In the Phone Booth: The Business of Boxing Gimmicks

By: @medafORACLE

Offensive. Defense. Distance Awareness. Footwork. Head movement. Intelligence. Endurance. Counter punching. A strong jab. Timing. These are all the makings of a great and complete boxer, accompanied with a good chin and heart. If I’m building the perfect boxer this is what I want him or her to have but, what if I told you this type of fighter would be exiled or frowned upon in the sport of boxing…..or should I say the “business of boxing

Usually “In the Phone Booth” I like to continue the bridge of music and boxing (which I will slightly) but today I want to touch more so on boxing. I’m going to keep this as simple as possible. No complicated writing formulas, just simple, straight forward logic.  Let’s step “Inside The Phone Booth”…..

Often we hear the cliché phrase, “skills pay the bills” but in boxing today, skills will only get you so far. When thinking of pure, profound technical skill we think of, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Austin Trout, Andre Ward, Bernard Hopkins, Erislandy Lara. All men whom posses the same attributes, but used differently in bouts made up of different formulas. My question to the readers and public is, why is it that one man out of this group is at the pinnacle of the sport and appreciated by more “boxing fans” unlike the rest mentioned in this list of said skill? The answer is simple…….gimmick.

Like any business, when selling a product; there has to be a marketing strategy. As a boxer in the sport of boxing, logic says “well my selling point is being able to box skillfully” Guess what?…..that’s the wrong logic! I don’t want to touch on it too much but let’s take music for an example. Good music speaks for itself and is undeniable but today, unfortunately good music doesn’t sell. In order to sell you need consumers. In order to get consumers you need a marketing strategy. That marketing strategy starts with a gimmick. To simply put it, skillful emcees don’t sell as much as gimmick based rappers.

Boxing is no different in how the music industry and entertainment operates. An artist paying DJ’s to get spins is the equivalent to a fighter (or promoter) paying a judge to get wins. To bluntly put it, the casual fan plays the consumer. Being clean cut, polite, well spoken and a superior boxer doesn’t get you anywhere in the sport, simply because……it is no longer a sport.

Let’s take July 12th’s match between Erislandy Lara and Canelo Alvarez as an example. The Superior Boxer vs the Good Strong Fighter. Canelo the obvious Golden Boy star and selling point to this PPV event has absolutely nothing to worry about with the exception of losing. His promoter put on the event, cut him a check as well as paid his opponent. All Canelo has to do is show up and have fun. Lara on the other hand brings nothing to the table with the exception of a profound skill level of boxing. Being the “B-Side” of the event, Lara has absolutely everything to worry about. Long story short, I myself; like many other boxing purest, scored the bout 7-5 for Lara. Of course the judges saw a different bout, which was simply a bout they just didn’t want to see. Let’s break it down for a second. Lara being the B-Side automatically puts him down four rounds in even signing the contract to fight. Then we take in to account the one judge that is ALWAYS paid off. Let’s just be honest, there’s always one in every big fight. Next we touch on Lara’s ability to simply outbox his opposition. This puts him behind another two rounds on the score cards. At this point the best he can do is fight a draw which means, he CAN NOT win without a knockout.

I can go into what Lara did to box his way to a 7-5 win over Canelo but this isn’t the point nor do we have that kind of time. I will, on the other hand talk about how Lara “lost” according to the judges and Canelo fans or; consumer, if you will. Lara is simply a pure boxer who is very smart, uses the entire ring in discipline manner. Now the masses say, “well he lost because all he did was run and didn’t fight. He should have engaged Canelo more and maybe he would have won” Fair enough but ask yourself this……why should Lara engage more due to the lack of Canelo’s footwork and ability to cut off the ring? Equally shouldn’t have Canelo focused more on footwork making him a more complete boxer concluding in being more prepared for a mover like Lara?

They ask us to “think outside of the box” but isn’t that an oxymoron when that’s what you do in the square circle?… box! You display your skill level and the more technically sound boxer wins. Unfortunately this isn’t boxing anymore and we do not have fans. This is a business catering to consumers. Which are you? A consumer or a boxing purest wanting to witness those with superior boxing skill get their deserved credit?

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