you would never know it, judging by how he looks.
While “The Explosive Thin Man” is unfortunately no longer with us, he is remembered for not only his incredible boxing career, but this legendary nickname, as well. The three-time world champion was willing to risk it all in the ring — and wasn't afraid to take a risk with one of the best boxing nicknames either.
18. Oliver “The Atomic Bull” McCall
Oliver “The Atomic Bull” McCall (56-12, with 37 KO's) produced one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, when he knocked out then-undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in 1994. Yet, McCall may be better known by the boxing community for when he broke down crying in the middle of a fight in a rematch with Lewis.
Regardless of that strange moment, “The Atomic Bull” cemented himself in boxing history when he stopped Lewis that first time. And even if he hadn't won that title, this awesome boxing nickname would have kept him relevant today.
17. Rocky “The Brockton Blockbuster” Marciano
Of course, while Rocky “The Brockton Blockbuster” Marciano (49-0 with 43 KO's) will always be best known for being the inspiration behind the Rocky Balboa movie franchise — the first of which topped our list of 10 Best Boxing Movies — he also has a sweet nickname that, sadly, wasn't shown any love by Hollywood.
Even without the Rocky franchise, what Marciano was able to accomplish his boxing career is almost too good to believe. What's for sure is that Brockton, Massachusetts, is glad that their most famous resident chose the boxing nickname he did.
16. Claressa “GWOAT” Shields
For the first female on our list, Claressa “GWOAT” Shields (14-0 record with 2 KO's) makes it clear by her nickname (which stands for ‘Greatest Woman of All Time') how good she is. And anybody who has seen her box won't find much reason to argue with her.
Although Shields has only been using “GWOAT” as her nickname since 2019, it didn't take long for it to pick up steam in both the boxing community and the MMA community, as Shields has taken up mixed martial arts (in order to really prove that she's the GWOAT).
15. Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr
While “Money” isn't the most original nickname by any means, Floyd “Money” Mayweather (50-0 with 27 KO's) earns a spot on this list because — even if it wasn't his nickname — when someone thinks about making money in boxing, they think about Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather Jr has earned more than $1 billion across his illustrious, undefeated boxing career, where he earned 12 world championships in five weight classes. That is a whole stack of reasons why “Money” is a moniker that makes sense for Mayweather Jr to answer to and deserves to be on our list of the best boxing nicknames.
14. “Smokin” Joe Frazier
The fourteenth best boxing nickname on this list isn't another that stands out, in terms of its originality. Yet, considering that “Smokin” Joe Frazier (32-4-1 with 27 KO's) smoked Muhammad Ali during a bout at Madison Square Garden that was dubbed “The Fight of the Century”, any nickname Frazier went with after that would have been awesome.
This is one of the first nicknames on the list that stands out due to its alliteration. Saying “Smokin” and “Joe” right after each other just sounds good — which has helped this nickname become iconic.
13. “Manos De Piedra” Roberto Duran
Roberto Duran's (103-16 with 70 KO's) “Manos De Piedra” nickname (which translates to “Hands of Stone”) is a great example of when an iconic nickname combines with a legendary fighter. Duran is widely considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time — and his nickname suits his fighting style exceptionally well.
12. “The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya
Just like with the last nickname, “The Golden Boy” is the perfect moniker for Oscar De La Hoya (39-6 with 30 KO's) — especially after he won a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.
While “The Golden Boy” did suffer some losses at the end of his career, he's still more than worthy of his iconic nickname. In fact, De La Hoya now runs Golden Boy Promotions, which is home to some of the world's best fighters of today, such as Ryan Garcia.
11. Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza
As you can probably imagine, Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza (50-10 with 30 KO's) had one of the brightest personalities in boxing history. Yet, don't let the funny nickname fool you: he was also an excellent boxer; proven through him having won world titles in the lightweight and junior middleweight divisions.
Not to mention that he returned to the ring after breaking his neck. Devilish, indeed.
10. Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker
Now getting into the top 10 of our best boxing nicknames list, we have Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker (40-4-1 with 17 KO's). Sweet Pea is considered one of the best defensive boxers in history, and has the world titles to back that claim up. Yet, if we're being honest, we love Whitaker more for his awesome nickname that his legendary boxing abilities.
9. Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury
We assume that including Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury (34-0-1 with 24 KO's) on this list will be one of the more polarizing selections, considering that many people don't seem to like Fury's nickname.
Yet, we love “The Gypsy King” — if only because it's so random. Fury claims gypsies from all around the world watch him box, so the moniker seems to be working for him.
8. Ronald “Winky” Wright
At eighth on our best boxing nicknames list, we have Ronald “Winky” Wright (51-6-1 with 25 KO's). The reason we love “Winky” as a nickname is that it would appear to be the opposite of intimidating — which is what most boxers aspire for when selecting a moniker. Yet, intimidating or not, “Winky” sure knew had to deal damage in the ring.
7. “Sugar” Ray Robinson
Another absolute legend of the sport clocks in at number seven on our list: “Sugar” Ray Robinson (174-19-6 with 109 KO's).
“Sugar” Ray Robinson is on the short list for best boxer of all time — and his nickname deserves its due praise, as well. Short, sweet, and to the point, “Sugar” has been a moniker often replicated by many martial artists over the years — but none do it better than Mr. Robinson.
6. Danielle “Skippity Paps” Perkins
While active female boxer Danielle “Skippity Paps” Perkins (3-0) might not be a household name at the moment, her nickname is already among the greatest of all time.
Perkins started saying “Give 'em the Skippity Paps” after watching videos of cats on their hind legs moving their front paws — prompting her teammate to give her “Skippity Paps” as a nickname. And, quite frankly, we're here for it.
5. Eric “Butterbean” Esche
Eric “Butterbean” Esche (77-8-4 with 58 KO's) is so well-known for his “Butterbean” nickname that few people actually know that his first name is Eric. Similar to with “Winky”, we love “Butterbean” as a boxer's nickname because it's so disarming. If someone was entering a fight against someone called “Butterbean”, and that nickname was all they knew about them, that someone would be liking their chances.
Yet, they better hope is isn't this “Butterbean” who shows up against them.
4. Juan “The Hispanic Causin' Panic” Lazcano
At fourth on our 20 best boxing nicknames list, we have what might be the funniest boxing nickname of all time: that of Juan “The Hispanic Causin' Panic” Lazcano (37-5-1 with 27 KO's).
We can't imagine that anybody would have an argument with this nickname being a top-five best moniker in boxing history; not to mention that “The Hispanic Causin' Panic” was a great fighter, as well. While Lazcano never won a title, his nickname guarantees that his legacy will live on longer than most champions.
3. “Iron” Mike Tyson
How could we talk about the best nicknames in boxing history if we weren't going to include “Iron” Mike Tyson (50-6 with 44 KO's) near the very top of the list?
While this moniker is such a simple one, it has always felt like the perfect fit for Tyson, who is generally considered The Baddest Man on the Planet. Not only did “Iron” Mike Tyson become the youngest fighter to ever win a world title (when he beat Trevor Berbick at age 20 in 1986), but Tyson also faced (and knocked out) a number of elite heavyweights across his incredible career; including names like Pinklon Thomas, Tony Tucker, Tony Tubbs, Larry Holmes and Razor Ruddock.
Of course, Tyson is almost as well known for his battles outside of the ring than he is for the battles inside of it. Yet, regardless of how you feel personally about this legend, nobody can deny that this man should be considered one of the greatest heavyweights ever — and his nickname deserves some love, too.
2. Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao
While there's some debate about whether this nickname is two words or three, nobody can deny that Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao (54-4-2 with 38 KO's) has one of the best nicknames in boxing history. Personally, we like the one-word version more.
“PacMan” is the first man to win world championships in eight weight classes, and has held four lineal, or recognized, world titles in those divisions. What's more, the influence that Pacquiao has had in Asia (specifically the Philippines, where he hails from) in terms of attracting fans and young athletes to boxing is unmatched. For that reason, it's safe to say that “PacMan” is biggest international star in boxing history.
While Pacquiao's nickname might have been a given, considering its similarity to his last name, it is still absolutely perfect. In our opinion, only one nickname surpasses it for best nickname in boxing history.
1. The Best Boxing Nickname in History: “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali
You had to know there would be no other best nickname in boxing than than of “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali (56-5 with 37 KO's), right?
This nickname is simple, punchy, and perfectly depicts a man who is not only considered to be, well, The Greatest boxer of all time, but also a cultural icon, due to his protests of the Vietnam War that seized the nation in the late 1960s.
Ali's legacy within the sport of boxing is second to none, and we'd wager that more people have heard Muhammad Ali's name than any other boxer of all time. While these people might not necessarily know that his official nickname is “The Greatest”, they're probably still going to call him that, after seeing his highlights.
If nicknames are meant to be iconic, how more iconic can it get than Ali's? For that reason, deeming “The Greatest” as the Best Boxing Nickname of all time was an easy choice. Now all there's left to do is watch some of this legend's best moments in the ring, and remember why that nickname is well-deserved.