The 50 Greatest Nicknames in Boxing History
Boxing has had its share of interesting nicknames over the years. From the crazy to the accurate, from the funny to the bizarre. They're all here, the best 50 nicknames in the long history of boxing.
This list is not done in any particular order. It simply compiles the best of the best all in one place. Let the arguments, disagreements and debates begin.
1. James "Lights Out" Toney
James "Lights Out" Toney was a superior defensive fighter known as much for his bulging waistline as his skill in the ring. Toney (74-7-3 45 KO) won championships at middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight. He also won a share of the heavyweight championship from John Ruiz, but the decision was overturned when Toney failed a drug test.
Toney chalked up victories over several high-profile names in his 20-plus-year career, including Mike McCallum, Iran Barkley, Michael Nunn and Evander Holyfield.
With over 80 fights and world championships in three weight classes, "Lights Out" is a no-brainer for induction into the boxing Hall of Fame.
2. Arturo "Thunder" Gatti
Arturo "Thunder" Gatti wasn't the most skilled fighter in the ring, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a gutsier warrior who ever stepped between the ropes.
Gatti (40-9 31 KO) was best known for his all-out style of fighting and his willingness to accept all challenges. The typical Gatti fight would end with him willing to swallow four punches for every one he landed, with both eyes either swollen, bruised or bleeding. Despite all that, Gatti won more than his share of great fights.
This included his three wars with fellow tough guy Mickey Ward between 2002 and 2003 in which Gatti emerged victorious twice.
While known primarily for his fighting style, Gatti was also very successful in the ring, winning world titles in three weight classes. Unfortunately, he was taken from us before his time under suspicious circumstances in 2009. But his legacy as a blood-and-guts warrior lives on in the hearts of all who saw him fight.
3. James "Bonecrusher" Smith
James "Bonecrusher" Smith won the IBF heavyweight championship with a stunning first-round knockout of Tim Witherspoon in December of 1986. Perhaps more importantly, he surrendered that title via unanimous decision early the next year against young fighter named Mike Tyson.
Smith (44-17-1 32 KO) was a big player in the heavyweight division in the 1980s, scoring victories over Witherspoon, Frank Bruno and Jesse Ferguson. He briefly held a share of the heavyweight championship before losing it to Tyson. The fight was significant even in defeat, as Smith became just the third fighter, and first to go 12 rounds, to hear the final bell against "Iron" Mike.
4. Juan "The Hispanic Causin' Panic" Lazcano
Juan "The Hispanic Causin' Panic" Lazcano was an underrated fighter who, despite a good record, only challenged for a world championship once. In that fight, he lost a narrow decision to Mexican superstar Jose Luis Castillo.
Lazcano (37-5-1 27 KO) defeated solid but faded veterans Jesse James Leija and John John Molina during his career. But his signature victory came over former lighweight champion Stevie Johnston in 2003.
Despite his inability to win a world title, that isn't what this list is about, and who can argue that "The Hispanic Causin' Panic" isn't one of the great nicknames in boxing history?
5. Oliver "The Atomic Bull" McCall
Oliver "The Atomic Bull" McCall shocked the boxing world in 1994 when he knocked out then-undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in the second round. He would go on to successfully defend the title once before dropping it to Frank Bruno and then losing a controversial rematch against Lewis in which McCall broke down crying in the ring.
McCall (56-12 37 KO), who still fights as a fringe contender today at age 47, will always be best known for his signature fights against Lennox Lewis. One was a defining moment in his career, and the other one was one of the most bizarre incidents in the history of the sport.
6. Thomas "Hitman/Motor City Cobra" Hearns
Thomas Hearns has the distinction of having not one but two great boxing nicknames. Whether you prefer to go with the more well-known "Hitman" or the "Motor City Cobra," there is no doubt that Hearns belongs on this list.
Hearns (61-5-1 48 KO) was one of the most feared boxers of his generation. And he fought literally everybody there was to fight. He won world championships in five weight classes from welterweight all the way up to light heavyweight.
Hearns stepped in there with the greats of his generation, owning victories over Wilfred Benitez and Roberto Duran and losses against Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler. His two fights against Leonard, one a KO loss and the other a draw, are widely considered some of the greatest fights in boxing history.
7. Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini
Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini was an average to above-average fighter with a tremendous heart. He was often willing to absorb multiple shots just to land one of his own.
Mancini (29-5 23 KO) wasn't a one-punch knockout artist despite his nickname. He would often wear opponents down, as much with his ability to take punishment and keep coming as with his own shots. He won the WBA lightweight title in 1982 and made several successful defenses.
Despite this, his signature moment probably came in a blood-and-guts war against Alexis Arguello in 1981. Despite the loss, Mancini gave as good as he got for the majority of the 14 rounds and won a great deal of respect from the boxing community.
8. Andrew "Six Heads" Lewis
Andrew "Six Heads" Lewis won the vacant WBA welterweight title in 2001 and defended it once before having all six of those heads knocked off by Ricardo Mayorga in 2002.
Lewis (23-4-2 20 KO) had good power and won a world title, but his career lacks a signature win. He was knocked out twice when he stepped up in competition—once against Mayorga and also a second-round knockout against Antonio Margarito.
Lewis is also known for retiring in the seventh round of a 2006 fight against Danny Dalton because of an urgent need to use the bathroom. At the time of the stoppage, Lewis was well ahead on all three scorecards.
9. Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker
Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker was a defensive marvel in the ring. He was one of the best pure boxers in boxing history, and his ring intelligence is second-to-none.
Whitaker (40-4-1 17 KO) won world titles in three weight classes and dominated the welterweight division in the mid-1990s. He held the WBC welterweight championship, which he won from Buddy McGirt in 1993, for four years until a controversial loss to Oscar De La Hoya in 1997. Many still contend that Whitaker should have received the judges' nod that night and not De la Hoya.
Whitaker was also on the short end of another controversial decision—a draw, though no less egregious, against Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez in 1993. A fight that Whitaker clearly dominated and clearly won was instead declared a draw despite the facts in the ring that night in Texas.
Despite these setbacks, it was clear to anyone who saw him that Pernell Whitaker was an all-time great with an all-time great nickname.
10. DaVarryl "Touch of Sleep" Williamson
DaVarryl "Touch of Sleep" Williamson came to boxing late and was a fringe heavyweight contender in the early 2000s. He challenged for a share of the heavyweight championship once, losing a close unanimous decision to IBF champion Chris Byrd in 2005.
Williamson (27-7 23 KO) is known for his punching power, as evidenced by his 23 knockouts in 27 professional wins. While his resume is made up largely of journeymen and fringe contenders, this is still an impressive stat and led to the well-earned "Touch of Sleep" nickname.
11. Mike "Bodysnatcher" McCallum
Mike "Bodysnatcher" McCallum dominated the 154-pound weight class in the mid-'80s. He won the WBA junior middleweight title in 1984 and made seven successful defenses before moving up to middleweight. His first world title challenge at 160 pounds was unsuccessful, but the setback was brief, as he would win the WBA middleweight title in 1990.
In 1994, McCallum (49-5-1 36 KO) would secure a third world title in a third weight class, winning the WBC light heavyweight championship. During his career, he would step into the ring with fellow greats of his generation, Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney. Although he wasn't able to defeat either man in the ring, the "Bodysnatcher" will still go down as one of the best of his era.
12. "Merciless" Ray Mercer
"Merciless" Ray Mercer is best known for his granite chin. A 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist who compiled an impressive amateur career while in the U.S. Army, Mercer is also a former WBO heavyweight champion.
Mercer (36-7-1 26 KO) won his first and only heavyweight championship in 1991 with a stunning knockout of previously undefeated Tommy Morrison. He was also known for engaging in wars with two of the best of his generation, both decision losses, against Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis.
While both fights were close, many felt that Mercer got the short end of the stick against Lennox Lewis in a fight he deserved to win. Later in his career, his granite chin would fail him in a heavyweight title challenge against Wladimir Klitschko. But by that point, the man known as "Merciless" was badly faded.
13. Owen "What the Heck" Beck
Owen "What the Heck" Beck was a fringe contender in the heavyweight division in the mid-2000s. He was never a terribly good fighter and lost every time he stepped up his competition level.
But Beck (29-11 20 KO) did have one great nickname. "What the Heck" challenged for a world title once in his career, a fifth-round knockout loss to Nikolai Valuev in 2006. Since then, he has become a journeyman gatekeeper-type fighter, having lost his last eight fights.
14. Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Pazienza
Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Pazienza was one of the most colorful characters to ever step foot into a boxing ring. But even with his colorful antics both inside and outside the ring, he was quite an accomplished fighter, having won world titles in the lightweight and junior middleweight divisions.
Paz (50-10, 30 KO) competed at every weight between lightweight and light heavyweight during his long career. Despite his two world championships, he was never able to recognize elite status, losing to fighters such as Hector Camacho and Roy Jones Jr. when he stepped up in class.
15. Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson
Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson spent most of his career as one of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Competing in the lower weight classes, Johnson won world titles at flyweight, super flyweight and bantamweight. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012.
Johnson (44-5 28 KO) was also a standout amateur fighter and was considered to have been avoided by bigger name fighters of his era, including Johnny Tapia and Ricardo Lopez.
16. Michael "Second To" Nunn
Michael "Second To" Nunn was a standout amateur fighter who narrowly missed out on the Olympics and won world titles at middleweight and super middleweight.
Nunn (58-4 37 KO) was a slick, 6'2" southpaw with tremendous punching power and a force in the middleweight division for many years. He won his first world title in 1988 by dominating previously undefeated Frank Tate. He defended the title five times before a stunning knockout loss to James Toney in a fight. Nunn was well ahead on the cards at the time of the stoppage.
Nunn would also go on to win a share of the super middleweight championship.
In 2004, he was sentenced to 24 years in prison on drug charges.
17. Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter
Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter burst on the heavyweight scene at a time it was looking for a savior.
Peter (34-5 27 KO) briefly appeared to be the man for the job. He had scary punching power and was an imposing foe for any opponent. In 2005, he lost a unanimous decision to future champion Wladimir Klitschko in a fight where the Ukrainian giant was dropped three times. He would lose decisively to Klitschko in 2010 by 10th-round knockout.
Peter would move on to defeat James Toney twice, once highly controversial, and then Oleg Maskaev for the WBC heavyweight title. He would lose the title in his first defense, being dominated by Wladimir's older brother Vitali en route to a 10th-round stoppage.
"The Nigerian Nightmare" hasn't fought since losing a 2011 fight to prospect Robert Helenius by knockout.
18. "The Golden Boy" Oscar De La Hoya
There are few fighters who have transcended the sport of boxing in the way "The Golden Boy" has done throughout his career.
Oscar De La Hoya won Olympic gold at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, earning his nickname. It was one he would live up to, becoming the highest grossing fighter in the history of boxing.
Throughout an illustrious career, De La Hoya (39-6 30 KO) defeated 17 world champions and won titles in six weight classes. He is also known for often finding himself involved in controversial decisions. Many people feel he should've lost to Pernell Whitaker, but deserved to win against Felix Trinidad. Others contend he lost to Felix Sturm, but should've gotten the nod in his rematch with Shane Mosley.
In 2007, De La Hoya, along with Floyd Mayweather Jr., competed in the highest grossing PPV fight in boxing history. While De La Hoya was unable to take Money's zero, he was highly competitive and dropped a narrow split decision some felt he could've eeked out.
After retiring from the sport in 2009 after being dominated by Manny Pacquiao, he has thrown himself all into the promoting end of the sport as head of Golden Boy Promotions.
19. DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley
DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley is a former WBO junior welterweight champion who is known for his nickname and his outlandish, sometimes outright crazy ring attire.
Corley (39-19-1 23 KO) has fought many of the best of his era, coming up short in fights against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto and Zab Judah. He won the WBO junior welterweight title in 2001 in a fight he took on just five days notice.
In his later career, he has become a stepping-stone fighter, having two separate six-fight losing streaks. He has won his last two fights, including an upset of British fighter Paul McClosky in May of this year.
20. Rubin "Hurricane" Carter
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter is perhaps better known for his life outside the ring that the one in it. Carter spend many years in jail on murder chargers that were later thrown out by a federal court after accusations of racism and withholding of evidence during the trial.
As a fighter, Carter (27-12-1 19 KO) competed as a middleweight and was known for his tremendous punching power and highly aggressive fighting style. It was these traits that earned him the nickname "Hurricane."
While he never won a world championship, his signature moment came when he knocked out former and future world champion Emile Griffith in 1963.
21. "The Easton Assassin" Larry Holmes
Larry Holmes, "The Easton Assassin," is one of the most feared heavyweights of all time. His left jab is, to this day, considered one of the most lethal weapons to ever appear in a boxing ring.
Holmes (69-6, 44 KO) burst on the scene with a dominant victory over hard-hitting contender Earnie Shavers in 1978. This would set up a war between Holmes and WBC champion Ken Norton, a fight in which Holmes won a tight split decision after taking the 15th and final round on two of the official scorecards.
Holmes would defend the title 20 times, second only to Joe Louis' record of 25, and defeat fighters such as Shavers, Mike Weaver, a returning Muhammad Ali, Trevor Berbick, James "Bonecrusher" Smith and Carl Williams.
He would finally relinquish the title in a huge upset decision loss to reigning light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks in 1985. Holmes would never again hold a world title, though he did challenge three more times, dropping fights to Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Oliver McCall.
22. Iran "The Blade" Barkley
Iran "The Blade" Barkley won world championships at middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight during his career. His first world title he won in a stunning knockout of Thomas Hearns in 1988.
Barkley (43-19-1 27 KO) lost the title in his first defense, a war with Roberto Duran, and then dropped a close majority decision to Michael Nunn. He would win a world title at super-middleweight and then take a light heavyweight title belt, again from Tommy Hearns, in 1992.
Barkley's career spiraled out of control after losing his super-middleweight title to James Toney in 1993. He fell on hard times after campaigning as a heavyweight and was recently homeless. It has been rumored that he has considered a return to boxing at the age of 51.
23. "The Explosive Thin Man" Alexis Arguello
"The Explosive Thin Man," Alexis Arguello, is one of the most devastating punchers in the history of boxing. He was a three-time world champion and has the distinction of being one of the few fighters in boxing history to never lose a title in the ring. All of his titles were vacated when he moved to higher weight classes to pursue new gold.
Arguello (82-8 65 KO) is perhaps best known for his two wars with fellow boxing Hall of Famer Aaron Pryor. Though he lost both by stoppage, he is still considered to be one of the best fighters of his era.
24. Evander "The Real Deal" Holyfield
Evander "The Real Deal" Holyfield is a former undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight champion. He is also the only man to ever win a share of the heavyweight crown on four separate occasions.
Holyfield (44-10-2 29 KO) holds victories over a virtual who's who of the heavyweight division of the late 1980s and 1990s. These include wins over Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer, George Foreman, Larry Holmes and Ray Mercer. He is also known for his series of wars with cruiserweight Dwight Qawi.
Unfortunately, Holyfield's career has continued well past his prime and has devolved into a sort of circus sideshow. He continues fighting to this day, seeking to once again become undisputed heavyweight champion; a goal which, at this stage, is just short of delusional.
25. "Iron" Mike Tyson
"Iron" Mike Tyson burst on the heavyweight scene in the mid-'80s with devastating power and the ability to win fights by intimidating his opponents before they stepped into the ring.
Tyson (50-6 44 KO) won his first world title against Trevor Berbick in 1986, and at the age of 20 was the youngest to ever do so. He also became the first heavyweight fighter in history to unify the titles from the IBF, WBA and WBC.
The Baddest Man on the Planet, Tyson won his first 19 bouts by knockout, 12 of these in the first round. During his title reign, Tyson defeated many, if not most, of the top heavyweights of his time, including Berbick, Pinklon Thomas, Tony Tucker, Tony Tubbs, Larry Holmes and Razor Ruddock. Tyson is also known for his one-round demolition of lineal heavyweight champion Michael Spinks in 1988.
His shocking knockout loss to James "Buster" Douglas in 1990 still ranks among the most shocking upsets in the history of boxing.
Tyson was also known for his out-of-the-ring struggles (including a rape conviction in 1992) and his later mental health struggles. After returning from prison in 1995, Tyson again won two-thirds of the heavyweight title before being shockingly dethroned again, this time by Evander Holyfield.
After the losses to Holyfield, the second coming after Tyson bit off a piece of the Real Deal's ear, his career devolved into a sideshow. A 2002 knockout loss against Lennox Lewis was his last relevant fight.
Tyson is a member of the Boxing Hall of Fame.
26. "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler
"Marvelous" Marvin Hagler was the dominant force in the middleweight division throughout most of the 1980s. His reign as undisputed champion lasted from 1980 to 1987, and during that time he made 12 defenses of his crown.
Hagler (62-3-2 52 KO) is consistently ranked among the top five middleweights of all time and is considered to have one of the best chins in boxing history. During his career, he rang up impressive victories over Tommy Hearns, a decisive third-round knockout, and Roberto Duran.
His best known fight, however, was probably a highly controversial decision loss to "Sugar" Ray Leonard in 1987. The fight was razor-close, with both fighters landing a roughly equal number of shots, but Hagler being the more active of the two. The split-decision verdict for Leonard remains highly debated, with many defending it and many feeling Hagler deserved to keep his titles.
27. "Smokin" Joe Frazier
"Smokin" Joe Frazier was both an Olympic gold medalist and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. During his legendary career he defeated many top heavyweights, including Jerry Quarry, Buster Mathis, Eddie Machen and Jimmy Ellis.
In 1971, Frazier (32-4-1 27 KO) defeated fellow legend Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden by clear-cut unanimous decision. The fight, dubbed "The Fight of the Century," was Frazier's finest moment and sent Ali to the hospital with a broken jaw.
Frazier would lose his titles by knockout to George Foreman before losing a disputed 12-round decision rematch against Ali in 1974. Their third fight, "The Thrilla in Manilla," was also an Ali victory after Frazier's trainer Eddie Futch stopped the fight due to eye swelling in the 14th round.
The fight was known for its brutality, and despite the win, Ali declared after the fight that it was the "closest thing to dying that I know of."
Frazier would again lose to Foreman in his next fight before calling it a career.
28. Riddick "Big Daddy" Bowe
Riddick "Big Daddy" Bowe is a former two-time world heavyweight champion best known for his three-fight series with Evander Holyfield and his two fights with Andrew "Foul Pole" Golata.
Bowe (43-1 33 KO) stood 6'5" and was an imposing frame in the ring. He possessed great power and used this and his size to his advantage. He won the undisputed heavyweight championship in 1992, and in the process, handed Evander Holyfield his first career loss by unanimous decision.
Soon after the fight, Bowe famously relinquished the WBC heavyweight title by throwing it in a trash can rather than face mandatory opponent Lennox Lewis. Bowe's reputation took a major hit as a result of his perceived ducking of Lewis.
Bowe would go on to lose his rematch with Holyfield by a majority decision after entering the ring clearly out of shape. He would win their rubber match, however, and become the first man to knock out Holyfield.
Bowe would then fight Polish contender Andrew Golata twice, winning both fights by disqualification after Golata, who was ahead on the scorecards, landed repeated low blows.
29. Hector "Macho" Camacho
Hector "Macho" Camacho is one of a kind. From his out-of-ring bluster to his in-ring attire, there was absolutely nothing shy about this man.
Camacho (79-6-3 38 KO) won his first world championship by fifth-round knockout over former champion Rafael Limon. The belt had previously been declared vacant when champion Bobby Chacon refused to go to Puerto Rico to face Camacho.
It was the first of four world titles in three weight classes for the eclectic Puerto Rican star. During his career, he would score notable wins over Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez, Ray Mancini and Vinny Pazienza. Later in his career, he also scored virtually meaningless wins over faded Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard.
30. John "The Quiet Man" Ruiz
John "The Quiet Man" Ruiz was the first Latino world heavyweight champion and held the WBA championship on two separate occasions. He was mostly known for his boring jab-and-grab style of fighting, but holds wins over several well-known fighters.
Ruiz (44-9-1 30 KO) is known for his three-fight series with a faded Evander Holyfield. Holyfield won the first fight—becoming the only four-time heavyweight champion in history—but then dropped the rematch. This made Ruiz the first ever Latino to win a share of the heavyweight crown. Their third fight ended in a draw, though many felt Holyfield did enough to win.
Ruiz would go on to drop the WBA title in a historic match against light heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr. During the fight, the much faster Jones potshotted Ruiz at will en route to an easy unanimous decision.
Ruiz would regain the title with a unanimous decision over Hasim Rahman when Jones vacated the title to return to 175 pounds. He would once again make history with an 11th-round TKO of Fres Oquendo in 2004. This was the first fight in which two Latino fighters competed for a piece of the heavyweight title.
31. Ronald "Winky" Wright
You know a nickname is good when most people don't even know your first name. Ronald "Winky" Wright was a defensive specialist whose often tactical style did not endear him to many fans. Despite his immense boxing ability, this prevented him from becoming a big draw on his own.
Wright (51-6-1 25 KO) boasts a record that's a virtual who's who of his generation. In his career, Wright fought 12 world champions—defeating the likes of Shane Mosley (twice), Felix Trinidad and Ike Quartey.
Wright retired this year after dropping a clear decision to up-and-coming Peter Quillin. During his career he won the undisputed title at junior middleweight and, in the view of many, was robbed of a middleweight title when he fought to a disputed draw against Jermain Taylor in 2006.
32. "Prince" Naseem Hamed
"Prince" Naseem Hamed is perhaps best known for his over-the-top, staged ring entrances and crazy antics both inside and outside the ring. Some of Hamed's entrances included reenacting Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video and riding a magic carpet to the ring. He is also known for his front somersault entrance into the ring.
Hamed (36-1 31) was a dominant force in the featherweight division, winning the WBC, WBO and IBF titles as well as the lineal championship. During his reign at featherweight, Hamed defeated many quality fighters including current or former champions Manuel Medina, Tom Johnson, Kevin Kelley and Wilfredo Vazquez.
In 2001, Hamed lost his biggest fight, decisively, against Marco Antonio Barrera. Hamed was the heavy betting favorite coming into the fight but was not able to deal with Barrera's aggressiveness and power. He would only fight once more, in a win over European champion Manuel Calvo.
33. "The Flushing Flash" Kevin Kelley
"The Flushing Flash" Kevin Kelley won two New York Golden Gloves championships before turning pro. As a professional he won his first and only world championship, the WBC featherweight belt, by unanimous decision over Gregorio Vargas in 1993.
Kelley (60-10-2 39 KO) is known more for his notable losses than his victories. In 1997 he lost to "Prince" Naseem Hamed in The Ring Magazine's fight of the year. In the fight, both men were down three times with Hamed scoring the knockout blow in the fourth round.
Kelley also has notable losses against Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, but both occurred when he was well past his prime.
34. Tommy "The Duke" Morrison
Tommy "The Duke" Morrison is a former WBO heavyweight champion, having won the vacant title by unanimous decision over George Foreman in 1993. It was his second challenge for the title, having been knocked out in a previous attempt against Ray Mercer.
During his career he also scored notable wins over Pinklon Thomas, Joe Hipp and Donovan Ruddock.
Morrison (48-3-1 42 KO) never realized his vast potential, owing in large part to troubles outside the ring. His career was cut short in 1996 when he revealed he had tested positive for HIV, a fact he now disputes. He has made several attempts at comebacks, claiming his positive test was inaccurate, but he has had trouble obtaining necessary licenses.
35. Ike "Bazooka" Quartey
Ike "Bazooka" Quartey is a former WBA welterweight champion who fought many of the best of his era, though in losing efforts.
Quartey (37-4-1 31 KO) won the title by 11th-round knockout over Crisanto Espana in 1994. He would go on to defend the belt against notable opponents such as Vince Phillips and Oba Carr before challenging Oscar De La Hoya for the WBC belt in 1993.
Quartey put up a game performance against De La Hoya in a fight he lost by split decision. Many felt the fight was controversial and favored Quartey despite the fact that he was knocked down by The Golden Boy in the sixth and 12th rounds.
"Bazooka" also found himself on the short end of the stick in a comeback fight in 2005 against Vernon Forrest. Losing a unanimous decision to him in 2006, most ringside observers again felt that Quartey had gotten the short end of the stick in a fight he had won.
36. Donovan "Razor" Ruddock
Donovan "Razor" Ruddock was a highly promising heavyweight contender in the 1980s and early 1990s. Ruddock got the nickname "Razor" because of his cutting jab and tremendous power. He nicknamed his left hook "The Smash."
Ruddock (38-5-1 29 KO) turned in perhaps his best performance when he brutally knocked out former heavyweight champion Michael Dokes in 1990. He would then go on to lose two spirited bouts against Mike Tyson, one by knockout and one by decision in 1991.
Ruddock would also lose by knockout to Lennox Lewis and Tommy Morrison before stringing up a series of wins against B-level opposition and calling it a career.
37. "Manos De Piedra" Roberto Duran
"Hands of Stone" is one of those iconic nicknames in the sport which is attached to a man considered by most experts to be an all-time top-10 pound-for-pound fighter.
Roberto Duran (103-16 70 KO) won world titles in four weight classes: lightweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight. He is considered by many to be the greatest lightweight fighter of all time. A versatile brawler in the ring, Duran's most notable performances both came in the ring against Sugar Ray Leonard.
Duran would challenge Leonard in 1980 for a share of the welterweight crown. In a fight that had a highly contentious lead-up, Duran won a unanimous 15-round decision and lifted the crown off of Sugar Ray.
The rematch later that year is known for the infamous and disputed "No Mas" moment when Duran inexplicably quit in the eighth round of a very close fight. To this day Duran disputes that he quit the fight simply because he didn't want to fight, but it has been a derisive nickname that has followed him ever since.
38. "Ferocious" Fernando Vargas
"Ferocious" Fernando Vargas is a former two-time junior middleweight world champion who was one of the hottest prospects in boxing during the late 1990s. Though he had a successful career, it could easily be said that Vargas did not reach his full potential.
Vargas (26-5 22 KO) defeated several quality fighters in his career including "Yory Boy" Campas, Raul Marquez, Winky Wright and Ike Quartey. He never appeared to be the same fighter after a brutal back-and-forth knockout loss to Felix Trinidad in 2000.
He would then go on to lose a grudge match, also by knockout, to rival Oscar De La Hoya. After a series of comeback fights against light opposition, Vargas returned to the upper echelon, losing twice to Shane Mosley, both in brutal fashion. He would call it a career after dropping a majority decision grudge match to Ricardo Mayorga in 2007.
39. Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins
Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins is one of the few current fighters you could say would be able to compete in any era of the sport. He is simply that good, and at age 47 is a physical marvel.
Hopkins' (52-6-2 32 KO) list of career accomplishments is legendary: former undisputed middleweight champion (on more than one occasion), first man to retain all four sanctioning body titles and The Ring Magazine belt in one fight, a record 20 defenses of the middleweight title, former The Ring Magazine light heavyweight champion, the oldest man to ever win a world title at the age of 46. We can go on and on and on.
Even before achieving mainstream success, Hopkins was a successful middleweight champion, winning the belt against Segundo Mercado and defending it against notable fighters such as John David Jackson, Simon Brown and a then-undefeated Glen Johnson.
Hopkins participated in Don King's middleweight unification tournament in 2001 and dominated fellow champion Keith Holmes before moving on to face tournament favorite and pound-for-pound fighter Felix Trinidad. Trinidad entered the fight a huge favorite, only to be dominated and stopped by Hopkins in the 12th round at Madison Square Garden.
Hopkins would go on to dominate and stop Oscar De La Hoya in 2004. The fight ended with a vicious body shot in the ninth round.
In 2005 at the age of 40, Hopkins defeated Howard Eastman by easy unanimous decision to set the middleweight record of 20 defenses. He would finally lose the middleweight titles to Jermain Taylor, dropping two highly controversial decisions in fights that many felt Hopkins had won.
Giving up on the middleweight division, Hopkins jumped to light heavyweight to challenge Roy Jones Jr.-conquerer Antonio Tarver, who again entered the fight a heavy favorite. Hopkins dominated the fight from start to finish, earning a clear unanimous decision and The Ring Magazine light heavyweight championship.
He would successfully defend the title against Winky Wright before dropping it in a very close split decision against undefeated Joe Calzaghe. Due to his age, many felt Hopkins was at the end of his career; but he quickly proved them wrong.
Hopkins' next trick would be a move back down in weight for a catch-weight bout with undisputed middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik. Hopkins, again a massive underdog, turned in what he deemed the performance of his career, dropping and dominating the undisputed champion en route to a whitewash unanimous decision.
After settling an old score, defeating Roy Jones Jr. by unanimous decision, Hopkins contemplated a move to heavyweight but was rebuffed when WBA champion David Haye refused to fight him. Hopkins instead stayed at light heavyweight, where he attempted to become the oldest man to win a championship.
In his first challenge of champion Jean Pascal, a fight most felt Hopkins won, a draw was the decision. In their rematch, however, Hopkins was the clear victor, and at 46 years old, became the oldest man to win a world championship.
After losing the title to Chad Dawson this year, Hopkins has stated a desire to resume his career, but no fights have yet materialized.
40. O'Neil "Give 'Em Hell" Bell
O'Neil "Give 'em Hell" Bell is a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, having held the WBA, WBC, IBF and The Ring Magazine cruiserweight titles. In doing so, Bell became only the second undisputed champion in the overlooked division, joining Evander Holyfield.
Bell (26-3-1 24 KO) won his first title by defeating Dale Brown for the IBF belt in 2005 and then-defeated Jean-Marc Mormeck for the WBA and WBC titles in 2006. The win would be the last significant one of Bell's career to date, as he dropped the belts via unanimous decision to Mormerck and then lost by TKO to current heavyweight Tomasz Adamek in 2008.
41. Renoldo "Mister" Snipes
Renaldo "Mister" Snipes is best known for his title challenge against Larry Holmes in 1981.
Snipes (39-8-1 22 KO) was able to knock down Holmes in the seventh round of their bout and gave a good account of himself before being stopped in the 11th round.
Though he was more of a stepping stone-type fighter, Snipes was always dangerous and gave tough fights to notable names such as Tim Witherspoon, Greg Page and Tyrell Biggs. He defeated future WBC heavyweight champion Trevor Berbick in 1982 by unanimous decision, dropping him in the first round.
42. "The Brown Bomber" Joe Louis
You can have no discussion of the history of heavyweight boxing that does not include "The Brown Bomber." Joe Louis is considered by many to be simply the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time, and, yes, that includes Muhammad Ali.
Louis (69-3 57 KO) was the world heavyweight champion for a record 140 months; nearly 12 years. During that time he made a heavyweight record-25 successful defenses of his title. With devastating knockout power, Louis transcended the sport of boxing. He is widely credited with becoming the first African-American cultural icon in the United States at a time when African Americans were still struggling to gain acceptance.
43. Eric "Butterbean" Esche
Eric "Butterbean" Esche has one of those iconic and slightly ridiculous nicknames that make is so few people actually know his real name. Known as the "King of Four-Rounders," Esche appeared as a sideshow fan favorite on many a PPV card in the mid- to late 1990s.
Butterbean (77-8-4 58 KO) was known for his heavy, looping punches and his girth, always stepping in the ring at well over 300 pounds and often closer to 400.
Much of his career was spent knocking out club-level and journeyman-type fighters, though a few stray name fighters do appear on his resume. These include professional loser Louis Monaco, Mike Tyson comeback opponent Peter McNeeley and former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, who despite being well past his prime, defeated Butterbean by unanimous decision in 2002.
44. Roman "Made in Hell" Karmazin
Roman "Made In Hell" Karmazin is a former junior middleweight champion with one hell of a nickname (pun intended).
Karmazin (40-4-2 26 KO) is known as a steady volume puncher who won the IBF junior middleweight title against Kassim Ouma in 2005. He also defeated former middleweight champion Keith Holmes, but lost his title to Cory Spinks in 2006.
45. Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor
Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor is a supremely talented former undisputed middleweight champion of the world. He is best known for being the man to dethrone legendary champion Bernard Hopkins, though both of his wins were highly controversial.
Taylor (30-4-1 18 KO) has had a career full of controversy and disputed decisions. In addition to the Hopkins fights, which many felt he lost, he was the beneficiary of very close and controversial decisions against Winky Wright (a draw) and Cory Spinks.
Taylor lost his middleweight title by knockout against Kelly Pavlik. After dropping a decision rematch, he then moved up in weight and defeated Jeff Lacy. He next challenged WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch and entered the final round ahead on the scorecards before being stopped in the final seconds.
Taylor then participated in the Super Six challenge at 168 pounds and was brutally knocked out in the 12th round by undefeated Arthur Abraham in what was up to that point a competitive fight. Taylor suffered a severe concussion as a result and had short-term memory loss.
Taylor returned to the ring late in 2011 and has won two fights since returning, though many remain skeptical of his ability to compete again at a high level.
46. Glen "The Road Warrior" Johnson
Glen "The Road Warrior" Johnson has literally been all over during his professional career. In nearly 20 years in the sport, he has fought in the United States, England, the Bahamas, Aruba, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands Antilles, the Cayman Islands and Canada.
Johnson (51-17-2 35 KO) is a former IBF and The Ring Magazine light heavyweight champion, and he has stepped into the ring with a who's who of fighters from middleweight to light heavyweight in his generation.
As an undefeated contender he lost by 11th round TKO to Bernard Hopkins in 1997. After the loss to Hopkins, Johnson became a world traveler and was 7-9-1 in his previous 17 fights coming into a challenge for the IBF light heavyweight title against Clinton Woods in 2003. Johnson and Woods fought to a draw the first time around, with Johnson winning the rematch by unanimous decision to secure his first world title.
Johnson would then get the signature win of his career, shockingly and brutally knocking out Roy Jones Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee in 2004 before adding The Ring title to his collection with a split decision over Antonio Tarver the same year.
Johnson would lose the title to Tarver in a 2005 rematch and has since been repeatedly brought back as a live, name challenger for many of today's top fighters. In recent years, Johnson has fought, and lost to, Chad Dawson (the first fight was highly controversial), Tavoris Cloud, Carl Froch and Lucien Bute.
47. Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao
Where does one begin talking about Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao? He is the first man to win world championships in eight weight classes, and has held four lineal, or recognized, world titles in those divisions. He has also been voted the Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America and The Ring Magazine on three separate occasions.
Pacquiao (54-4-2 38 KO) has literally fought, and beat, the very biggest and best names of his generation in virtually every weight class. He holds wins over Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley.
"Pacman" has had a run that's nearly unprecedented, and in so doing has become the biggest international star in boxing history. A possible superfight with fellow legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been discussed (seemingly forever) in order to determine the best fighter in the world today and for this era. There is renewed hope that the two sides can come to an agreement for a fight some time next year, which would be the biggest in the history of boxing.
48. "The Baby-Faced Assassin" Marco Antonio Barrera
"The Baby-Faced Assassin," Marco Antonio Barrera, was a multi-time world champion in three weight classes: super-bantamweight, featherweight and super-featherweight. During his illustrious career he fought many of the best and is best known for his trilogy with fellow Mexican fighter Erik Morales.
Barrera (67-7 44 KO) won his first world title at super-bantamweight in 1995. He defended the title eight times, with notable wins over future champ Agapito Sanchez and Kennedy McKinney on the first telecast of HBO's Boxing After Dark series. Barrera would lose the title when he dropped consecutive bouts to Junior Jones.
Barrera would regain the title after it was vacated, but would lose it in a unification bout with WBC champion Erik Morales in 2000. The fight, considered by many to be one of the best ever, was all-action and controversy, as Morales squeaked out a narrow split decision. Many at ringside felt that Barrera did deserve the nod, but the fight was so close it was hard to really argue the verdict.
Barrera's star would once again shine when he moved up to featherweight in 2001 and, as a heavy underdog, dominated then-undefeated British star "Prince" Naseem Hamed. With the unanimous decision victory, Barrera captured the lineal featherweight championship.
He would then parlay this victory into a rematch with rival Morales, with Barrera coming out on top this time by unanimous decision, adding the WBC and The Ring Magazine featherweight titles to his shelf.
This time he would hold the belts until 2003, when he was blitzed and knocked out by a then-relatively unknown fighter by the name of Manny Pacquiao. He would win his final world championship at super-featherweight, beating old rival Erik Morales by unanimous decision in the 2004 The Ring Magazine fight of the year.
As his career winded down, Barrera successfully defended the title twice against Rocky Juarez before dropping it to fellow Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez. This was followed by a second loss (this time by unanimous decision) to Manny Pacquiao and a series of victories against journeymen before a technical decision loss to Amir Khan in 2009 effectively ended his career as a top-level fighter.
49. Freddie "Lil' Hagler" Norwood
Freddie "Lil' Hagler" Norwood was a very successful featherweight fighter who held the WBA championship and defended it eight times. His most notable defense during that time was a unanimous decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in 1999.
Norwood (43-4-1 23 KO) held the title until he faced Derrick Gainer in 2000 in what can only be described as an all-out war. He lost the title on a highly controversial 11th-round TKO. In an exchange on the ropes, Norwood landed what appeared to be a borderline low blow on Gainer. When referee Paul Sita came in to separate the fighters, putting his arms around Norwood, Gainer landed two solid and deliberate low blows, dropping Norwood to the mat.
Sita then administered an 18 count to Norwood (the ending begins at the 4:08 mark) before inexplicably stopping the fight and awarding Gainer a TKO victory and the title. Norwood retired from boxing after the fight. He returned six years later but never competed at a top level again.
50. "The Greatest" Muhammad Ali
Saving the best for last. "The Greatest" Muhammad Ali was simply that; the best to set foot in the ring. Ali was more than a boxing icon, he was a cultural icon and a symbol of the anti-Vietnam War movement that seized the nation in the late 1960s.
Ali, who had been world champion for three years at the time, refused induction into the U.S. Army in 1967 and was subsequently stripped of both his title and his boxing license. He was ultimately arrested and convicted on charges of draft evasion, but he never served time in prison, as his appeal was eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ali would go on to participate in some of the best known fights in the history of the heavyweight division and all of boxing. His three-fight series with fellow legend "Smokin'" Joe Frazier remains to this day one of the most legendary rivalries in all of sports.
Ali dropped the first fight to Frazier by unanimous decision in New York City in a fight deemed "The Fight of the Century." Ali would go on to win 12 of his next 13 fights including notables over Buster Mathis, Jerry Quarrey, Floyd Patterson, Bob Foster and a split with Ken Norton, before challenging Frazier again.
This time Ali would get the nod, defeating his rival by unanimous decision and setting up a fight with up-and-comer "Big" George Foreman. "The Rumble in the Jungle" would pit Ali against the younger Foreman in a matchup many felt Ali would not win. The fight took place on October 24, 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire (today The Democratic Republic of the Congo).
But "The Greatest" would not be denied. He allowed Foreman to throw as many punches as he wanted, most landing on Ali's gloves and arms. This strategy, later called rope-a-dope, tired out the bigger and stronger Foreman and allowed Ali to land consistent hard shots to the face.
By the eighth round, an exhausted Foreman was primed for Ali. Ali landed a series of shots to the head, culminating in a straight right that would end Foreman's night and give Ali the most unlikely win of his career.
Ali would not be done with big fights, however, once again taking on old rival Joe Frazier in 1975. This time Ali left no doubt, winning "The Thrilla in Manilla" by 14th-round knockout. Ali would lose the world title in 1978, dropping a split decision to Leon Spinks.
He would regain the title for the final time, winning a rematch with Spinks later in the same year. In doing so, he would become the first and only man to ever hold the lineal heavyweight championship three times.