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Oscar De La Hoya: Pugilist's Sound

The Boxer-singer gives his take on fighting songs, from Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Boxer’ to the Rolling Stones’s ‘Fighting Man’

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Oscar De La Hoya may be a welterweight champ, but you won’t find any boxing metaphors on his new album of bilingual ballads. The closest his self-titled debut comes to alluding to his day job is Diane Warren’s ”With These Hands,” which is ”about how gentle my hands can be outside the ring, caressing and holding a woman,” says the pugilist. ”Inside the ring, I’m a gladiator that never gives up. But this music is the real me: the sensitive Oscar.” EW went a few rounds with that sensitivity, and, without identifying them, got his reactions to some tunes that do employ fighting words.

”MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT”
LL COOL J
”LL! This was the national anthem in the boxing world. This is all about me, because my mama always said, knock anybody out in the ring.”

”THE BOXER”
SIMON & GARFUNKEL
”[Puzzled] Is it a happy little song about a fighter? It sounds happy, but if you listen to the words … Listen to this, you’ll get knocked out.”

”THE SWEETEST PUNCH”
ELVIS COSTELLO WITH BURT BACHARACH
”The guy with the glasses, right? … Did he say ‘my glass jaw’? Ha! Is he singing about losing a fight? That’s actually funny. This is like every fighter’s nightmare.”

” … BABY ONE MORE TIME”
BRITNEY SPEARS
”[Singing along] ‘Oh, baby, baby.’ I love this song. But what does she mean by ‘Hit me’?… It’s funny how all these artists interpret love through fighting metaphors. Maybe that’s why musicians and actors admire fighters so much.”

”STREET FIGHTING MAN”
ROLLING STONES
”This is inspiring me. Where are my gloves?”