Padilla was a mass monster slayer.
There are some nick names in the bodybuilding world that are the perfect fit for a competitor. The Gift, The Predator, and Flex, there are a ton of nicknames out there that become more than just a name, but a branding as well. Like any other sport, the athletes in bodybuilding are their own brand and in order for them to become successful outside of the sport they need to have the kind of persona and charisma to bring in the cash. But even without speaking on the monetary benefits of having a great nickname, sometimes the manicure can fit the competitor so well that it seems like they were born to have the title.
Danny Padilla, The Giant Killer, was one such competitor. His name was the perfect description for the talented bodybuilder who competed during the 70’s Golden Age. Standing five feet and two inches, it was certainly an uphill battle. Bodybuilders, past and present, have never been known for their considerable height. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, two bodybuilders who stood over six feet tall, were not the norm. Most competitors average between 5’6” and 5’10”. So for Padilla, coming in at 5’2”, was at a significant disadvantage.
But as it would turn out it seemed that if Padilla was dealing with a deficit, someone forgot to inform him. The man made a career at besting men who towered over him. Padilla dominated the lightweight division and at times even beat out the heavyweights in the Mr. America and Mr. Universe competitions. He is one of only two men to have one both the Mr. Universe and Mr. America competitions in the same year, the other being Frank Zane.
Padilla was proof that size isn’t everything when it comes to bodybuilding. He was a perennial top 10 competitor in the Mr. Olympia competition and competed and trained with some of the top athletes in the sport including Arnold, Franco Columbu, and many others. Padilla went up against the best of the best and held his own, proving his worth in the sport. It’s no wonder why the bodybuilder was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame and to this day he’s still looked on as an inspirational figure in the sport.