Which boxer became known as ‘The Ragamuffin Man’?

The boxer who became known as ‘The Ragamuffin Man’ or, more correctly, ‘The Raggamuffin Man’, was former undisputed world welterweight champion Lloyd Honeyghan. Born in Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica on April 22, 1960, Honeyghan earned himself a world title fight when beating leading World Boxing Association (WBA) challenger Horace Shufforf by technical knockout in the eighth round of a final eliminator at Wembley Arena, London on May 20, 1986.

His opponent, at Caesars Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, on September 27, 1986, was another American, unbeaten and undisputed world welterweight champion Donald Curry. At the pre-fight press conference, Curry, who was overwhelming favourite to retain his titles, asked distainfully, ‘Who is this ragamuffin?’ Curry was referring to the casual clothing that Honeyghan chose to wear and used the word ‘ragamuffin’ in the Modern English sense, simply to describe a ragged, disreputable person.

However, in Jamaican Patwa, or Patois – which was, of course, well known to the British-based fighter – the deliberately misspelt word ‘raggamuffin’ is used to describe a ruffian, or street-smart hard case. So, instead of being insulted, Lloyd ‘Honey’ Honeyghan adopted the nickname and became, henceforth, ‘Raggamuffin’ or ‘The Raggamuffin Man’.

Indeed, Curry may have inadvertently inspired his rival because, despite being largely written off by the media, Honeyghan started confidently, throwing, and landing, more punches than his emaciated opponent, who reportedly had problems making the 147lb weight limit. In the fifth round, Honeyghan landed a stinging overhand right, followed by a series of left and right hooks and, in the sixth, contined to press forward. Late on, he laid into the champion, who returned to his corner shaking his head, with blood streaming from a cut, caused by a clash of heads, over his left eye. That was that; Curry retired on his stool and ‘The Raggamuffin Man’ was the new undisputed welterweight champion of the world.

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