Convicted Artist Magazine

Aug 19th
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boxing-marketingSo, Canelo got the decision because Lara doesn't sell tickets?  Maybe, but boxing has always been a business.  The troubles we have are not new.  From the days where the mafia flagrantly controlled the sport to today, where it is more covert, there has always been corruption to protect boxing's business interests.  However, it is not all about corruption and racism.  Those, admittedly are the most face-in-front aspects of marketing that take place in boxing.  Yet, there is good old fashioned promoting mixed in there, as well.
There are some ways to guarantee sale of tickets.  Ethnicity is one.  If you are Mexican, Irish, or Puerto Rican... there is an agreed upon formula to make you into a ticket seller, even if you are quite ordinary as a fighter.  If you are a brawler (as fighters of those ethnicities often are), the plan is pre-arranged.  They will set you up in LA or NYC (depending on which ethnicity you are)... maybe the bay area if you are Filipino, etc.  Then you will be matched on TV, waving the flag of your ethnic origin, and winning action fights.  It's worked for countless fighters in the past.
However, if you are a slick black fighter, prepare to be the "heel" as they call it in wrestling.  You will be the bad guy, all the time.  This may cost you close decisions, as it did for Lara, Whittaker, Trout, etc... but some are even immune to that, as Norwood, Bradley and Mayweather can attest.  These men are marketed as the enemy to the pre-approved ethnic fighters, as they are the opposite in the important ways of marketing: race, style, attitude, etc.  Some play it up, some don't... but be there, and be available, and you'll make money off of an ethnic base that is not even your own.
Another way to be marketed is to be the slugger that blows everyone away with power... Provodnikov, GGG, Matthysse,  Kovalev, etc.  They may not be a convenient ethnicity, or personality, but they usually score knockouts, and give action even when they don't.  That transcends all.  It may take a bit longer, and never cross over into mainstream, but it is quite a nice living for as long as it lasts.  The Kelly Pavlik, Chris Algieri, Greg Haugen way is more subtle.  White guys of non-descript ethnic backgrounds, have to rely on individual aspects of their personality or game.
For Pavlik it was his big punch, and his "awww shucks" humility.  For Haugen, it was his complete lack of fear.  Almost literally going into the lion's den as the road warrior, and not only returning his opponents trash-talk, but usually getting the better of it.  For Algieri, is it his education and intelligence.  Call it the Klitschko factor.  People want to see it, simply because it is different.  My only disappointment is that it IS so different.  As MMA brings more fighting gyms into middle-class areas, however, be prepared to see more champions like this in the future.

Chris Strait

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The Wizard  - Boxing and Kickboxing Coach |

Chris, I am an old timer and though it has been said 'over and over again' about the Mafia controlling the fight game in the 1920' to 1970's, you too are correct. Todays Mafia's fly under a different moniker. So, in reality, the only thing that has changed is that instead of one Mafia there are now dozens here and around the world. Congrats on a brief but very true short essay. Very good, very, very good.
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