Trash talking in boxing is far from a modern day revolution; Muhammad Ali was as fine an exponent of the pre-fight mind games as he was in the ring. But with recent technological advances giving us round-the-clock access to fighters, it has become a prevalent feature in modern day fighters.
Super middleweights Carl Froch and George Groves have been at each other’s throats ahead of their hotly anticipated rematch on May 31. Be it on Twitter, through our television sets or face-to-face at press conferences, trash talk is everywhere as boxers try and gain a mental foothold over their opponents.
It is no coincidence that, coupled with a highly controversial first outing, 80,000 tickets have been sold for a Wembley rematch. Froch and Groves remain a shining example of how being outspoken increases tickets sales, but two other British fighters have commenced verbal barrages to drum up support for a grudge match of their own.
In the process of eyeing a rematch, a day barely goes by without cruiserweights Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew taunting each other. As part of his Sky Sports duties, Bellew was ringside for the Welshman’s second round victory over Shawn Corbin.
Whereas both previously had attainable world title ambitions, with Cleverly a WBO light heavyweight champion when he prevailed over the Liverpudlian last time, both fighters are in need of the victory this time for a different reason. Both are arguably susceptible to big-punching contenders and so world title prospects look bleak at the new, higher weight. The next best option is to fight each other, cashing in on a touted rivalry dating back several years.
A domestic level clash would usually fail to deliver a crowd surpassing the four-figure mark, but Cleverly and Bellew’s supposed hate for each other means crowds will flock. Whether they genuinely dislike each other or appreciate that talking one another down makes financial sense is another argument.
Brash boxer Adrien Broner has proven that being loud-mouthed and somewhat crude in your statements can equate to millions of dollars. Even when Marcos Maidana exposed Broner back in December it failed to deter promotional heavyweights Golden Boy Promotions, who gave him a prime slot on Floyd Mayweather’s last card.
Does the outspoken American have the talent to mix with the best welterweights? It remains to be seen, but his name is often in the public domain and he therefore draws in PPV buys, which satisfy Golden Boy and TV network Showtime.
Whether we approve or not, casual fans continue to buy into manufactured personalities and match-ups supposedly full of hate.
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