Denny wore bright blue silky shorts, the kind with a high waistband and long legs, flashy and trashy but exactly right for the ring. They matched his eyes, his mother said. They probably only matched at the start of round 1. By the end of the 15th, if it went that far, it mightn’t be possible to see if he had eyes at all, let alone if they matched his shorts. But if Denny looked like that, you should see the other fella, his mother said.
He had a golden cape too and at first glance the blue and the gold seemed to clash. So Denny’s mother sewed a gold seam in his shorts and blue piping on his cape, to bring them both together she explained. Denny called it blue stripes. Fighters don’t have piping, he said.
Then she fixed on a good strong clasp and a cord that knotted at the neck. Denny said it looked like a curtain cord. His mother told him not to be so daft, even though it was a curtain cord. It looked good and probably nobody else would notice. Denny could swish his cape about from side to side, like a matador, teasing his opponent the bull.
Denny wore proper boxing boots, in the smallest size there was. He couldn’t lace them up himself yet, so his mother helped him with the criss-crosses and the knot. He managed the bunny ears himself, most of the time. For his next pair, he hoped his mother would buy him a pair with zips along the side, so he could get himself ready for the ring, like a big boy.
Denny chose his music without any help. He knew from the start it would be the theme from Rocky, his favourite movie ever. And as Rocky’s theme played over the tannoy, Denny moved out of the wings and shadow boxed all the way into the ring at Atlantic City in front of 10,000 roaring fans.