The Southern University “Human Jukebox” Marching Band wasn't throwing punches, but it played a big role in events leading to Saturday’s highly touted mega fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
The band, led by Nathan B. Haymer, director of bands at Southern, performed at Mayweather’s arrival ceremony to fight week festivities Tuesday at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
“We’re going to parade him to the stage to ‘Nobody Does It Better,’” Haymer said before the event. “It will be like a pep rally for Mayweather. We’ll get to meet him, but I don’t know if he’ll have time to talk. It will all depend on how everything goes today.”
In addition to the Human Jukebox, the Mayweather arrival ceremony featured comedian Ricky Smiley and host Doug E. Fresh.
Haymer assembled a condensed version of the Human Jukebox for the occasion, choosing 50 of his best musicians, along with four Dancing Dolls. They left Baton Rouge for Las Vegas at 6:45 a.m. Monday, barely missing the day’s destructive thunderstorms, and were to fly home Tuesday night.
“Mayweather’s representatives didn’t know what to expect at first,” Haymer said. “When we said ‘band,’ they didn’t know they’d be getting the Southern University Band with all of its energy. They’re impressed with our rehearsals.”
One of Haymer’s goals after being named the band’s director last summer is to find ways to get the Human Jukebox more national exposure.
“We’ve already done the Superbowl, so I started thinking about what we could do to top that,” he said. “Everybody’s talking about this fight. It’s one of the biggest sporting events of the year, and everyone’s talking about Mayweather.”
Haymer contacted several people with affiliation to Southern University who have connections to Mayweather. They talked to Mayweather’s reps, who liked the idea.
“We’ve been putting a lot out on social media,” Haymer said “We’ve been working with Twitter and Instagram letting people know where they can find videos of our performances on Facebook. We reached out to Mayweather’s operation in March. They liked what they saw, but we didn’t get approval until April.”
The band’s Las Vegas appearance, along with future performances, also can be followed through its new app, titled, “Human Jukebox,” which can be downloaded at the app store, on iTunes or Google.
“We have so much more on the app, things you can’t get on social media,” Haymer said. “We’ll be posting updates on today’s performance on the app.”