Boxing and The Media—Falling on the Sword

By Marc Livitz on February 18, 2016
Boxing and The Media—Falling on the Sword
There was no need for Pacquiao to apologize because he meant to say what he said.

The media continues to fall on its own sword. Give them a pencil and they’re a prince. A keyboard makes them a king…

The early months of a new year are not among the busiest in the sport of boxing for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t entertain us in the same way a great movie does, however. Not many will go to a cinema to see a film where the audience is split down the middle with fans alongside detractors.

While we wait to see what really becomes of newly crowned heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, we can at the very least rest assured that we won’t have to jog anyone’s memory for a while to see who sits atop the sport’s pinnacle. In the meantime, boxing’s self monikered “cash cow” simply won’t ride off into even the most quaint of pugilistic sunsets, at least not while the sun is still shining in the form of Pavlovian media hounds. To put such a thought frankly, Floyd Mayweather Jr.‘s contribution to the sport (more so out of as opposed to in the ring) won’t be fully appreciated, admired or to some, forgotten to its fullest as long as hoards of media still crawl towards everything he says.

Despite the fact that Floyd has said to the point of peeling paint and copper from the walls that he’s done, many within the sports media have found boxing to be bare without the Las Vegas resident in the news. This should be where the dedicated representatives within the journalistic world are separated from the fan boys and pom-pom shakers. The divide reached an almost intolerable fever pitch this past May. The regular corps of boxing writers who slowly cut their teeth to gain a foothold in the business found obtaining a credential to “The Fight of the Century” to be a difficult task indeed. This was due in large part to the fact that representatives of sports and general news outlets alike who couldn’t tell the difference between a power punch and a power nap suddenly decided that they needed to be part of the festivities in Sin City.

As a result, the saps who just “had to be there” contributed to the bout feeling more like an Academy Awards ceremony than a fight between the sport’s top two attractions. Manny Pacquiao has made headlines of his own recently. We’ve known for a good while that the eight-division champion from Sarangani Province, Philippines, has neither love nor respect and apparently, no regard for same sex couples. Fair enough, yet of course the media clamored to the comments like a “Trials of Wildlife” video for news that was just a matter of time in the making. His upcoming bout with Tim Bradley in April is already suffering from poor ticket sales (see Ticketmaster for verification), yet will anyone boycott his bout because of his comments?

The news recently broke that sportswear giant Nike has zapped Manny’s contract due to his potentially inflammatory comments, yet even they had to have known that he’d eventually open his mouth and preach away to his heart’s content. There was no need for him to apologize because he meant to say what he said and therefore, he doesn’t care that he may have rubbed a few million people the wrong way. The irony? Manny wearing a Nike shirt with the words, “Fight for a Better World” emblazoned across the front. A better world, indeed. Vlad Dracula would have been so proud.

Still, as long as the “media” exists, whether they be true journalists or mere opportunistic ambulance chasers, breaking news involving either Mayweather or Pacquiao will still dominate the headlines. Gennady Golovkin, Roman Gonzalez, Terence Crawford. Who are they? The media continues to fall on its own sword. Give them a pencil and they’re a prince. A keyboard makes them a king.

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  1. tuxtucis 01:39am, 02/20/2016

    The Catholic Pacquaio has said what is written in his Holy Book; Christians who says homosexuality is an acceptable behavior have to justify, not Manny. I think homosexuality is acceptable, but I’m agnostic not Christian. Point.

  2. The Fight Film Collector 09:48am, 02/19/2016

    Thanks to Mark, Eric and Paul, and I agree with much of what they have written.  “We have to pay the bills” has been the mantra from the network and print news media for more than a generation now. Not just because of the internet. And not because journalists and news editors believe this. Mostly it’s due to the corporate investors and entertainment media deciding that news is only a product, and should pay for itself like any other product.  Journalism alone has never been a profit making field and that’s not its purpose.  There’s always been fluff in newspapers and magazines, but the publishers floated their business by selling advertising through the entertainment branches, so news could operate with independence.  Corporate culture is not interested in whether the public is informed or whether the public is misinformed. Clicks don’t sell anything.  A cat video on Youtube or Kim Kardashian in a titty shirt will get more clicks than any Pacquiao and Mayweather story. Clicks are just numbers that publishers pitch to attract advertisers. The issue right now is that someone like Mayweather ends up dictating and the reporters just reprint his message with no genuine objectivity. The notion that Mayweather is an authority on racism and bigotry is laughable. But this idea has been spread in part because journalists haven’t bothered for instance, to research and point out Floyd’s past comments and video rants about Filipino’s and Hispanics.  Pacquiao’s comments on gays was stupid at most, but the fact that he was just quoting the standard company line from Christian and Muslim fundamentalists has hardly been mentioned. Just because Mayweather or Pacquiao is the lead in a story, doesn’t mean the journalist can’t include informed and critical content.  Journalists can tell themselves that they write quickly-crafted pieces to pay for the well-written historical news, but that assumes the readers know, and value, the difference.

  3. Paul Magno 01:01pm, 02/18/2016

    Nice piece, Marc….If you know who I am and are familiar with my body of work, you know that nobody has been a harsher critic of boxing media than yours truly…but here’s the reality from someone looking to stay afloat and make a living in the boxing website business: You have to be conscious of what actually brings in traffic…Fans will cry and whine about poor content and about beating the Mayweather-Pacquiao dead horse, but when you’re on my side of the editor’s desk, you see the numbers and the reality…The ONLY things generating any traffic these days have to do with Mayyweather and/or Pacquiao…it’s what people WANT to read and, sadly, what keeps traffic high enough to keep a writer and/or site in the black financially…One minor Mayweather piece generates more clicks than anything you could post regarding Golovkin or Gonzalez…A quickly-crafted Pacquiao piece will bring in fifty times the traffic of a well-written, detailed historical piece…People say one thing, but respond to another…So, if you’re a writer making a living in the business, the question you have to answer is whether you want to keep making a living or whether you want to be starved out of the business by posting quality pieces that just won’t be read…If you want to stay in the business, there are two compromises you have to decide on—become a shill who gets “sponsored” by promoters and/or managers and networks to write about particular fighters or post the junk people want to read and allow that money to buy you the chance to post the stuff you WANT to write…That’s just the reality…Until the public actually responds to good writing about interesting subjects, we get bullshit…and a writer has to learn to dish heaping helpings of that bullshit so he can make enough money to hopefully write the good stuff…

  4. Eric 09:16am, 02/18/2016

    Much ado about nothing. Is it any wonder why people are chunking their television sets in the trash heap. Instead of boycotting Manny, most people with an IQ above plant life have apparently decided to boycott the “media” and Hollyweird.

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