The recent David Haye Sideshow Bob remarks for any fans of the hit TV series ‘The Simpsons’ will likely have brought a small smile or chuckle out of you. But in many ways they are also indicative of the new hyper-trash talk era professional boxing is now in.
No longer is it enough to market a fighter on his ability, the rival that lays in front of him or his background story on how he got into boxing.
Now fighters are in many ways promoters themselves, with social media providing a platform for them to put out their own remarks, jokes, call outs, content, pictures and videos without the editing of a traditional media outlet, middle man or TV broadcaster.
Some are better at it than others. Case in point American heavyweight Shannon Briggs.
He’s used Instagram in particular quite brilliantly with his now famous social media phrase ‘Lets Go Champ’. It is now trademarked by the American.
The David Haye Sideshow Bob gag by Tony Bellew is the latest in the verbal sparring between the two, with Haye returning fire this week by calling Bellew a ‘Bellend’ in this video.
I remember not long ago former WBO middleweight world champion Andy Lee mentioning that we now live in an era of ‘Starbucks Boxing’.
Essentially, he was referring to how fighters who market and promote themselves the best nowadays are the ones that get the big opportunities.
Not necessarily the best actual fighters.
David Haye Sideshow Bob joke by Tony Bellew
You could say this example rings through to Cuban boxing maestro Guillermo Rigondeaux for one.
Although he is one of the most skillful operators you’ll ever see and is loved by the purists of boxing, few outside of the sport know who he is due to lack of opportunity and a perceived boring fight style by those who do not watch boxing outside of the big fights.
For the sport to continue to grow and keep up it’s resurgence going (internationally) in recent years, it’s likely we’ll need to see more cross-over type promotional activity from fighters and adept self-promoters like Briggs, Haye, Bellew and so on.
So that new fans who wouldn’t normally watch boxing are actually compelled and interested in it enough to sit down and watch someone fight.
The pay per view model in boxing continues to be a bone of contention among fans with it not having the best success as a model in the United States in particular in 2016.
Sports fans outside of regular boxing fans need to know who a fighter is for them to tune in.
Perhaps more engaging online content provided by rights holders and more network TV viewing is the answer to the current declining pay per view model in the USA.
A good point was made by one American journalist here for a fight in 2017:
Kovalev-Ward did 160K buys. Thurman-Porter had almost 4M viewers. Thurman-Garcia as Showtime on CBS is an absolute must.
— RoldBoxing (@RoldBoxing) November 29, 2016