My husband likes boxing. Like REALLY likes boxing. Like I had to fight him to keep a poster of Muhamed Ali from adorning our bedroom wall (it didn’t go with our color scheme). As a result, I am subject to hours of boxing commentary and re-runs. Through all this, I’ve begun to see some interesting marketing trends that dominate this brutal and seemingly nonsensical sport.
First of all, the real fight is already done months before the bell rings. It’s all about the hype. The anticipation. It’s almost like a reality show the way fighters and their promoters talk trash and heighten the drama between each fighter’s entourage. It’s all in an effort to increase ticket sales which is why the boxers with the biggest mouths tend to draw the biggest numbers.
You’ve probably heard about the Mayweather and McGreger fight. If not, Google it. This matchup between a retired champ and a foreign novice to boxing made more money than any other fight in middleweight history.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. had retired from the sport for almost 2 years prior to the fight night of Aug. 26, 2017. Granted, he’d won several world titles in recent years, but he wasn’t exactly an upstanding people’s champion. Having had a criminal history and notoriously arrogant disposition, he didn’t have many loving fans after the gloves come off. Most of the reverence is due to his prowess in the ring. And yes, he does call himself “Money” Mayweather. Wouldn’t you if you were worth upwards of $440 million?
Conor McGregor was notorious in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (hence the nickname “Notorious”). At the time, McGregor sported an impressive 21-3 record in the UFC octagon, and with only one amateur fight in his career, he kind of came out of nowhere. The 29-year-old Irishman swept the world of MMA with his impressive striking in the octagon, and his big mouth outside it, making him fan favorite in UFC events worldwide.
Perhaps Conor’s biggest weapon, however, was the arrogance that led him to challenge the undefeated Floyd Mayweather, reigning welterweight boxing champion of the world, to a boxing match.
Even to the untrained eye, MMA fighter Conor McGregor had no business stepping into the boxing ring with “Pretty Boy” Floyd. What the world was truly interested in was seeing two guys pull endless shenanigans before the fight. Oh, and experiencing the satisfaction of a watching a cocky fighter get his butt kicked. Or, punched… This isn’t MMA after all.
A few months after the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight, another less advertised, matchup took place. It made a fraction of the money but was one of the better matches of the century.
The fight between Canelo and GGG was a whole lot simpler than the aforementioned event. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is an electrifying fighter from Mexico who prefers to dispatch his opponents with strong counter-combos and powerful punches. With a record of 49-1, he was the biggest threat to GGG’s title. Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin (GGG) was 37-0 prior to the fight.
Up until this fight, both fighters mowed through the competition. Both men had much to lose (or gain), including a world title. It was a fight years in the making, and it finally went down on Sept. 16, 2017. But nobody cared.
So why does a fight like Mayweather vs. McGregor generate so much more revenue and publicity than a good old-fashioned battle between the two best boxers in the middleweight division? Because the sport of boxing is becoming less about what goes down in the ring, and more about the juicy drama leading up to the event. It’s what creates interest in the fight, and what helps fighters justify putting their bodies through such a beating for the sake of entertainment. Mayweather and McGregor are the most successful and arrogant athletes in their sport. The world knew that when they went toe to toe in a boxing match, sparks were bound to fly. In the aftermath of the MayMac fight, Canelo and GGG hardly attracted the same crowd by comparison.
Alyssa is a Brand Manager and spends most of her time writing emails, posting on social media, and updating websites. Feel free to email her to talk about creating hype around your products, services and events!