By Charles Glover, Jr.
On Saturday, May 3, Floyd “Money” Mayweather will attempt to unify the welterweight championship belts as he faces fellow champion Marcos Maidana. The undefeated Mayweather is the biggest pay-per-view draw by a wide margin, allowing him to earn upwards of $73 million in just two fights last year. There is no denying Mayweather is the best that boxing has to offer at this point.
However, Mayweather is 37 and has already participated in forty-five professional fights. There will come a time in the near future when Mayweather is unable to draw the fans to the television and to the ring to watch his fights. The ‘dangling carrot’ of a fight with the second most popular boxer, Manny Pacquiao, will eventually lose its effect on fans.
Floyd Mayweather Sr., the boxer’s father and trainer, may have added fuel to that proposed fight by recently when he said:
“Manny and Floyd? That would be the easiest fight Floyd could make…This [Maidana] fight right here will be harder than Manny, trust me.”
As clamor for Mayweather versus Pacquiao wanes, there are different options for fans of combat sports.
Mixed martial arts has risen drastically in popularity over the last twenty years. In particular, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has established a product that has targeted the very demographics that boxing used to dominate. UFC president, Dana White, is excited to extol the gains the UFC has made on boxing in viewership among males.
“When I was at ESPN all day, all the guys there were talking about our numbers. That’s all that matters,” she said.
White is counting on the rising popularity of champions Jon “Bones” Jones and Ronda Rousey to continue the growth of the UFC. Meanwhile, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) launched a 24-hour streaming network in February, in preparation for the marquee event, WrestleMania 30 that took place early April.
The WWE continues to reinvent itself as a brand by marketing to multiple demographics through cross promotions. The firm routinely has WWE superstars featured on television and in movies, while producing original programming that gives extra recognition to their talent. The WWE Divas are providing an added dimension to the company as their reality show Total Divas allows fans to connect even more with their favorite WWE cast member.
The bottom line for boxing is that the other combat sports are continuing to add layers of interest to grow their sport. Meanwhile, boxing appears to be doing more to harm its sport than help it. The multiple governing bodies, uncooperative promoters, and incompetent judges that have plagued boxing over the past 20 years have placed the sport in a precarious situation: loss of interest from the fan base. The sport of boxing needs to make some major changes before Mayweather retires and takes major fan interest in boxing into retirement with him.–OnPointPress.net–
Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.