Boxing and music are unlikely bed fellows, yet the marriage of the two has produced some deeply stirring moments.
Who can fail to find the adrenaline pumping a little harder as the chorus kicks for Gonna Fly Now, also known as the theme from Rocky?
Or to find themselves counting the seconds out to the swelling sounds of Time To Say Goodbye...?
To be fair associating the lush duet of Andrea Bocelli/Sarah Brightman with boxing seems a little incongruous. But it was originally put together for the final bout of German boxing champion Henry Maske in Berlin in 1996. Quite literally his swan song, it featured new lyrics to the melody of Con te partirò.
What was intended as a personal tribute went global and it probably remains the song that Bocelli is most famous for.
“It is a beautiful song, very inspiring,” says Bocelli, explaining its success. “It corresponds to aspects of beauty that are recognised world wide.”
Bocelli arrives in Birmingham next week, appearing at the LG on Saturday as part of an arena tour.
He will be performing songs, both pop and classical, from his latest album Concerto: One Night in Central Park, which featured guest appearances from singers including Tony Bennett and Bryn Terfel.
Bocelli is keeping quiet about who will be joining him on stage, however.
“There will be of course very important singers singing with me in Birmingham,” he says, speaking through an interpreter. “But there won’t be any surprise if I give you the names now.”
Earlier in the year he suffered a health scare when he was forced to drop out of a performance of Roméo et Juliette at the opera house in Genoa, suffering from a throat inflammation.
However, he remains remarkably relaxed about this threat to his primary instrument (a multi-talented musician, Bocelli plays the flute and saxophone and worked as a pianist in a bar to pay for singing lessons).
“Of course you always fear about having problems with your voice. But to cancel just the one concert in 20 years of career is not really a lot.
“The rules for a singer are the same rules for those of an athlete: not to eat too much, not to drink any alcohol and to train yourself properly. Twenty four hours before a concert it is also necessary for me to stay silent.”
Championed by the likes of Pavarotti early in his career (he later sang at the great tenor’s wedding and his funeral), Bocelli is a great believer in paying good fortune forward, which is one of the reasons he agreed to act as a mentor on American Idol.
“It is a fundamental rule we have in life, when you have the possibility to help a friend or colleague you must do it. “That is why I agreed to be a mentor. Why not?”
A father of three – he has two sons with his first wife and a daughter with his fiancée – he says the younger generation of Bocellis seem to have inherited at least some of his ability.
“Both are starting piano so at present it seems they are interested in music.
“Singing is something special. Really it is a gift from God, from the skies, not something you can just decide to study.
“They both sing well, especially the second one, but I am not sure they have this special gift at present.”
Andrea Bocelli is as the LG Arena on November 10. For tickets call 0844 871 8803 or look up www.kililive.com