The 10 Most Entertaining Characters in Boxing History
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Boxing is filled with wild and entertaining characters from top to bottom. From Hector “Macho” Camacho to Muhammad Ali, fighters are looking to sell an image so that people will watch their fights.
Some fighters are naturally wild and over-the-top, while others have perfected a marketable style to sell bouts to fans. Regardless, the outrageous antics, bright outfits and tough talk are something that people love to see and hear. Without these things, boxing would be a bore.
Boxers, promoters and even trainers can add to the excitement and marketability of a fight simply by being, well, characters.
The people in this list are loud, flashy and sometimes offensive. Let’s take a look at the 10 most entertaining characters in boxing history.
Floyd Mayweather Sr.
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images
Below are some of the most entertaining characters who didn't make the cut.
If you’ve ever seen the Mayweathers—minus Jeff, who is the quiet one of the bunch—on an episode of HBO’s 24/7 or Showtime’s All Access, you know they are a wild and unpredictable group. One minute they are dysfunctional, the next minute they are working hand-in-hand.
Jack Johnson was a bad man, and he knew it. He taunted his opponents as he dominated them in the ring while beating down the racial stereotypes of his time.
Drew Bundini Brown
A master of the spoken word, Bundini Brown helped fuel the persona of Muhammad Ali. Aside from his work with Ali, he also worked as a cornerman for Sugar Ray Robinson.
Haye is a wild card who talks a bog game to anyone placed in front of him. Before facing the giant heavyweight, Nikolai Valuev, Haye called him "the ugliest human beings" he had ever seen, according to the BBC.
Whether he's commentating for Showtime, promoting a fight or giving an interview, "The Magic Man" tells it like it is. He toned down his act when he joined Golden Boy Promotions but has since reignited his trash-talking ways in advance of his bout with Adrien Broner.
James Toney has always been one of boxing’s most outspoken characters. If Toney doesn't like you, he'll let you know it.
Today, Toney isn’t the same top-level boxer he used to be, but his insults haven’t missed a beat. The creation of memes has taken his feud with Antonio Tarver to new heights, and he still calls out the Klitschkos any chance he gets, saying the “sisters” want nothing to do with him, according to the Sweet Science.
Even when he decided to try his hand at MMA—which didn’t go so well—Toney became a hit for his trash-talking ability.
Toney told BoxingScene.com that he knocked out Deion Sanders when the two were up-and-coming prep football players. If only YouTube were around back then.
Al Bello/Getty Images
Aside from his unconventional fighting style, “Prince” Naseem Hamed was known for his flamboyant and over-the-top ring entrances.
After his customary theatrical ring walk, Hamed’s trademark move was to do a front somersault into the ring. He talked a good bit of trash and built up his reputation as a showboat.
Hamed’s career fizzled out after an upset loss to Mexican legend, Marco Antonio Barrera.
In one of his most eye-popping ring entrances, Hamed once flew in on a magic carpet against Vuyani Bungu in 2000.
Al Bello/Getty Images
While John Ruiz was known as "The Quietman," Norman “Stoney” Stone was as outspoken and foul mouthed as any trainer in the history of boxing.
Stone was known for providing hilarious sound bites as he coached his prized pupil Ruiz, whom he adoringly called "Johnny."
After being disgusted by a controversial decision loss for Ruiz, Stone retired from boxing in 2005.
Stone had many expletive-filled rants in his career, but one of the most entertaining outbursts came during Ruiz’s fight with Andrew Golota. An angry Stone let loose on referee Randy Neumann, which even made Roy Jones Jr. laugh.
Jorge "Maromero" Paez was known as the clown prince of boxing. A veteran of the Mexican circus, Paez was an acrobat and a master showman.
What separated Paez from a lot of other boxing showboats were his legitimate skills. Paez won his first title in 1988 by defeating Calvin Grove in 15 rounds—boxing’s last televised 15-round championship fight.
Still, the wacky haircuts and funky ring walks were some of the most memorable aspects of Paez's game. Like Hector Camacho Sr., Paez’s pizazz was legendary and would fit perfectly into today’s over-the-top, social media-driven boxing landscape.
Against Rafael Ruelas, Paez entered the ring in one of his most memorable outfits—a wedding dress.
Harry How/Getty Images
How do you celebrate after winning the welterweight title in a stunning upset? Naturally, you smoke a cigarette in the ring. At least, that's how Ricardo Mayorga celebrated.
“El Matador” gained notoriety in 2002 with an impressive knockout of Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis. Mayorga immediately caught the public’s attention with his tough talk and walk. He seemed like a character out of a movie.
Mayorga has insulted every one of his opponents with vicious intent. And no matter how distasteful his antics were, you have to admire that he faced some of the best boxers of his time.
Mayorga hasn’t fought as a boxer since March 2011. But in May 2013, he made his MMA debut and proceeded to get suspended for landing an illegal knee to the back of his opponent.
The sport changed, but Mayorga didn't.
Al Bello/Getty Images
When a fighter is an all-time great, it means he has earned the right to talk smack. Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins has taken that fact and run wild with it.
The rugged Philadelphia fighter is a master technician in the ring who continues to pull tricks out of his bag at 48 years of age. He also has a method to his madness, and as a promoter, he knows that selling a fight must involve some drama.
Hopkins has never been shy about speaking his mind or making a bold fashion statement—his executioner hood is a staple as he enters the ring. According to ESPN, Hopkins is widely considered to be one of the best trash-talkers in the sport.
One of the most infamous stunts pulled by "BHop" was when he threw down the Puerto Rican flag in Puerto Rico while promoting his fight with Felix Trinidad. The move earned him the undying ire of Puerto Ricans everywhere.
Hector Camacho Sr.
Al Bello/Getty Images
Hector Camacho Sr.’s boxing career—which spanned more than 30 years—was filled with ups and downs. But one constant was his flashiness.
The outfits and ring walks that “Macho” put together were all part of his persona and a big reason why people idolized him. Camacho was a real-life Apollo Creed when it came to hyping himself. He knew how to sell a fight and entertain fans.
While he never lived up to his athletic potential, Camacho finished his career with an impressive 79-6 record and was a multi-division champion.
A master of the flashy ring entrance, Macho strutted his way to the ring to McFadden and Whiteheads classic jam, "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" for his fight against Julio Cesar Chavez. By watching the crowd, you would think they were at a music concert.
Don King has been involved with boxing promotions for nearly 40 years. Whether you like him or not, King has put his lasting mark on boxing.
Even if he's not the promotional presence he once was, the big hair and flag-yielding loudmouth is still one of the most recognizable characters in boxing history.
Throughout his career, King has helped promote some of the biggest fights featuring Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez and Felix Trinidad, just to name a few.
Any time King speaks, you're bound to learn a new word, phrase or language. This video mashes up a funny collection of King's words of wisdom.
Once known as the baddest man on the planet, Mike Tyson has gone through numerous transformations throughout the years but has always remained an interesting character.
It’s almost hard to remember that the gentle Tyson of today is the same man who chewed off Evander Holyfield’s ear.
Today, Tyson is more comfortable with his life and much more serene, but he still has his moments.
Tyson’s calling out of Lennox Lewis is one of the most ruthless post-fight interviews in the history of boxing. During the interview, Tyson told Jim Gray he wanted to eat Lewis’ children before exiting left and leaving Gray stunned.
Arguably the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali is as colorful a character as the sweet science has ever seen.
Aided by honorable mention Bundini Brown, Ali was as swift with his wordplay as he was with his footwork. Ali had the boxing pedigree to match his confidence, which made him a must-see sports figure.
In his prime, Ali took a firm stance on controversial topics and not only became the most famous boxer of his era but also one of the most influential athletes of the 20th century.
In the buildup to his first fight with Sonny Liston, Ali—who at that point in his career was known as Cassius Clay—taunted his opponent with one of his most famous phrases, telling the champion he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."
Follow me on Twitter