Simply The Best: boxing ring entrances
With Ricky Hatton set for a spine-tingling Manchester return on Saturday, we present the boxers with the most amazing ring entrances ever
Poised. Chin jutting. Nostrils flared. Every muscle taut in an image of statuesque masculine perfection, while Simply the Best blares out. No, we’re not referring to Tina Turner herself, but to the boxer who adopted her anthem as his own. Christopher Livingstone Eubank’s ring walk was a sight to behold, particularly in front of a hostile, partisan crowd from whom he soaked up the hatred, before his signature vault over the top rope and into the ring. Indeed, Eubank seemed to enjoy his pantomime act so much that he regularly failed to stop the ludicrous posturing and posing when the fight actually began, leading to some tedious bouts between his wars with the likes of Nigel Benn and Michael Watson. Still, what an entrance the man made.
He looks less ‘Executioner’, more Pulp Fiction gimp, but that’s still an imposing gimmick from the Philadelphia hard nut. As if the mask wasn’t enough, in 2010 Hopkins approached the ring accompanied by a tubby crooner singing a version of My Way, with lyrics adapted to reflect B-Hops' career. All together now: “But through it all, when there was doubt, he stepped in the ring, and knocked them out…”
Black trunks, no socks and a white towel instead of a fancy satin robe: Iron Mike’s entrance was a thing of raw, stripped-back, old-school beauty. Accompanied by Public Enemy’s Welcome to the Terrordome and the audible sound of his opponents crapping their shorts in fear in the other corner, Tyson’s aura of menace made this the most intimidating entrance in boxing.
A Puerto Rican version of Captain America, a gladiator, some sort of flamboyant fireman and other costumes that simply defy sartorial analysis, Hector Camacho was the originator of gaudy boxing attire. Even his shorts tended to be frayed, animal-print efforts, often with split seams at the side. And this from a man whose nickname was ‘Macho Camacho’ – we’re utterly speechless.
In the 1990s, Naz dished out knockouts the way most people hand out business cards, but it was his entrances that stole the show. Swooping down on a flying carpet to meet P-Diddy or punching over gravestones – as he did for his Halloween fight with Wayne McCullough – they had a level of choreography not seen before or since. Add in the trademark front flip over the top rope, and we have to call Sheffield’s Prince the all-time king of the ring walks.
It’s the electric atmosphere of a raucous crowd belting out Blue Moon that makes Hatton’s ring walks the type that leave your neck-hairs bristling. However The Hitman often adds a dash of wry humour to proceedings – for example with the inflatable fat suit he wore before his bout with Juan Lazcano in 2008, as a nod to those who dubbed him ‘Ricky Fatton’ for ballooning up in weight between fights.
Whether entering the ring for a fight with Mexican-American idol Oscar De La Hoya in a sombrero (plus a Mexican flag robe) or being carried to the ring as a Roman centurion, you don’t get much false modesty from boxing’s current greatest fighter and narcissist. The pink gloves are a snazzy touch, although they were auctioned for a breast cancer charity post-fight, proving that ‘Money May’ isn’t all bad.
He may not have existed outside of the Rocky films – but damn it, those entrances were as real as our hot tears after his defeat to Ivan Drago. Whether he donned a George Washington wig (Rocky) or dressed as a glitz-fabulous version of Uncle Sam (Rocky IV – complete with James Brown’s live vocals), the Count of Monte Fisto’s approaches to the ring still seemed more realistic than the actual fights.