Since boxing began, it has always had a huge link to much more than two fantastic athletes engaging in epic battles. It did not just captivate crowds, and fans the world over. It has always been vastly political, and drawn huge interest from business men who share notoriety with genuine good will in equal measure.
All the way through its history boxing has been linked to organised crime. Whether it was fights being rigged, or just tipping promoters a shady bribe to make sure the venue used was their particular front or place of business, it has always had to deal with these accusations It is thought this was rife up till the late 60’s and has since faded away from the sport loved the world over more and more. The motivation behind these criminal dealings though has always been an attempt, all be it a crude one, to turn boxing into a huge business.
On top of all of this, we have the huge industries surrounding all sorts of sports, including the boxing equipment that is bought by the masses, everything from the top gloves to punch bags in peoples homes, companies like Everlast have made millions out of the sport.
Nowadays genuine promoters the world over are almost as famous as the fighters themselves. Don King was the undisputed heavyweight champion, and never laced up a glove. Coveting a monopoly over the top talents and almost having more power than any rankings on deciding who got their title shots, and when and where they took place. Plenty of other promoters have the jobs of developing the fighters in their stables , and almost have as much effect as the fighters coaching team.
Picking the right opponents, and steadily building them up through levels of difficulty, and difference experiences are hugely important. After all you can not push them in the deep end too soon. All of this is to cultivate and grow their prize fighter into a skilled operator, a man who has the public all over the country on their side, and eventually all over the world. Naturally this leads to fighters with big personalities, that sell big tickets, big PPV buys and big merchandise. All making big money for the promoters.
In America former Legendary fighter Oscar De La Hoya formed golden boy promotions, and Bob Arum dominates with top rank. This leads to lots of political issues to do with TV networks such as HBO and Show time, sadly making it harder than ever to make the super fights. The rival promotional banners each are signed to their own networks, and its rare you can reach an agreement on who should televise the fights The fact this business aspect gets in the way really harms the sport, but as long as promoters keep earning the money, and putting on good shows it will continue. Yes boxing really is that much of a business and political minefield.
It is now not enough for the boxers themselves to just be fighters, as their careers develop many launch their own promotional banners, to have a greater control over their futures. They usually launch them under the banner of another larger company, so they can grow in their infancy, before breaking out on their own. Amir Khan has developed his own promotional team under the guidance of Golden Boy, and Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather has the originally named Mayweather promotions, which now have their own large stable of young American talent, and are a huge player in the business of boxing.
The business of boxing over the last 20 years in the UK has changed dramatically. The main war used to be between Barry Hearn and Frank Warren. They had the great Super middleweights such as Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn. Warren dominated for a long time with the likes of Welsh great Joe Calazghe and Prince Naseem Hahmed, as well as many more.
The balance of power has swung massively though with Barry Hearn’s son Eddie now creating a superstar stable of British talent. His television deal with Sky is what launched him into the big time with huge shows being put on monthly, and having several world champions that he has manoeuvred and developed. The Sky TV deal is the main driving force though, as this guarantees his fighters the best Exposure to the British audience and also huge ppv sales through their Sky Box Office features.
All this boosts the usual merchandise sales, and improves the popularity of boxing massively. It is a huge boost to the brands such as Everlast and Grant. Many people take it on as a form of keeping fit, and it was at one point called “the new running” for fitness fanatics the world over. SO be it ppv sales, arena tickets, or merchandise and equipment sales, the business of boxing is booming in a way it never has before.