This now is how Wilder rolls: with statement pieces. In November, he came to the ring encrusted in a golden crystal mask; the glittering paneling on his costume read “dominus” and “victorum.” Officially, he was there to vanquish Victor Ortiz, but he looked like he could’ve taken out the Power Rangers, too.
Maybe the dignified thing to do these days would be just to walk out to Tupac and confirm for the bloodthirsty crowd that they’ll be getting the funeral they came for. That’s how Michael B. Jordan arrives for the climactic fight in “Creed.” That was also 2015. Anybody whose jaw has dropped at Floyd Mayweather Jr. making his way to a match (gladiatorially, in a bronzed breastplate; in a Mexican-flag robe and shorts, complete with sombrero and hype-man 50 Cent) can attest: Nobody wants dignity anymore. Nobody wanted it in “Creed”! People want what happens after Jordan’s Adonis gets to the ring, and Tony Bellew, playing Adonis’ opponent Ricky Conlan — “Pretty” Ricky Conlan — is due to arrive. The crowd brays (“Con-lan. Con-lan.”); the arena goes dark; and a goateed dwarf breathes plumes of fire before Ricky enters enshrouded by slo-mo and smoke.
Even that’s tame now. On Saturday night Tyson Fury went out before Wilder, seemingly unbothered by what would follow perhaps because he knew his was actually the nuttier entrance.
Look, any old boxer can come to the ring plopped atop a throne that a phalanx of Spartan-clad beauties is holding aloft. Any old boxer can do that to Wagner or Metallica or House of Pain. But it takes somebody special to arrive for the fight of the year to Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” Lip-syncing to Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” Fury is that somebody, the rare professional face-puncher (from England, no less) to enter an arena to half-century-old, country-western hype music.