If you are a soccer fan you'll have probably seen the name "George Best" and gone to yourself "he wasn't a boxer". You may be surprised however to find out that George Best was actually an obscure boxer from Ghana who must go down as having one of the most ironic nicknames of all time.
George "Strictly The" Best (5-8-2, 5) was a Ghanian Welterweight who debuted back in 1991 where he defeated Julian Anoumou (KO2) in Togo. Best would swiftly add 2 more recorded wins both by KO2 before vanishing from the record books for over 2 years. Best resurfaced in November 1993 when he suffered his first career loss, a TKO6 reverse to Marciano Commey.
Following his loss to Commey, Best again vanished from the sport before returning in the United States at the end of the 1990's. On his US debut Best was beaten by Del Matchett (LTKO4) and this was followed by 4 more losses in his next 5 fights including losses to Anthony "The Candyman" Chase (twice, UD4 and LTKO5), Rohnique Posey (who debuted by stopping Best in a round) and Juan Diaz (LTKO2, no, not the Baby Bull). The only win during those 5 fights was a KO2 win over Connor Higgins.
Having seen his record fall to 4-6 (4) it was fair to say that George was not, "Strictly The" best however it didn't stop Best trying to prove he was the best. In his 11th professional bout Best drew with Nigerian Ike Ezeji and then scored his 5th and final win by stopping Rodney Brown (TKO3).
In Best's first fight of 2001 he managed to survive 8 rounds before being out pointed by Kevin Collins and then Best faced his highest profile opponent-one time future world champion Luis Collazo. Collazo proved to be in a different class and needed less than 2 rounds to stop Best, who by now was looking nothing like "Strictly The Best".
Best's career came to an end in July 2001 in a rematch with old rival Kevin Collins over the USA New York State Welterweight title with the bout ending in a technical draw after 6 rounds.
George "Strictly The" Best may have one of the most interesting nicknames in the sport however it may also just happen to the most misleading nickname ever used in sporting history.
When it comes to the very worst nicknames in the sport of boxing one that stands out is "Sugar Poo" the nick name used by former Super Middleweight contender Henry Buchanan (20-3, 13). The roots of the nickname seem to have started back in his childhood where we've been lead to believe that he was called "Poo" by family members. Whilst that would seem like bullying to us, it became an affectionate name and one that stuck with Buchanan who later added the "Sugar" due to his style of fighting which apparently resembled Sugar Ray Leonard.
Buchanan started his professional career in 2004 and got off to an amazing start scoring 10 straight stoppage wins in just 14 months. He was touted by some as an excellent prospect and by October 2006 he had advanced his record to 14-0 (11) with the idea that he was going to be moved into title contention sooner rather than later. The brakes were put on his career soon afterwards as Frenchman Jean-Paul Mendy scored a wide unanimous decision over "Sugar Poo".
Following the loss to Mendy Buchanan would take a year out of the ring before returning to action and defeating Ted Muller over 8 rounds and followed it up with 2 more wins before facing his most well known opponent to date, Andre Ward. Ward would dominate Buchanan over 12 rounds and take a complete shut out as he progressed his own career the heady heights that he has now reached.
Over the following 18 months Buchanan tried to rebuild his career and scored 3 more victories including one over respectable journeyman Julius Fogle (who was then 15-2-0-1 (10), though is now 15-7-0-1 (10)). He was then supposed to face former Light Middleweight champion Fernando Vargas (who was ending a 4 year retirement) but that bout was cancelled and Buchanan would actually be out of the ring until earlier this year. On his return to the ring, Buchanan, who had been away from the ring for over 20 months was out pointed by Shawn Hawk.
At 33 years old we may well see "Sugar Poo" in the ring once again, though it's fair to say he no longer has the career momentum that he once had and may well be better off watching his nephew, NFL star Shawne Merriman. In terms of Nicknames Merriman certainly has the better on as he known as "Light Out" a nickname he shares with boxing great James Toney.