Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wrestling-Boxing crossovers, by Ciaran Baynes, 19 February 2008 (Setanta Sports)

With Floyd Mayweather Jr's dramatic introduction to the world of wrestling this week, we decided to look at the previous crossovers between boxing and the world of sports entertainment.

With the dimensions where the action takes place more or less the same in boxing and wrestling and both involving a walk into the ring and trash-talking there is no surprise they have linked often in the past.

Here are our selection of the most memorable. Let us know your favourites below:
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* Boxing

Tyson in Wrestlemania XIV
During perhaps the most exciting time in wrestling, WWF owner Vince McMahon brought in Mike Tyson in a major publicity coup against then-rivals WCW. Tyson was a ring enforcer for the fight between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. Prior to the bout there were memorable stand-offs between Austin and Tyson and the memorable quote from the Texas Rattlesnake: "Do I think you can beat my ass. Hell no! Do I think I can beat your ass? Why Hell yeah!" Tyson ended up officiating fairly, then laid out Michaels, before finding himself on the receiving end of a Stone Cold Stunner.

Michael Buffer announcing
Buffer became known as the most famous boxing announcer in the mid-80s with his catchphrase: "Let's get ready to rumble" and a decade later when WCW were looking to give themselves an edge over the WWF, he began announcing their big fights, such as the meetings between the two most famous world champions of the preceding decade, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan.

Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Big Show
This could be as good as Tyson's involvement. In his introduction to the WWE on Sunday he jumped into the ring and squared up against the 7ft giant. When the big man got down on his knees, Mayweather punched him twice busting his nose (apparently connecting for real inadvertently). A tag-team match for Wrestlemania is in the pipeline with rumours that there could also be some involvement from Mayweather's boxing opponent later in the year, Oscar de la Hoya.

Mr T-Piper: Wrestlemania II
Perhaps the worst example of the two meeting as a fake boxing fight between the two lasted way too long until Piper threw his stool across the ring and then bodyslammed Mr T.

Muhammad Ali and Gorgeous George
Ali himself admitted that his tendency to boast about how he would beat opponents ahead of the bout came from copying wrestler Gorgeous George. Many boxers have done the same in the years since, few anything like as well.

Muhammad Ali-Antonio Inoki
Ali travelled to Japan to take part in a bizarre wrestling-boxing crossover match against Japanese legend Inoki. The 15-round bout ended as a three-all draw with Ali suffering a leg injury from this.

Muhammad Ali - guest referee in Wrestlemania I
A sad site this, Ali looking slow with the onset of Parkinsons Disease is a shell of his former self as he acts as a second referee in the main event between Hulk Hogan and Mr T vs Rowdy Roddy Piper and 'Mr Wonderful' Paul Orndoff.

Evander Holyfield-Matt Hardy
After failing to win in his three previous world title tilts and losing to former middleweight champion James Toney, The Real Deal needed a morale boost before he challenged Sultan Ibragimov for the WBO heavyweight title last year and he got it in this ridiculous 'bout' with Matt Hardy who he dropped three times in the first round before telling the referee to stop the bout in the second and then knocking out MVP for good measure as well.

Danny Williams-Alex Shane
Williams was in the crowd watching 'The Showstealer' at a British wrestling event when Shane got on the mic and abused the Brixton fighter and a brawl ensued.

Lewis carries flag British Bulldog
We're scraping the barrel now. Lennox Lewis led the British Bulldog Davey-Boy Smith for his inter-continental fight with Bret Hart at Wembley in 1992.

Let us know your favourites or any we have missed.




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