Boxing and advertising -Down for the count?

AdAge did an interesting story about waning interest in professional boxing by corporate sponsors. Specifically, the piece is about one-time welterweight champion, Floyd Mayweather. He, as you may know, also did a turn on Dancing with the Stars. Mayweather still commands huge paydays in the ring –some 75 million for his last bout- but advertisers by and large remain indifferent to him.

In his piece, Jeremy Mullman cites continuous bad publicity and corruption as primary reasons for the sport’s diminishing popularity, in particular with advertisers. The onset of Ultimate Fighting into the mainstream is another. The “sweet science” is being upgraded by fighting that is both more brutal and more technical. Call it fighting 2.0.

Boxing has always been an enigma to me. In my early twenties I adored it. I suppose a lot of men did. Fighters like Hector “Macho” Camacho ruled the ring and Wide World of Sports. Remember that? Ali had long since retired but, of course, his nemesis, George Foreman was still banging heads and then began selling grills as well. We all know Mike Tyson. Big personalities and badass boxers as well.

For whatever reasons, boxing seems antiquated now. Something from another time, like the afternoon paper, playing cards or …advertising?

I wonder if there are lessons in this for us in Adland. Perhaps the sweet science of “persuasive communication” could learn from boxing’s downturn. Farfetched? Think about it. We too are being encroached by more brutal and more technical means, first the Internet and now social media. Corruption and bad press also beset us. Like boxing, twenty years ago we were the shit. Like boxing, we are now in the shit.

More likely, I’m full of shit. Boxing and advertising are completely different, like apples and oranges. But it was fun comparing them, sort of like those writing exercises we’d get in college: discuss two disparate things and form a cogent argument. Anyway, I suppose I got carried away. But what can I say? I like boxing and advertising. I also like writing exercises!

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