How Floyd Mayweather and 50 Cent's TMT Promotions Will Change Boxing Landscape
Floyd Mayweather and 50 Cent are still shaking up the boxing world with their joint venture into the world of boxing promotions.
The Money Team (TMT) has signed former featherweight world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa, Super Six participant Andre Dirrell and many other former champs, according to Robert Littal of BSO.
The industry is in need of something different, and perhaps TMT can bring about a positive change. Here are seven ways, both favorably and unfavorably, that Mayweather's TMT can change boxing.
7. Resurrect a Superstar Who Can Challenge Andre Ward
Right now, the Super Middleweight division looks like it's locked up due to one man: Andre Ward.
The winner of the Super Six as well as the WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine world titles, Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) has made one of the most stacked divisions in boxing look pitiful.
No one has come close to making Ward look bad. He's looked so unbeatable at 168 that he had to look north one division just to find a suitable playmate.
If light heavyweight king Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) comes up short when he faces Ward on Sept. 8, then Mayweather will have the answer in former Sup Six fighter Andre Dirrell (20-1, 14 KOs). Dirrell was set to face Ward during the tournament until a bout with neurological issues forced him out of the ring for nearly two years.
6. Make the Lower Weight Interesting to Casual Fans
With the acquisition of IBF Featherweight World Champion Billy Dib (35-1, 21 KOs), WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Celestino Caballero (36-4, 23 KOs) and former champ Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs), Mayweather obviously believes in the little guys.
Gamboa has the speed and power to not only crush his foes but to do so in entertaining fashion. Dib and Caballero can make for some very entertaining fights as well when paired correctly.
With the likes of WBC champ Jhonny Gonzalez (52-7, 45 KOs) and WBO titlist Orlando Salido (39-11-2, 27 KOs) around to make brutal warfare in the ring, expect a lot of interesting developments at 126.
5. Help Bring Pop Music Performances Back to Boxing
In 1974, Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman was built as one of the biggest sporting events of all time.
To match and add to the hype, top musicians such as the Spinners and the "Godfather of Soul" himself, James Brown, performed before the event took place.
50 Cent made his first set of nine figures off making rap music and still has major connections in that industry. Suggesting he'll bring back epic music performances to boxing is not so far-fetched.
4. Actually Make Mayweather vs. Pacquiao
While it may not be as important as it was years ago, Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) is still in the pound-for-pound discussions and is still one of the two most popular fighters who's currently active.
Floyd Mayweather and Pacquiao represent the rare opportunity to pit the two best fighters on the planet without having to sacrifice anything by submitting to an awkward catch weight.
Seeing that Pacquiao's promoter, Top Rank, and Mayweather's fight-by-fight promotional partners, Golden Boy, have been in a feud for the past few years, maybe TMT will do what Golden Boy couldn't.
TMT and Top Rank could sit down with far less volatile history between them and possibly talk like grown men instead of children. A situation of maturity and respect is the only way a fight of the magnitude of Mayweather-Pacquiao is going to get done.
3. Offer Up Boxing's Next Superfight: Broner vs. Gamboa
Gamboa is a former featherweight champion who unified two titles before losing them on the scales—similar to that of his nearest rival Adrien Broner, who lost his lightweight title due to weight.
Broner (24-0, 20 KOs) is a great talker with plenty of charisma and insults to stir the pot for him to fight just about anybody. While Gamboa isn't the biggest speaker, his combination of speed, power and skills could give Broner's own speed, power and skills a run for their money.
As each continues to move up in weight and defeating championship-caliber opposition with ease, the demand for them to fight each other will only increase.
TMT handles Gamboa, and Golden Boy handles Broner. Mayweather and his relationship with Golden Boy could result in such a monumental matchup smoothly taking place in the future.
Even if TMT and Golden Boy turn out to not get along, Broner expressed an interest in joining Mayweather's TMT someday during an interview with Fight Hype.
In a sport void of superstars as well as super matchups, Broner vs. Gamboa is the type of fight that will not only create fans, but also will rejuvenate the sport when promoted correctly.
2. Bring UFC-Style Match-Making to Boxing
50 Cent outlined his business plan for TMT in a report from James Pandaram of BoxingScene.com.
50 Cent looks to adopt a UFC style of staging stacked pay-per-views that don't depend on one main event. He wants five main events that fill up arenas from jump street rather than slowly fill the stadium until the house is finally packed for the one fight everyone came to see.
If 50 Cent can implement this maneuver and make it a trend that catches on with other promoters, then boxing can truly resurrect itself as a commercially viable sport for more than its top superstars.
In order for the sport to succeed, the fans have to care about more than its two biggest active icons.
1. Attract Different Demographics to Boxing
The most underserved demographic of boxing fans has to be a tie between the hip-hop community and the black American community.
When popular hip-hop sites such as AllHipHop.com and WorldStarHipHop.com deviate from the world of rap, the sport they choose to dive into most is boxing.
Though boxing has had cocky black American boxers since before the days of Jack Johnson's infamous golden smile, the likes of the always-poetic Muhammad Ali captured the world's attention like no other.
Ever since Ali retired from verbally brutalizing his foes before continuing the beating in the ring, the black American audience has searched for that next amazingly talented personality. From Sugar Ray Leonard to Mike Tyson, audiences have gone from one man to the next across various weight classes and decades in search of the savior of boxing.
In the aftermath of Tyson's retirement, the fall of Roy Jones and the total self-destruction of Zab Judah, Floyd Mayweather became that star.
Though TMT has shown some diversity, the fact that Mayweather seeks to sign Judah (42-7, 29 KOs) and Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) is a sign of the audience he seeks to attract.
Just like Top Rank Promotions was able to attract the Hispanic audience with superstars such as Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and Oscar De La Hoya, TMT could bring in a new audience.
This expansion of who boxing serves its content to on a more regular basis will unlock the door for high-profile America vs. Mexico. Lucrative fights of old such as Chavez-Whitaker and De La Hoya-Mosley could happen far more frequently and with greater fanfare.
For more boxing news and analysis, follow me on Twitter @justindavidtate.