Boxing bouts are remembered for their big punches, knockdowns and title changes.
Not only that, but they’re remembered for their pomp and ceremony, the war of words before a fight, and the cuddles and condolences afterwards. The recent bout between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk will be remembered as much for Joshua’s post-fight antics as for Usyk’s stoic stance and solid performance.
One other thing fights are remembered for is the ring walks. It’s a time for fighters to come down to the ring, get pumped up to inspirational music, and make a statement of self to the watching world. Some use music as a motivator; Gala Bingo states how music has a way of motivating you to power through any challenge, and that’s sometimes what a ring walk is all about. At other times, it’s a statement, like in WWE, an announcement or message that’s subtle but underlying. It’s saying ‘make way; I’m in the house’.
Whether used as a motivator or a message, some ring walks are memorable because of their music. We’ve trawled through some of the boxing bouts of old to come up with five of the most memorable ring walks of all time, starting with a pure motivator.
Prince Naseem Hamed – Here Comes The Hotstepper
Prince Naseem Hamed’s light burned hard, fast and bright in the nineties. With 29 fights and 29 wins behind him, he went into the 1998 bout with Wilfredo Vázquez as the overwhelming favorite. Everyone expected him to win, and he did, with the referee stopping it in the seventh. Perhaps he was pumped up by his entrance; announced as His Royal Highness of Boxing, he came down to Ini Kamoze’s Here Comes The Hotstepper to a huge ovation.
Floyd Mayweather – Straight To The Bank
Floyd’ Money’ Mayweather took a unique approach to ring walks for his fight against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. Instead of having a song played as he came to the ring, he had one performed. His friend and rapper 50 Cent rapped to Straight To The Bank, referencing Mayweather’s obsession with the greenbacks. Of course, the legendary fighter was victorious; in 50 fights, he was never defeated.
Chris Eubank – Simply The Best
Even today, Chris Eubank is a divisive figure, but there was no doubting his ability. The British boxer had won 35 fights from 35 going into his bout with Ray Close, but he’d only won one by knockout since the Michael Watson injury. Still, to many, he was simply the best, and he reflected that with his ring walk music. The fight ended a draw and ended his winning streak; another draw followed with Nigel Benn six months later, and his self-proclaimed title as best was lost.
Mike Tyson – What’s My Name?
The self-styled Baddest Man on the Planet was like Eubank in many respects; his ring walk was all about a statement of self. In 1997, he was banned for two years after snacking on Evander Holyfield’s ear in a controversial fight. He returned in 1999 against Francois Botha, whom he knocked out in five, but his ring walk music poses a question; What’s My Name? Like anyone could ever forget. Floyd Mayweather didn’t forget, that’s for sure; Tyson took a swing at him in a vintage video on Essentially Sports and perhaps proved who the best of the best really was.
Tyson Fury – Crazy
We’ve already had the ring walk for His Royal Highness of Boxing once, and it seems the British fighters are obsessed because the Gypsy King, Tyson Fury, was carried to the ring like royalty for one of his fantastic trilogy of fights against Deontay Wilder. Oddly, Fury chose Crazy, a slow country ballad from 1961, as his music. There’s definitely no motivation in Patsy Cline’s song, but perhaps a real statement of Fury’s image of himself. He wasn’t crazy in the ring; he was measured and refined as he beat Wilder.