By Gustavo Braga on September 2, 2014
Boxing is a sport of contact, strength, endurance and will. It's entertainment value is usually associated with the fight itself, but there's also an interesting and not always appreciated aspect of boxing that real fans make sure to notice: nicknames.
Manos de Piedra - Hands of Stone. The translation says it all. Whoever the Panamanian Duran punched would feel like a hard stone being thrown at their face. With a record of 104-16, he won world-titles in four weight classes. Besides the record and the remarkable fights, a healthy rivalry against Sugar Ray Leonard helped him get his reputation as one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time.
"Made in Hell" is one of my favorite nicknames and suits a Russian hitting machine, known for consistently pounding their adversaries, although not a very explosive fighter. His biggest accomplishments are the IBF Light Middleweight Championship and having defeated Keith Holmes and Kassim Ouma.
Bell is a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, having held the WBA, WBC, IBF and The Ring magazine cruiserweight titles. Despite his accolades, one of his most memorable moments is when he got arrested for supposedly throwing an axe at his sparring partner in 2007. "Give 'em hell" he must have said.
The Golden Boy won his gold medal in Barcelona 1992, months after graduating high school. The two-time Ring Magazine's top rated pound-for-pound fighter defeated 17 world champions and won 10 different world titles in six different weight classes. If that is not enough for earning the nickname golden boy, I don't know what is.
The Duke, an homage to his uncle John Wayne, was a World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion. With a record of 48-3-1, he was expected to be a multi-champion, but in 1996 it was announced that he had contracted HIV and had to stop fighting. At the time he blamed himself and his "reckless and permissive lifestyle". Much controversy surrounded his illness, but in 2013 The Duke died after years of battling the disease.
For non-boxing fans, Holyfield is known as the guy who lost part of his ear to Mike Tyson's bites. For the rest of us, he is much, much more. He is the only four-time World Heavyweight Champion and the only former undisputed World Champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, thus the nickname real deal. There isn't much more we can say about the guy who managed to earn another cute nickname: The Warrior.
Mike Tyson is the guy that was in "Hangover" and went to jail, right? Yes, but Tyson is also a former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world who holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF titles. A force to be reckoned with on the ring, he went 50-6 with two no contests in one of the most successful careers in boxing history.
His nicknames are: Iron Mike, Kid Dynamite and The Baddest Man On The Planet. Cool, huh?
The 14th highest paid athlete in the world in 2013, Pacman is a winner. He is the first and only eight-division world champion, having won ten world titles, as well as the first to win the lineal championship in four different weight classes.
With a record of 56-5-2, he is still competing while managing to divide his time between boxing and being a politician in the Philippines.
One of the most entertaining fighters out there, the 49-year-old is the oldest fighter to ever win and defend a world title. Before that, he had defended the world middleweight title a record 20 times before losing it in 2005. With a record of 55-6-2 and two no contests, he held at least one of the middleweight titles from 1994 to 2005. The Ring ranked him third on their list of the the best middleweight title holders of the last 50 years.
The best to ever step on a ring. The master of footwork. The bad man. The people's champion. There are so many ways to describe Muhammad Ali that choosing just one would be unfair. A controversial figure on and off the ring, he managed to showcase all of his skills and win titles while being a role model for the society he lived in. A defender of equality and rights, he will always be remembered as the best that ever was.
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