The sport of boxing is probably the most inspiring of all sports. From the numerous fighters' remarkable rags-to-riches back stories of over coming utter poverty, tragedy and all the odds to becoming multimillionaire stars, to the extreme ridiculous work ethic that goes on in training camp and for fighting all 12 rounds with all your heart like a true champion should.
Just as inspiring, the music that is often most associated with boxing can also provide the inner inspiration for the average Joe to work hard and give it your all like a true champion should, no matter what the case may be.
Here is a list of the 10 songs most associated with boxing.
AC/DC Thunderstruck is best associated with the late great Arturo Gatti.
Gatti would often use Thunderstruck as his ring entrance song, and "Thunder" was also his nickname and rightfully, so for he fought with thunder inside the ring, often always entertaining the crowds unlike so may current fighters who should be nicknamed "NyQuil."
Most recently, superstar Manny Pacquiao has also been utilizing the Thunderstruck song to enter into the ring.
One notoriously biased pro-Floyd Mayweather boxing journalist sat next to me at the Pacquiao/Margarito fight and told me: "Aww, man, Manny's stealing Gatti's song."
This is without a doubt a classic rock song that will pump most fight fans up to watch a good boxing match.
Most people who have seen the film 8 Mile can see it not only was a loose biography of rap superstar Eminem's life, but also it was film that showed the struggle and fierce competition of the underground hip-hop scene of true emcee freestyle battles.
A lot of TRUE hip-hop culture can be directly compared to the culture of the sport of boxing.
If you have been attending the fights live in person ever since the popular film and soundtrack came out, many younger fighters have selected Eminem's "Lose Yourself" to enter into the ring, for it is a fight song about overcoming all the obstacles to prove to the world that you can achieve it if you really work at it and want it.
"Lose Yourself" is probably Eminem's most inspiring song and again most young hungry broke fighters want to show the world that they are a champion and they deserve to make that Eminem kind of money.
LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" is probably the rap legend's hardest song that he ever recorded. (Minus probably his diss tracks in response to his past beef with rapper Canibus)
The song came out in 1990 when boxing was still on the main stage of the world. The song is full of tributes to the sport of boxing and related metaphors with lines talking about Muhammad Ali, shadow boxing, and of course the opening line: "Don't call it a comeback!"
When this song first came out I recall seeing LL Cool J on MTV explaining that he brought his mom to an award show and she said to him "come on, son, you can knock out all of these guys" referring to his direct musician competitors, obviously metaphorically (but probably literally, too, since this was the time LL was seriously hitting the weights and transforming his body into that of a body builder).
Since this song became popular, several fighters have even stolen lines from this song to use when being interviewed by the media.
Many fighters still use "Mama Said Knock You Out" when they train and even enter the ring.
We all seen the Will Smith film ALI. Ali would often taunt his opponents by elevating himself to the utmost power and talk down to his opponents.
In the film, we see Ali taunt George Foreman by interrupting his training camp by playing the bongos and chanting "THE CHAMP IS HERE!" over and over again.
Since this historic taunt, many have used that loop and made songs out of it; most successfully is Chicago rap star Lupe Fiasco, who made the song "The Champ Is Here."
One of the problems of Lupe's version is many fighters fought at earlier eras where Lupe was still a child or not even born, so they used a less cool version of "The Champ Is Here."
McFadden and Whitehead's "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" is a proud confident positive upbeat fight anthem. Many boxers used this song as their ring entrance, including most notably the often underrated heavyweight champion Larry Holmes.
Paul Williams, when at the peak of his PR stunt-orchestrated reputation of being the sport's most feared fighter, came into the ring to this song and also with an out-of-character Mohawk hair style as well to face the very hungry and underestimated Puerto Rican challenger Carlos Quintana.
Williams was on top of the world and believed in the PR stunt hype of him being the most feared fighter in the world after ironically dethroning the former most feared (PR stunt hype) fighter Antonio Margarito and taking his WBO belt.
The Punisher did not look like a punisher at all that night and he was not living up to his theme song of "Ain't No Stopping Us Now," for he was easily out boxed by Quintana and lost a unanimous decision and had to hand over his WBO belt.
Rap mogul P Diddy more recently gave this song a shout out in his recent hit song, "Coming Home," a song by his group Dirty Money, which many fighters are using as their homecoming fight song when fighting in their hometowns.
The line goes: " 'Ain't No Stopping Us Now,' I love that song/Whenever it comes on it makes me feel strong".
DJ Khaled is a powerful man in the rap game. It seems whenever he makes a new song, automatically the top rappers in the game are all signed on and offering verses on all his hit songs.
His hit song "All I Do Is Win" is probably one of the most over-used songs in boxing and even MMA.
Several fighters blast this song "All I Do Is Win" as they enter into the ring maybe its like a last-second mental psych-out to win the fight. It would be interesting to take a scientific study and see how many fighters who use this song to enter the ring actually end up winning their fights?
Also, of course, for those of you who live close by the San Manuel Casino outside of LA, have probably now seen the infamously cheesy Manny Pacquiao commercial where he is dancing, eating and gambling to this song.
Rapper DMX, who recently came out of retirement (just like many boxers do), had some of the most motivational ring entrance friendly music to hype the crowd and fighter as he walked to the ring.
Mike Tyson often used various DMX songs for his ring entrances, as seen in this video of the highly anticipated super-megafight Tyson/Lewis.
Unfortunately, Tyson/Lewis failed miserably to live up to the hype, for it was clear by the first few rounds that Tyson was no longer in his prime and not able to be the brutal force he once was several years earlier.
This ring entrance even though long and even confusing, as several of Tyson's entourage are trying to walk into the ring with him but seem to be getting turned down by security officials, was still intense and exciting mostly due to the legendary image and reputation of Tyson and because of the choice of DMX's song.
The fact is when you hear certain DMX songs you automatically visualize Mike Tyson walking to that ring to go to work.
A lot of fighters still use DMX's songs to enter the ring, which tells us that this current era of rap stars might be a bit soft or uninspiring to get our heads bashed in to?
Queen's "We Will Rock You" is one of those all-time great songs that can never be touched or replaced. Not only in boxing but in all sports this song still goes hard today. Even 34 years after its initial release, it's still used to pump up sold-out stadiums.
Several fighters have used this song to enter into the ring, most recently Manny Pacquiao went from using one of his own songs that he sang himself walking in to the Ricky Hatton fight to using "We Will Rock You" when entering to fight Oscar De La Hoya.
Come to think of it, Pacquiao has not been using any of his own songs ever since the Hatton fight. Good decision, Manny.
Survivor's "Eye Of The Tiger" is one of the most highly associated boxing songs primarily because of its major part of the soundtrack to the Rocky films.
Just the very few seconds of the song and you are automatically motivated to drop what you are doing and shadowbox and jump rope like a true champion no matter where you are, even if you are in line buying food at Arby's.
Manny Pacquiao has been having the lead singer of Survivor, Jimi Jamison, sing this song live and walk him to the ring for the last couple of fights. I wonder how much that costs to have Jimi do that for you?
But again, what is money when we have a professional musician singing instead of a fighter singing one of his own songs?
Come on now, can you even do a list like this without the actual Rocky theme? Of course not.
As many know, Sylvester Stallone was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame recently.
I remember when this news first broke, I was talking with Jack Hirsch, the president of BWAA at the Khan/Maidana fight. Hirsch asked me and another boxing journalist how we felt about Stallone making it into the Boxing Hall of Fame.
All three of us basically came to the agreement that Stallone did indeed deserve it for what he did with Rocky and what that did for the sport of boxing.
We all were in agreement that even the Rocky theme song alone triggers so much passion and emotion alone, and that is all epic stuff again for the sport of boxing.
If you are not running up those steps to your local government building as fast as you can with your hands raised high in the air declaring victory to this song, then you probably do not have a pulse.
In conclusion if you noticed the songs most associated with boxing are not only inspiring, motivating songs, but they are also often associated with the most exciting fighters who fought to entertain the crowds.
Songs most associated with the most exciting fighters such as Gatti, Tyson, Pacquiao are the songs that we most recognize. Even Rocky Balboa, despite being a fictional character from film, was exciting to watch fight. Rocky did not run and hide or hold and hug for 12 rounds.
So use the most inspiring songs such as these iconic boxing songs to motivate and inspire you to be the best champion at whatever it is you want to do in life; after all, that is why we love listening to these songs.
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