Do Boxers Need to Make a Scene in the Media to Become Big-Money Fighters?
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Boxing is one of the most demanding ways to make your way in sports.
Athletic ability is just one of the factors that comes into play in allowing you to qualify for this profession. Specific characteristics like quickness, hand speed, punching power, aggressiveness and the ability to defend yourself. Once you have developed these talents, you have a chance to compete.
However, there will come a time when you get hit hard in the ring.
That's when you find out about yourself. Do all your skills come into sharper focus at that moment, or do you focus on the pain? If you can absorb the punishment and continue to move forward while not losing a beat, you have a chance to develop into a great fighter.
If you can't, then you are in the wrong business.
But if you have the athletic talent, develop all the skills, are diligent in your training and become a great fighter, is that enough?
Do you need to have an outsized personality to make it to the top of the business?
You may be able to win a championship if you don't have a charismatic personality, but the big money fighters are the ones who can win the press conferences and talk shows as well as their fights.
The most popular fighters of the past all had huge personalities. Muhammad Ali may have been the most significant athlete of the 20th century. He walks with the likes of Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan.
But as far as personality goes, Ali was in a class of his own. Not only did he speak and act in a breathtaking manner, he championed important social causes. He became a key symbol in the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement.
George Foreman was one of Ali's chief rivals. When they met in 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire, Foreman was the champion and a huge betting favorite. He also carried himself in a menacing manner and had a fearsome personality.
When he got knocked out by Ali, his career and his life went into a tailspin. He would eventually mount a comeback. When he did, he no longer presented himself as mean and nasty. Instead, he was happy, warm and friendly. He became one of the most popular—and well-paid—fighters of his day.
Foreman realized that if he wanted to continue to get paid, he had to bring more than a hard right-handed punch into the ring.
It was like that in previous generations, and it was like that in generations that followed.
Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano were brilliant fighters who had an aspect to their personalities that made them even bigger. Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have all dominated in the ring and also captured the world's attention with their personalities.
Louis, Marciano and Hagler may not have had the most outgoing personalities, but each one had personal charisma.
Great fighters can earn decent money, but only those who light up the screen can become the legendary big-money fighters who are remembered for generations.
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