The best and worst of boxing trash talk

Sep 1, 2020

Trash talking has a long history in the sport of boxing, with various contenders for the title of Best Trash Talker through the ages. 

In the headlines lately with some serious trash talk has been British heavyweight Dillian Whyte.

Speaking in an interview with iFL TV, The Body Snatcher did not hold back when being quizzed on his feelings towards the Mexican-American fighter Andy Ruiz Jr.

In some highly personal comments, Whyte said: “Andy Ruiz is glad that he does not have to fight me. He is glad the only battle he has got now is just with diabetes. I am not on him anymore, he is glad. Diabetes he can overcome, but he cannot overcome me.”

Talking about bringing health into the trash talk game, how about a fighter who would use their rival's own death as a stick to beat them with?

Well, that is exactly what Brit David Haye did to Wladimir Klitschko in the lead up to their 2011 heavyweight unification fight in Germany.

Haye’s trash talk was pretty much relentless as he boasted over and again that he would knock out the Ukrainian.

While not trash talk in a verbal sense, Haye’s goading went to another level when he wore a graphic shirt that featured Klitschko’s decapitated head.

Other trash talk gone wrong includes misogynistic comments and insults directed at an opponent’s family.

Step forward Nicaraguan Ricardo Mayorga, who became famous for his ability to turn press conferences into rowdy and chaotic shoving matches.

Prior to his fight against Mexican Fernando Vargas back in 2007, Mayorga taunted Vargas by calling him “this fat girl I am going to beat”.

And just a year earlier in the lead up to his bout with Oscar De La Hoya, Mayorga not only labelled the American a "bitch" but he also proceeded to completely cross the line by insulting his wife and son.

At a 2002 weigh-in for the heavyweight world title, American Mike Tyson said he wanted to “kill” opponent Lennox Lewis and “eat his children”.

Down the years, racist rants have joined sexism in fighters’ trash talk repertoires. In 2010, American Floyd Mayweather went on a highly offensive rant about rival Manny Pacquiao. 

As well as calling the Filipino a “little yellow chump”, Mayweather said he would have Pacquiao make him a sushi roll and cook him some rice “with some cats and dogs”. Mayweather did later apologise.

Even The Greatest fighter – also The Greatest trash talker – went too far on occasion. During the promotion of his fights with Joe Frazier and Chuck Wepner, American heavyweight Muhammad Ali unforgivably engaged in race-baiting.

Ali had a lot to say about his rivals and remains the undisputed champion of trash talk to this day. The best of Ali’s trash-talking game was playful and witty.

Take his comment in the build-up to a match against fellow US boxer Floyd Patterson in 1965: “I will beat him so bad he will need a shoehorn to put his hat on.”

And before a 1971 match-up with American Joe Frazier, Ali put it comically when he said: "Frazier's got two chances. Slim, and none. And Slim just left town.

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