Boxing: The Anatomy of the Entrance Song

Nick XourisCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2009

Last month, my friend and I were discussing the importance of entrance music in boxing.

On the surface level, there isn’t a more insignificant aspect of a fight than the music blaring as a boxer steps into the squared circle; but at the same time, the entrance song is the last opportunity that a fighter has to make a statement before the moment of truth between the ropes. If two unknowns are fighting, their entrance songs could help you decide who to root for.
So what makes a great entrance song? There are a number of elements that fighters need to consider in selecting the proper song.

Style of Song
Not all genres work here. Hip hop is a safe bet and salsa music for Latino fighters always works. But R&B, Pop, and Rock require some discretion. If you are going to pick a song from one of these genres, you better have a good explanation why. For example, I love The Hills; but it really wouldn’t work to enter the ring to “Unwritten."

Mainstream Recognition
I am a big Joe Budden fan. I love Slaughterhouse. But the truth is, most people in an arena will not. No matter how much you like a song, you need to pick a song that has a certain level of mainstream popularity. The crowd should be feeling it.

This past January, Shane Mosley resurrected his career with a dominant victory over Antonio Margarito to recapture his spot as the best welterweight in the world.
While most post-fight conversations broached upon Margarito’s illegal hand wraps or Mosley’s return to the sport’s elite, one aspect went unnoticed. Mosley entered the ring to “Live Your Life” by Rihanna & T.I.—which would have been a solid choice had Paulie Malignaggi not used it one month earlier in his loss to Ricky Hatton.
Boxers on big HBO shows can not be using songs that were just used on big shows. It just doesn’t look right.

Time Sensitivity
Not as important as the other characteristics but it belongs on the list. Your song must either: A) be recent enough to elicit an immediate reaction from the crowd, B) fit the rest of the criteria so well that the song’s debut date is irrelevant, or C) have a good enough reason to warrant ignoring time sensitivity. For example, after Michael Jackson passed away, it was completely acceptable to enter the ring to ANY M.J. song as tribute.

And finally, the most important element…

How Well the Song Reflects You
The significance of the song must reflect the fighter’s persona. If you aren’t a brawler, you can’t come out to “What’s My Name” by DMX. If you aren’t flashy, don’t enter the ring to Fabolous’ “Diamonds on my Damn Chain." If you’re from Atlanta, no matter how big of a HOV fan you are, “Brooklyn We Go Hard” can not be your entrance music.
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of theme song selection. Fighters will choose a hot song without giving much thought to whether or not it applies to them. BIG MISTAKE!

Agree? Disagree? Share Your Thoughts!

As I was writing this, I started thinking about songs that the best current day boxers should come out to. Using my iTunes collection only, here’s what I got:

Zab Judah - “Brooklyn, We Go Hard”: Eh, only because Brooklyn doesn’t have anyone else right now.

Miguel Cotto - “100 Percent” by Big Pun: Cotto has surpassed Felix Trinidad as the biggest Puerto Rican draw in the sport so naturally I’d pick a Big Pun song for him. I’ll be honest; my computer isn’t heavy on Puerto Rican music so there might be a better choice out there, but “100%” can surely get the job done

Sugar Shane Mosley - “Amazing” by Kanye West: Mosley’s performance against Margarito truly was amazing. In his devastating upset, Mosley recaptured his status amongst the sport’s elite and solidified his already remarkable Hall-of-Fame caliber career. This song just feels right.

Manny Pacquiao - “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga: Pacman is the happiest killer that I’ve ever seen. Maybe I just love “Just Dance,” but I feel like this song would be perfect. The beat goes as hard as Manny’s left cross, and the song is as happy as Pacquaio is during his ring entrance. Boxing is party time for the pride of the Philippines and what better song is there to signify party time than “Just Dance”?

Floyd Mayweather Jr-  “I Get Money” by 50 Cent: I was tempted to go with Maino’s second verse/T-Pain’s part from “All the Above” (On second thoughts, I think Paul Williams came out to “All the Above” against Winky Wright…That fits him actually) but “I Get Money” personifies Money May to a tee. I vaguely remember 50 saying in an interview once that he wrote “I Get Money” for Mayweather to use as entrance music. There isn’t a song in the world that is better suited for the best pound for pound fighter in the world.