Does Aggressive Sports Require Only Aggressive Music?

Let that question repeat itself a moment.

Paquiao punishes Mosley on May 7, 2011
I was privileged to get to watch the Pacquaio/Mosley PPV fight this weekend where not only was there one of the best walk-down prefight intros, but some great classics in music showcased. Sugar Shane Mosley was led down to the ring by LL Cool J, who was rapping “Mama Said Knock You Out” as the theme for Mosley. It was a cool performance and a great lead-in to an anticipated matchup. When Pacquaio was getting ready to make his way to the ring, a laser-light show of music and video preceded his entrance. The music was AC DC, and on the video screens were clips of Manny knocking out opponents. Aside from that just being cool, Mosley had never been knocked out in his 18 year career, so the possibility of a knock out was a big lead-in. Then the cameras panned to Manny and as he started making his way to the ring, he was led by Survivor frontman Jimi Jameson singing “Eye of the Tiger.” This was great because the Rocky similarities to the fight before the main event with a strong fighter (Arce) knocking out the champ (Valdez Jr.) after 12 grueling rounds had reminded me a lot of the Rocky saga. And also, Manny is known for coming to the ring with some less than aggressive music, so this was a nice change of pace.

Which got me thinking more about ring entrances and what is common and what isn’t. There was a period of time in my late teens and early twenties where I was really into WWE wrestling. All of the entrance music for the wrestlers was either alternative rock or hip-hop, with the exception of the lucadores who came out to their mariachi music. And I think there was one country guy who had a country theme. Anyhow, the majority and certainly the rule was hard rock or rap was what got the crowd fired up and represented the wrestler’s awesomeness, not anything else. I think UFC has similar strategies for marketing and their fighters’ entrance music. So does that mean necessarily that more aggressive music like alternative rock and rap or similar is a gateway for aggressive sports, or combative sports?

Going back to the Rocky reference, you might recall that in the last Rocky film, Paulie asked Balboa if he could arrange the entrance music for his fight with Mason Dixon. Rocky agrees. The theme music ends up being Frank Sinatra. It doesn’t really fit Rocky, his character, his heart or his power, but it doesn’t seem to matter. It’s the same tough guy in the ring either way. In the film, the fight commentators make some jabs about the music but the crowd doesn’t care. But does that work in real life? Apparently Manny Pacquiao thinks so. He is the pound for pound king and seems to run over whoever gets in the ring with him or not, regardless of how tough or progressive the entrance music is.

Which leads to another question, is the music entrance for the fans or is it to represent the fighter/combatant? Perhaps both, or perhaps neither. I’ve wondered about what it would be like if there was no music to lead you down the isle to the ring for a championship fight. The mystery of it would be deadly. I could see someone like Mr. T’s character Clubber Lang from Rocky III doing something like that, or Mike Tyson in his prime. A monster so ferocious he doesn’t warrant music to represent him and the fans are both excited and nervous about what’s going to take place in the ring. That would be an unusual experience.

These are just some thoughts I had in the lead up to the Mosley/Pac-man fight. Overall the fight was not very good, since Shane Mosley retreated the entire fight, ruining his career chances for another big fight and possibly tarnishing his legacy of being a tough, hard-hitting fighter. Pacquaio knocked Mosley down in the 3rd round and after that Mosley just ran from him. Late in the 10th, Manny slipped and fell but the referee called it a knock down. Replays showed it was a bad call, and it pissed off Manny who’d only been knocked down a few times in his illustrious career. With a raging furry, he went after Mosley for 2 rounds throwing bombs. Mosley managed to escape a knockout but his fans won’t see him the same way again. So “Mama said to knock you out, but I decided to run the hell away from you because you scare me” should have been the song LL Cool J sang in the introduction to the fight, because that was a better representation. I wonder if Floyd Mayweather Jr. can muster the courage to face the Pound for Pound king. At the same time, I highly doubt it. But what would his theme music be? Comments and opinions are welcome.

Check out a cool video of the warm up rehearsal for the big fight here.

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Host of the syndicated radio program The Appetizer heard on public radio across Texas and online from our Listen Now link; enjoys conversations, music, food, art, storytelling, and people. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you.

3 thoughts on “Does Aggressive Sports Require Only Aggressive Music?

  • May 9, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    I know his name’s Pacquiao but Pacman is a bad nickname. Pacman is famous for gobbling balls all day. Might as well name him Kat Stacks

    • May 9, 2011 at 7:59 PM

      You know I thought the same thing when I first heard his name several years ago. I actually thought the reference was to the football player who got into trouble a while back. I didn’t come up with the Pacman nickname, and you’re right it is a funny nickname, but I think many in the media had a hard time initially figuring out how to say Pacquiao (Pack-ee-yow). But he does Pac quite a punch, so the nickname works for me. Thanks for the comment. What did you think of the fight?

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