Damn, boxing, you're not falling back into your 2014 groove, are you?
Your best laid plans, and stated intentions from so many of the power brokers about 2015 being a turnaround year, an out-of-transition-and-into-power-position year, that stuff isn't going the way of the heart-felt resolutions to do the right thing, and hit the gym to carve off that stubborn midsection covering, is it?
Because I'd have thought we already would have heard that the deal was done, signed, sealed, delivered, Is dotted, Ts crossed, so that our nation would finally see the heavyweight divisions' stalwart and acknowledged ace, Wladimir Klitschko (63-3 with 53 KOs, coming off a most impressive win over Kubrat Pulev in November), gloving up in the States, in a US arena, against a viable foe.
It seemed like a slam dunk, like it was just details being wrapped up before the holidays, and I thought everyone would come back with their Caymans glow, and lock down that April 25 date at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and my appetite could get whetted for a Klitschko contest against the athletic and unbeaten Philly fighter Bryant Jennings (19-0, with 10 KOs; age 30).
The Caymans glows are fading, though…and is the certainty that April 25 will be the night topped by Klitschko-Jennings in the buzziest borough on the planet also lessening?
It felt that way as I soaked up the chatter on Friday night at that first Roc Nation boxing event, which unfolded at the MSG Theater, and on Fox Sports 1, and for which I'm duty bound to note I served as an on-air reporter, interviewing Andre Ward about signing on with Jay Z's crew.
From what I could discern, it seems like maybe Klitschko isn't in the groove, isn't in sync with Roc Nation. Was I reading between the lines right that Wlad isn't sure that he will get the large lion's share of buzz 'n' attention in this promotion, that the Jay Z's and Rihanna's and such will snag too many mentions on social media and on TMZ and even in print media? I find that a dubious reading, to be honest, even if that's what I heard a couple folks whispering. Why? Because it was just the other day I was leafing thru some celeb rag or another—um, I think the missus brought one home from the office or something–and saw a majestic snap of Wlad's fiancee, Hayden Panettierre, cradling the baby she and the 6-6 hitter made and she presented to the planet on Dec. 9. Wlad was mentioned in this celeb-centered periodical, and I dare say he will get mad love and buzz when and if all the unresolveds get buttoned up for April 25.
Wlad, this is my promise to you, I will not, if this is something you are worried about, focus on the Jay Z angle, and all the A listers he did and will lure to his “throneboxing” events. It's about the bouts, Wlad, for me and I dare say 99% of the other keyboard tappers working….And for those that are more intrigued by the celeb-iness of the Roc rollout into the fight game, man, you stack up pretty well yourself. You and Ms. Panettiere make a most dashing couple, and I can promise that the TMZs and such will be locked in on you two the weeks before April 25. Add to that, in my mind–and mind you, I'm a “rising tide lifts all boats” sort–I think the sum of the parts, with the Roc buzz and the actress/boxer pairing, which is arresting both visually and characterologically, goes a looong way towards building the Klitschko brand here in the US. I simply don't think there's an ounce of harm in basking in some of the Roc shine which Jay and his TMZ-worthy pals throw off. Use it, Wlad, work it.
Get into photo ops with Jay Z, one with Ri Ri if the missus isn't the jealous sort.
You will, I offer, actually find yourself on the radars of some folks who would not have had an inkling of an idea that you are the man on the heavyweight scene if you work with the Roc branding push, instead of, as I've heard whispered, not being enthralled with being affiliated.
Roll with the Roc punching program, Wlad, and let's firm up this deal. Pretty much everyone but Shannon Briggs, I think, is in agreement with me…
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