You can win a bout with your loud mouth
I miss Terry "Mr Ballyhoo" Pettifer, Mlungisi "Killer Shark" Dlamini, Bongani "Cyclone" Mwelase, Boitshepo "Gangster" Mandawe and Junior "Loud-laugh" Motsei.
Pettifer was a publicist par excellence. Dlamini and Mwelase were fearless and arrogant boxers who were able to back their trash talk with their fists. Only Mwelase is still alive, but no longer in the ring.
There was no dull moment when Golden Gloves was to stage a tournament, all thanks to Pettifer, who was so good at what he did that he would be able to sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo.
"This guy packs the meanest jab and a ramrod right hand, and don't be surprised when he floors Anton Nel for the vacant SA heavyweight title," said Pettifer in reference to Sam Ubokane, who suffered a crushing knockout in the third round.
Dlamini and Mwelase gave quotes that did not only make writers' jobs easier, but also sold tickets. Dlamini once said: "For as long as Warren Hulley [his trainer] does not pour water over me, I will box well with Zolani Marali but once Warren pours water over my head, then people will see a blood bath, because the real animal in me just comes out. I want to kill."
He knocked out Marali in four rounds for the IBO lightweight title.
Mwelase said: "I will rename Chris van Heerden as Christine van Beaten when I am done with him." Van Heerden outpointed Mwelase for the IBO welterweight belt.
Mandawe mocked Paul Kamanga before their fight in 2014. "I'm a gangster from Meadowlands Zone 3 in Soweto. I eat pap and skop. How can I be threatened by a young boy from the suburbs who eats cornflakes every morning?" Kamanga defeated Mandawe on points for the WBA Pan African junior-welterweight title.
Motsei carried a mini dictionary with him all the time. He was such a good and entertaining boxing writer for Sowetan newspaper. He knew what he wrote about and the cherry on top was his ability to exaggerate situations.
"I was almost decapitated when I asked Lennox Lewis and Hasim Rahman to face-off," he said after a press conference in Brakpan when Lewis and Rahman came face-to-face in SA for the heavyweight bout which Rahman won by a fifth-round stoppage in 2001.
These individuals, especially Dlamini, Mwelase and Mandawe, knew and understood that boxing is about hype - contrary to what we see today. Getting a quote from some boxers has become so hard and painful, it is like trying to extract a tooth.
I recall a press conference where Daniel "Billy the Kid" Bruwer and Reuben "The Chosen One" Groenewald exchanged blows at Carnival City in 2001. Promoter Branco Milenkovic had to set them apart.