In today's boxing world, marketing yourself as a fighter has become almost as important as talent. (Well, maybe not quite... but it's close.) Unfortunately this media-driven world, full of reality television and sensational news stories, has created a demand for "personalities." The bigger, the better. The more outrageous a person is or the more abnormal their behavior, the more attention and press they get. Good, bad or even a little of both translates into valuable face time these days.
Being highly skilled and a great athlete may not be enough to get you recognized or get you paid any more. Think about it. How many fighters have you seen who create conversation, who have great records, who are surrounded by tons of hype and who get lots of exposure, but are just "okay" once the bell rings?
Part of that marketability, that "buzz," is created by personality. So how do you become that fighter who can sell tickets, get the attention of promoters and get paid? Let's break it down in three simple steps...
Be exciting. Make the fight happen. That doesn't mean being reckless to press the action. It does mean setting an action-packed pace that’s entertaining and keeps the crowd engaged. People don’t have a lot of time to spare and won’t invest their time on anything less than mesmerizing. You have to be worth watching.
Be extreme. Be extremely angry. Be extremely gregarious and outgoing. Be extremely passionate. Be extremely talented. Whatever your strength is, focus on it, share it and showcase it for the boxing world to see. No one likes plain, boring or predictable. Take what you do best, magnify it and showcase it. Package it, present it and sell it. It's not being fake, it's being marketable.
Be interesting. Everyone has a story and you have to be willing to tell yours. It might be sad, painful, weird, inspiring, interesting or somewhat boring, but there has to be a "human interest" element to it to get noticed. What in your life story sets you apart and will make people want you to win? Whether you were raised in an abusive home and are fighting for recognition or you have lived a blessed life and give back by donating your free time to help feed the homeless. No matter which side of the street you grew up on, people love underdogs as much as they love people who care. Find your story and tell it.
In order to be that marketable commodity that gets people talking about you and wanting to pay to see you fight, you have to take your boxing personae to the next level. You don't have to be a character, you just have to know who you are. And you have to be willing to share that, be true to it, don't veer from it and work your butt off to be in a position to shine the spotlight on it.
Those are three BE's of how you become a marketable fighter.
Having spelled it out, now let me add that - None of it has any value unless you are hitting the gym, practicing your craft and getting better all day, every day. You don't want to be all sizzle and no meat, but if you're "well done" then you deserve a spot on the boxing menu.
Douglas Ward is the Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing.