Bring back the King

By Robert Brown: In my last article I proceeded to focus on how one of the major reasons for boxing being in a major decline is the excessive amount of worthless title belts which are currently in existence, another major reason for the popularity of boxing being in free fall in regards to the mainstream general public is the failure of promotional companies to tailor their marketing towards the general population.

The HBO reality show program 24/7 has gone some way to bridging the gap and rectifying these issues, however for the general viewer who is not a hard core boxing fan to be interested in this program, the perspective viewer must still have a fair degree of knowledge about the boxer’s records and histories to understand and be drawn in to this program, so although this program bridges some of the gap by giving you short back ground histories and an inside look at the fighters, this program is still tailored towards more the casual and hardcore boxing fans rather than aiming to convert the general public into boxing fans.

These days promoters in all companies seem to be to inwardly focus in promoting their own fighters rather than promoting the fight as a whole, which would be more successful in gaining mainstream exposure which would keep the boxing industry alive and thriving. Promoting of fights these days seems to be as predictable as political press conferences and I think the boxing and general public has grown tired of it.

One fighter says why they’re going to win, then the promoter stands up and says a few words, some standard trash talk and the process continues through a number of cities up until the fight takes place and it seems everybody is desensitized to the way these promotions are run and while some promotions if reasonably well done may draw hardcore boxing fans into buying the pay per view, it seems to have little if no effect on the mainstream population.

In my opinion there is only one almost guarantee way of beginning to fix this issue, and that is making Don King once again a powerful force in boxing, Don King with his crazy hair style, his flamboyance and incredible ability to turn an ordinary fight into a major global event, like him or not is exactly what boxing needs to put its self back into the forefront of people’s minds.

Don King no matter who or what he was promoting had the ability to promote the fight as a whole and find an emotional hook which would draw both the general and boxing public in, this was most famously demonstrated in the “Cooney Vs Holmes” fight when Don King turned a championship fight into a black Vs white race relations issue and suddenly instead of just being a world championship fight it was another great white hope match and the public forgot about what an incredible technical mismatch the fight could be and eventually turned out to be.

What Don King always understood is that it is not necessarily the quality of the bout that draws people in, it is the particular narrative that you use to promote the fight which draws the public in the same way a successful television drama does.

The promotions for the fights these days are more like watching C-Span that a good TV drama, which is why boxing needs people like Don King desperately, whether you like them or hate them, I believe also that having a third power breaker to compete with Top Rank and Golden Boy would make it easier to negotiate marquee bouts and I believe if Don King got in bed with Floyd Mayweather the Paquiao / Mayweather bout would have a much stronger chance of being negotiated in the near future.

Don King and Floyd Mayweather with Pacquiao and Arum on the other side could light a fuse and could create one of the most controversial and there for most successful promotions of all time, so there for I say to mister King come back we need you.

Article posted on 08.09.2011

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