for a hick
town full of losers
, a palooka
being either a failed boxer
or simply a crude
is frequently used as a metaphorical rather than literal place, a low stage of your career or an emotional state you'd rather not be in.
Prominently featured in the cab dialogue between Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger in On the Waterfront, Brando's Terry Malloy fitting both categories by being both a failed boxer and an all-around fuck-up.
It was you, Charley. You and Johnny. Like the night the two of youse come in my dressin' room and says "kid, it ain't your night... we're going for the price on Wilson" It ain't my night, Charley, I woulda taken Wilson apart that night! I was ready - remember the early rounds throwin' them combinations. So what happens? This bum Wilson gets the title shot - Outdoors in the ballpark! And what do I get? A couple of bucks and a one way ticket to Palookaville. It was you, Charley, you was my brother, you should've looked out for me 'stead of makin' me take them dives for the short end money.
Also a 1995 (released in 1996) indie crime comedy starring William Forsythe, Vincent Gallo and Adam Trese. Unseen by me, but supposedly about three Jersey City slackers and their various attempts at robbery.