Everyone knows that Snoop Dogg coined the phrase, “The game is to be sold, not told.” This expression is a part of his persona, a large part of which is that he makes us feel like he knows something that we don’t know. With every Snoop song that we download, or album that we purchase, we are buying the game that he is selling us. And it does not have to be good music. Hell, I can’t even remember the last time I bought an album, let alone a rap album by a 40 year old rapper name Snoop Dogg.
But I sure will listen to his songs when they are shoved down my throat on the radio. Whether or not his product is still great, Snoop Dogg’s new music seems to always be played on the airwaves. And those that listen to any Top 40 radio station have heard of his name.
So if your name was Snoop Dogg, and you were a 40 year old rapper whose music is somewhat watered down for the mainstream, but it was still generating a profit, wouldn’t you continue making records?
In that sense, Snoop is just like an aging boxer who continues to throw them blows. The business of music has the same formula as it does in boxing. The idea is to milk a profitable product.
And this boxing game is cold, is it not? Just as cold as that fifty dollar bill that we shell out for every Floyd Mayweather vs. Paul Spadafora type of fight. (Mayweather vs. Paul Spadafora, are you freaking kidding me?)
Here is a news flash for you. The promoters in boxing do not want this sport to be organized. They want us to keep thirsting for the big match between Pacquiao and Mayweather until there are no other fights out there to digest. Their job is to present an attraction i.e. Pacquiao, and make a lot of money. That is all. Nowhere in the resume of a promoter does it state: clean up the debauchery in this sport and give the fans the fights that they want to see whenever they want to see them.
Boxing is a business. And as long as the tickets keep selling in the arenas, and money keeps generating, it is hardly sink or swim for any decision maker in this sport.
We have grown to accept this norm in boxing. For every Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto fight there is a Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey. For every Floyd Mayweather vs. Oscar De la Hoya, there is a Mayweather vs. Arturo Gatti.
Collect them easy W’s to obtain a fancy record, that’s the trick. The best do not always have to face the most threatening opponents in boxing in order to make a living. The sport just does not work that way. They only face the best when there are no other alternatives.
So goes the business of our grand game. The tease of something greater than it really is. The Manny Pacquiao vs. Clottey fights. The disgust on our faces watching a mummy, that we thought was a fighter, stalk someone around the ring without throwing a punch.
Why risk the fame? Why risk losing? Why risk career longevity? Lose all of that over one potentially disastrous fight? Hey, it is only fifty dollars for us to watch a PPV fight but it makes millions for them to keep winning.
Forbes Magazine called Floyd Mayweather Jr. the second richest athlete in sports because he made $65 million dollars last year. He only fought one time in 2010 to generate that much money. And we are worried about the fact that he owes $3 million dollars to the IRS. Since when has Mayweather cared about what boxing fans think? Maybe he did in late 2006 before Oscar De la Hoya signed a contract to fight him. Maybe he only cares about boxing fans when he actually decides to fight. I don’t know what he thinks. But he probably does not worry about how we pay our bills, that is for sure. Money is on his mind. And when he is making sixty five million dollars for thirty six minutes of work we cannot blame him.
Like him or not, Mayweather had to go through a bunch to become the most popular American boxer. The Money Man’s fight with Oscar De la Hoya was rescheduled twice before it actually happened, and Floyd had to move up to 154 pounds for it to work. Big fights take time. And the longer we have to wait, the more we build interest. Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye was rescheduled numerous times before they agreed to fight on July 2nd. Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield was postponed for five years before they threw down.
The nature of this business is to create an attraction, and keep it viable. The fighters, managers, promoters, and television stations that cover the sport all understand this concept. And it is just bad business to put a revenue generating fighter’s career at risk against an opponent with nothing to lose when there is no other reason to do so besides pleasing the masses.
Robert Guerrero’s quest to fight Juan Manuel Marquez is a recent example. Guerrero (28-1) has been clamoring for a fight against top lightweight Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1) for years. The Northern California native has stated several times that he has the antidote to defeat Marquez and has even called him scared.
But there is little benefit for Marquez, who is 37 years old, to fight a lesser known younger opponent like Guerrero when he is attempting to get Manny Pacquiao in the ring. What if Guerrero knocks Marquez out? Then what happens? Marquez’s career at the championship level would be practically history, especially if he lost to Robert Guerrero, an athlete that a great majority of sports fans do not even know.
So how do we sell a fight between Marquez and Guerrero?
We get Guerrero in the ring with Michael Katsidis. The Australian knocked Marquez down in their fight a few months ago. If Guerrero impresses against Katsidis then hey, we might have an interesting fight on our hands between Marquez and Guerrero in the near future.
Sell, sell, and sell.
Remember, Jack Dempsey only defended his heavyweight title seven times in his six years as heavyweight champion in the 1920’s but he is considered a legend. Joe Louis had a “Bum of the Month” club and reigned throughout the 1940’s without facing anyone of significance in that decade besides Billy Conn and Jersey Joe Walcott. And Mike Tyson was considered a phenomenon in the 1980’s although he never defeated a marquee opponent in their prime. All three fighters were handled by the most respected promoters of their time Tex Rickard, Mike Jacobs, and Don King respectively. They were promoters who knew how to manufacture a fight to intrigue boxing fans even if that fight was a mismatch.
History has proven that this sport will continue to prosper as long as fight fans watch and pay for meaningless fights. Just like a song that everyone hears but nobody cares about. Welcome to the boxing mainstream my friends, sometimes it just ain’t pretty.
What’s my name, fool? Snoop Dogg.