Joseph Parker vs Alexander Dimitrenko
Words / Pic
Laauli Joseph Parker’s fight night music is all sorted for his big Title fight. He will be slow walking into the ring at Vector Arena in Auckland, led by his two uncles in traditional chiefly Samoan attire.
Joseph will be walking and air-jabbing himself behind them flanked by the full force of Team Parker closed-ranked like a Roman phalanx, aside and astern – all to the sounds of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.”
It is a sombre piece of music that talks about some dark issues in Collins’ life. Specifically, the divorce experience from his then wife and the anger Collins felt about the experience.
Really, Collins has no recollection of what motivated him to write the song. He is quoted saying about the song, “This is one song out of all the songs that I've ever written that I really don't know what it's about.” As a vague memory, Collins can recall going through the divorce from his wife at the time of writing the song.
It ain’t matter though for Parker on the night. He needs to get angry, and early. He promises he will.
Ring music, as the entrance songs are known, is an important and crucial ingredient of a fighter’s preparation.
For a confident champion like Floyd Mayweather, No Worries by Lil Wayne sums up his approach to his fights. For a small guy like Manny Pacciao, Roar by Katy Perry is very appropriate. Riddick Bowe also likes "In the Air Tonigh", he used it a lot.
It is no different for Joseph Parker and Ruiz Jr.
Ruiz will bring his own songs to help him along in his own River of Babylon experience, so far from home and longing for support. He will need it. The songs of Mexico will help will him on his 30th fight.
It is the biggest fight of his career to date. And the music will be carefully selected to energise the mood for him to win, against whatever odds NZ TAB has set up on his chances against Parker.
Those odds are actually at $3.30 for Ruiz, and $1.30 for Joseph Parker.
Parker himself is a music connoisseur. In recent fights he has used Roy Jones Jnr’s Rap, “Can’t be touched”. I hear from a good source that it was specifically recorded for Parker.
He has used that song several times, including his entrance into Koenig Pilsener Arena in Germany for his eighth win (TKO) over Brazilian Marcelo Luiz Mascrimento.
His choice of “In the Air Tonight” is very specific for his 22nd bout, the most important. And specific for the grinning Ruiz Jr.
The song reverberates, around the repeat of key words – Can you feel it in the air tonight?, I can feel it in the air tonight, and I’ve been waiting for this moment all of my life, oh Lord.
There is also a very dark line, “If you told me you were drowning, I wouldn’t lend a hand”, followed by “So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been.”
This is the message for Joseph, and he needs to heed it well and into heart – Sin piedad - No mercy! in Spanish.
The magic of this song is I can already hear it in the big sound stadium of Vector Arena. The song is carried by the drum sound that is particularly amazing. It is subtly introduced into the song. It comes on after midway in to add to the doo-dom doo-dom early on.
It is an eighties classic, a whole decade ahead of Parkers entrance into his own world in South Auckland. His life has brought him to this moment.
The other important music on the night are the Anthems. There will be three anthems, Samoan and New Zealand’s anthems for Laauli Lupesoliai-a-le-Malietoa Joseph Parker. The Mexican anthem will be sung for Andy Ruiz Jr first.
Here are your anthem singers
Fu’a o le Sa’olotoga, The Banner of Freedom, Pene Pati
God Defend New Zealand, Ihowa Atua Manaakitia Aotearoa, Sophie Morris.
Himno Nacional Mexicano, Mexicans at the Cry of War, Taye Williams.
Ed’s note. Afoa is the only Pacific Island and Samoan reporter to have covered all of Joseph Parkers five fights in 2016.