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.
Sometimes a fighter can genuinely live up to their name and one such case is the rather unfortunate Ronnie Fails (0-6) a former Cruiserweight who fought between 1991 and 1997. Sadly, I believe in aptronym and as a result I assume if your name is “Fails” you are bound to suck at whatever you choose to do with your life and as Fails's record indicated he wasn't much of a boxer.
Fails made his professional debut in Augst 1991 and faced Bill Corrigan with Corrigan winning a decision, the two men rematched just months later with Corrigan again winning the bout. Amazingly Corrigan would later go on to fight a who's who of the heavyweight division including David Tua, Mike Weaver, Bruce Seldon, Frans Botha, David Izon, Wladimir Klitschko, Damon Reed and Joe Hipp.
Following the back to back loss to Corrigan it seemed as if Fails would try his luck against some one else, sadly that just gave the chance to Zeb Wilson to pick up a win, which he did over the 4 round distance. This was to be the last win for Wilson who was knocked out in a round in his next bout by the hard punching David Izeqwire (who later go on to win the IBO Cruiserweight title).
Fails returned to the ring just days after losing to Wilson and was stopped for the first (and only) time in his career by Steve Brewer. Brewer's win over was then followed by Brewer going 6-17 in a career that ended in 2000 and saw him facing a young and emerging Montell Griffin in 1994.
After the loss to Brewer Fails took a year and a half away from the sport before returning to the ring to face Rocky Graziano Jr (sadly no relation to the great Middleweight champion). Graziano, like Corrigan and Wilson managed to outpoint Fail over 4 rounds. Graziano himself had a bit of a bizarre career fighting his most recent fight in 2009 just 8 days before his 46th birthday and seems to have retired with a record of 4-1-0-1 (3).
Fails appeared to hang up his gloves after losing to Graziano and was out of the ring for over 3 and a half years before dusting off the old trunks and returning to the ring to face the wonderfully named Harry Funmaker. Funmaker would score a 4 round decision over Fail in what would be Fail's last fight as a professional. Amazingly Funmaker actually went on to have a trilogy of fights with Eric “Butterbean” Esch winning 1 of the 3 fights.
Whilst we do feel a little big sorry for Fail who seems to have been unluckily struck by nominative determinism it's interesting to see that a number of his opponents did fight in much bigger fights than Fail ever managed.