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Pacquiao vs. Cotto: The fight in songs

November 17, 2009

He hits notes, too.

Over the weekend Manny Pacuiao defeated Miguel Cotto to capture his seventh world championship in as many weight divisions (which is almost as impressive as the simply AMAZING trailer for his new movie). After a gruelling bout that was just a few minutes shy of going the distance, what did Pacquiao do next? Why he donned a sexy fedora on top of his bandaged head and performed an eight-song set with his band, of course. 

To honour the champ and his musical skillz, let’s take a look at the respective entrance song choices of Pacquiao and Cotto and see who won THE BATTLE OF THE BEATS.


Backstage walk: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC

This energetic crowd-rouser was a good choice by Pacquiao’s team. Like a lot of fight entrance themes, the magic is in its literalism — Pacman’s hands are lightning fast with thunderous power. To add to its meaning, take into account that guitarist Angus Young built a mythology around how he played the riff, by appearing to do it single-handedly in the “Thunderstruck” music video — in reality, Young played it with both hands. Pacquiao also built a reputation as a one-hand wonder, but later in his career demonstrated that he is indeed a double-handed power puncher, as he would go on to cement in his fight with Cotto.

Official entrance: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

Pacquiao’s people took a risk with this song. Not only is using any theme from a Rocky movie a potentially painfully cheesy choice, it also smacks of ego and gasp maybe even douchebaggery. It tempts relentless clowning if you lose, and many bad punchlines if your face ends up looking like Rocky’s at the end of his first movie. Luckily, Manny came out smiling and waving and sincerity won the day. Like Paqcuiao’s story at this point in his career, Rocky III is about a guy who is on top of the world (Rocky was champion for 10 years at this point in his cinematic saga just as Manny was holding six titles and the honorific “Pound-for-pound” best) but who nonetheless feels like he has a lot to prove. Could Manny hang in there with a fighter who was not only bigger and stronger and maybe just as fast? Well, if he had tiger eyes, sure.


Backstage walk: “Stronger” by Kanye West

One could see where Cotto’s people were going with this: Cotto was known to be bigger and stronger than the dimunitive Pacquiao, who had to move up in weight for this bout. His trainers also certainly hoped he was faster and would fight harder as well. But the song was apt for other reasons too, what with Cotto still repairing his spirit and standing after a devastating and controversial defeat at the possibly lead-laden hands of Antonio Margarito and a parting of ways with his uncle/teammate. The video for West’s “Stronger” shows the rapper undergoing surgical repairs and receiving cybernetic upgrades, recalling the car accident that almost ended his life at the outset of his career but instead propelled him into mainstream success via “Through the Wire,” the song he wrote about the life-changing event. What Cotto’s team thought was a playfully boastful song was actually about second chances and hubris — a hubris that hasn’t worked out well for West’s career as of late.

Official entrance: “Todos quieren a Raymond” by Daddy Yankee

Yankee’s reggaeton track sounds sufficiently aggresive and my rough translation of the lyrics gleans some general braggadocio, which certainly set the tone for the kind of fight Cotto wanted to fight. The choice of Puerto Rican artist Yankee and the song’s language is a good nod to the wave of national pride that soaked this fight particularly — notable in a sport already known for its often nationalistic overtones — but you can also add another point because Yankee has said before that boxing is his favourite sport and he has been training for years. Despite these pluses, however, the song made Cotto seem overly serious when contrasted with Pacquiao’s playful, celebratory entrance, and the vibe of the music leaned more towards a feeling of nervousness and trepidation than it did aggression and domination.  

The winner? Same as the fight: Despite Miguel Cotto’s strong efforts, Manny Pacuiao hits on several, surprising levels and comes out on top. But writing about music is like dancing around a ring about architecture, right? So forget all this — take it away, Pacman!

UPDATE: Fixed the Daddy Yankee link (previously led to incorrect song).

(image via)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Simon permalink*
    November 18, 2009 5:56 pm

    I must admit, if I was fighting somebody and they came out Eye of the Tiger, I’d be a little scared. That song makes you think you’re invincible when performing any sort of physical activity. It’s magic.

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