“The core definition of marketing is simple: Make More Money. If your marketing strategy is not accomplishing this, then look for a marketing plan that will give you a higher ROI (the definition of ROI is: Return On Investment).”
Floyd Mayweather Jr is back in the news again with the announcement of his September 17th championship bout against Victor Ortiz. But the truth is Floyd never left the conscience of sports fan let alone those of us who follow the sweet science. When I was in Vegas last month for the never exhilarating fight between Manny Pacquiao and the comatose Sugar Shane Mosley, by far the two most popular people that weekend were Floyd Mayweather Jr and Bella, Shane Mosley’s dime piece side kick. All the Manny fans, who flew in from all parts of the globe were infatuated with Floyd taunts more than they were in praising Manny. I found it odd all people were talking about was Floyd. Yes I realize that no one saw Shane Mosley, and rightfully so, as a threat, but the overwhelming Floyd angst was dare I say impressive none the less.
A boxing savant, the son and nephew of two of the boxing’s most accomplished trainers, Floyd damn near learned to shadow box before he learned to walk. He is a ghetto version of Tiger Woods. And along the way he has become the hip hop champion of sport. No other athlete today defines the anti establishment, gaudy,and even aimless rebellion that permeates much of radio rap music than Floyd Maywether jr. His fans are the same people that listen to people brag about a lifestyle that they themselves will probably never achieve. That doesn’t bother them though because he represents a neglected, presumed for failure generation that loves nothing more than to see one of their own succeed all the while bragging about said success.
To me there is no more contradicting sports figure in the world today than Floyd. The man is so mentally precise in the ring that he never once is taken out of his game plan. Every move he makes inside ring is calculated, there is no wasted energy. And outside of the ring he is wild and reckless like Bishop, Tupac’s character in Juice. Usually a person, who shows a lack of a good judgment, has that character flaw carry over into all aspects of their life. How does a man party all night and have multiple altercations with women, yet never drink a drop of alchohol and trains basically year round. Most fighters balloon up in weight between fights but not Floyd. It is almost like he has spilt personality.
When Floyd went from Pretty Boy to Money May his career ascended. Whether consciously or not he chose to be the man in black, the villain he became the star he always aspired to be. The smiling wholesome fighter role never fit him well, much like some Everlast gloves early in his career. But once he became the N*66a you love to hate, what eluded him all along was now his.
That is why his return to the ring is a good thing for boxing. Even if it isn’t the fight that sports fans worldwide salivate for, he raises the profile of the sport just by fighting again again. Besides If Floyd truly did retire I think my man Michael Marley might jump off the rooftop of the MGM grand. Floyd has been space filler for columnist, and therapeutic anger release for Youtube superstars.
“I can’t leave rap alone the game needs me…”
His mid career image 180 is no different than many of the same alleged sports experts that criticize him. We see many members of the media make the same decision from the other side of the room. Who in the hell were Skip Bayless and Jay Mariotti before they became ESPN talking head media villains? In Detroit there is a sports writer Drew Sharpe that purposely annoys the fan base of all the local teams. It has literally become his journalistic identity. And guess what? All the people that hate him, click on his articles, and call in to radio shows to argue with him. And in turn his national profile has been elevated. Had anyone heard of Jim Rome until he called Jim Everett Chris Everett? Floyd wanted then and wants now more than anything else is to be a star. And whether his “act” is contrived like a steriod shaved chested WWE script it or not, there is no denying that it has worked for him. And worked for him to the tune of fighting in 3 of the biggest non-heavyweight Pay per view fights in boxing history, including the record 2.44 million buys for his victory over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
“Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t…”
In an era where African American fighters struggle to excite fans or let alone draw them to the arena, Floyd is doing the opposite. His brand is growing in a drought. And ask yourself, is that by accident? Especially when you consider that he is a defensive tactician? It makes no sense right? Fans only want to see toe-to-toe action, or at least that is what I am bombarded with on a daily twitter basis.
His detractors will tell you how boring his fights are how he is scared to fight the best, yet they all order his fights on pay per view rooting for him to lose. If you ask any fight fan the 5 best fighters in the world, Floyd will be no lower than number 2. Even the most adamant Sergio Martinez or Bernard Hopkins fan will tell you that.
Floyd has mastered the manipulation of marketing like no other athlete in sports today. The anti Floyd crowd only fuels his supporters. It’s like when Darth Vader killed Obe Wan and only made him more powerful. Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Floyd’s detractors or his fans. Who really cares, the point is they are all here now, and anxiously await his every move. You can’t read a boxing article, by a legit writer or a paid yes man that doesn’t mention his name.
It’s a fine line between being infamous and famous. And Floyd Mayweather, who has only fought twice in 4 years, is still the most talked about fighter in the world today, has jump back and forth across that line like he was doing double dutch. Does that make him the Sarah Palin of boxing? Maybe so but how can you praise someone like Chavez Jr for putting fans in seats, yet disparage Mayweather for building a brand and talking in 3rd person?
“Jealous thugs you all need hugs…”
When I look at Floyd Mayweather you know what athlete comes to mind for me? Tim Duncan. Yes, that boring, plane Jane, wheat bread, Levi jeans wearing Tim Duncan. Floyd and Tim on the surface have nothing in common. Well outside of the fact that they are both Hall of Fame worthy athletes and two of the best to ever do what they do. But if you dig a little deeper, I think Floyd and Timmy have a lot in common. In my lifetime I have never seen a fighter be so fundamentally sound in everything he does. It has made him millions of dollars, and led to some very un-suspensful championship rounds. Timmy has risen through the ranks of all time great power forwards in NBA history much the same way. Through an incredibly effective yet not so fan pleasing manner. Both guys play to win, not to thrill.
My unborn children will surely never have great athletic gifts it takes to be a professional athlete. But I will make sure they will know how to do long division, and I’ll most definitely make sure they will know how to drop step. It is the most basic of moves, and yet the most unstoppable. You use your opponents leverage against them as they over commit. Your body serves as a shield enabling you to get off a clean shot with either hand. Duncan plays basketball the way James Naismith intended when he invented the game. In the same vein Floyd fights the way you train your son to box. Yeah maybe he isn’t a brawler, and Mexican fight fans would boo him out of their race if he were Mexican, but if that was your son, wouldn’t you want him to hit and never be hit?
Wouldn’t you want him to have the defense of Sweet Pea and the counter punching of Ray Leonard? Floyd has realized his mouth has to compensate for the perceived lack of entertainment in his fights. In essence he is a promoter. In an era where promoters don’t actually, ya know do much promoting, Floyd is the Ocho Cinco of Boxing. He is always, promoting Floyd Mayweather. Is that worth $65 (in HD) to watch him fight Victor Ortiz? That’s for you to decide but ordering his fights then complaining about how he goes about his business isn’t really going to make him change his modus operandi do you?
The glaring difference between these two all time greats, is one has to promote himself and his sport, while the other shuns the attention and lets his play do the talking. Pundits praise Duncan for his humility and attention to detail. Floyd is distained by many, and reluctantly acknowledged for his greatness. Floyd fights like Duncan and talks like Reggie Miller. And while he may annoy media members and other fighters the bottom line is he has elevated himself to superstar status in a sport where stars have to shine off of their own energy. There is no teammate to pick you up on your off days, and no billion dollar league to market storied rivalries. Boxing is all about the individuals, yet its most infamous individual at the moment Floyd Mayweather, navigates through his career with the attitude of a rebel and the fighting style of a cautious better. Ironically his attitude could rot a team from the core. But in boxing he dances alone on the big stage and maybe that is what attracts these larger than life personalities to a career of combat in the first place.
“It cost you nothing, pay me no mind…”
Look, I get why some people despise him, but I am not a Floyd apologist. There is no need to express your disdain of the man to me. And do I think he sounds foolish to me when he says he is a better fighter than Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali? Of course he does. While I do enjoy his fights, when he is not fighting I really don’t pay much attention to him. I think it is quite obvious that he has a classic case of Napoleon syndrome surrounding himself with a small army for his security detail. And what person who has had multiple tax issues with the IRS thinks it is a good idea to tweet photo evidence of (only) his slips of huge winning bets. When most of his die-hard fans are in the midst of enormous financial strife he spends his winnings on depreciating assets like jewelry and cars. Furthermore his misguided racial rubbish on Ustream about Manny Pacquiao (and all Asian people) was indefensible.
I do however think he is the best boxer in the world. And until I see someone beat him, or he finally retires I will probably always think that. And I to will be in attendance Sept 17th to see him fight along with all the media and twitter experts that claim his fraudulence. Love him or hate him, people cannot stop talking about him. And apparently that has been his goal all along. To be recognized, not to be respected. And there is no doubting that he ultimately is the world the champion of that.
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