Boxers have asked hip-hop artists to chaperone them to the ring with a song and dance for decades on end, but it will reach another level during the Mike Tyson versus Roy Jones Jr. pay-per-view event Nov. 28 when the exhibition match between two all-time greats will double as a quasi-concert.
A star-studded lineup featuring DaBaby, Lil Wayne, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa and YG will each have multi-song performances during the event, entertainment platform and event host Triller announced.
Triller is backed by a long list of entertainers including Snoop Dogg, Future, The Weeknd and Pitbull, and the social app is tapping into their brand identity by bringing the musical acts to Los Angeles’ Staples Center, a longtime host of many big-time boxing matches, concerts as well as the Grammy Awards.
“The connection between boxing and music is undeniable,” said Bobby Sarnevesht, executive chairman of Triller. “As a global language, music unites cultures, and we knew this historical moment needed to include some of the biggest names in the industry. Unparalleled to any other entertainment platform in the space, Triller is determined to give fans a night they will never forget.”
"This event is going to go down in history, no doubt! I'm grateful to be a part of it and share the arena with two living legends. I'm stoked to perform and give the fans something they can rock to,” said Lil Wayne.
“It’s truly a moment,” added French Montana. “I’m honored and can’t wait to see Tyson and Jones fight.”
Lil’ Wayne has previously walked Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the ring multiple times by way of his live musical acts, and it remains to be seen if he will make it to the stadium next week or keep a low profile after it was revealed Tuesday that the artist has been charged with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. If convicted, the entertainer faces up to 10 years in prison.
Whether it’s Jones Jr. making rap anthems, or Tyson upping his mystique to walking into the ring to Public Enemy's “Welcome to the Terrordome” — and later being name-dropped in a ream of rhymes — the connection between hip hop and boxing has been profound since the 1980s.
Author Todd D. Snyder of Hamilcar Publications will be releasing the book “Beatboxing: How Hip Hop Changed The Fight Game” chronicling the marriage between both in the fall of 2021.
The Tyson vs Jones PPV can be purchased digitally in the United States for $49.99 via TysonOnTriller.com, FITE.TV or any of the FITE’s OTT platforms on mobile devices and smart TVs.
The event will also be available in the UK via BT Sport, and will feature fights between Jake Paul vs. Nate Robinson, Badou Jack vs. Blake McKernan and Viddal Riley vs. Rashad Coulter.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.