by Tim Harrison
The internet was supposed to bring information to us at speeds previously unheard of; it was supposed to democratize us and set us free from the confines of newspapers and the five ‘o clock news. So why are boxing fans still being inundated with redundant information from national press tours?
If you’ve paid attention to the latest boxing news you are more than aware that Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley recently concluded their two-city, coast-to-coast press tour. Hot on the heels of Pacquiao’s press tour, Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto embarked on a three-city press tour – starting in Puerto Rico, while making a stop in New York before concluding in Los Angeles – to announce their May 5 mega-fight.
Over the course of two weeks every boxing website was flooded with quotes, highlights, videos, and snapshots of the same carpet rolled out on different days. One press conference would have been fine.
If you’ve seen Pacquiao tell one reporter in Los Angeles that he expects Bradley to be tough and he wants to give the fans a good fight, then you can be sure you’ll see Pacquiao say the same thing to a reporter in New York.
Mark Kriegel, New York Times Best-Selling Author and Fox Sports Columnist, told me at the press conference to announce the November 2010 bout between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito, “If you’ve been to one press conference, you’ve been to ‘em all.”
If you take away the subtle differences that come into play with differing personalities, flared tempers, and possibly-staged physical altercations, Kriegel is right; press conferences are really the same regardless of who is there. They exist solely to convince people that they are in store for an exciting fight, regardless of the oil-and-water-type clash of style that may be present.
This week brought us (or maybe just me) past the point of tolerance for excessive press conferences. In the case of Saul Alvarez vs. Shane Mosley, the co-feature and chief supporting bout to Mayweather’s May 5 clash with Miguel Cotto, both men showed up in Mexico, seemingly to convince fans that Shane Mosley still has some gas in the tank. It is a strange day when an undercard fight – especially one so unwanted as Alvarez vs. Mosley – goes out on its own press tour. Perhaps it speaks to the greater need to sell a fight between a young prospect-champion and a faded star who has phoned in his last three performances.
And as Saul Alvarez and Shane Mosley took to Mexico to hype the fight almost no one wants to see, Todd DuBoef dragged Brandon Rios on a two-city press tour to promote a fight with Yuriorkis Gamboa, despite Gamboa’s displeasure with his contract and subsequent refusal to fight. For four days Rios-Gamboa headlines dominated the “news” cycle. Rios is well on his way to being hailed as another in a long line of “most avoided fighters” churned out by the Top Rank PR Juggernaut, and “El Ciclon de Guantanamo” was chopped down and spat out as Yuriorkis “Where’s Waldo” Gamboa.
Boxing no longer occupies the front pages of a sports section in the newspaper, and the section parceled out on most major sports websites falls into the “other sports” category. Whether we like it or not, boxing is a sport that has shifted to digital media. The time when press conferences in every major market were a necessity is gone. With information flooding our Facebook and Twitter timelines, information saturation is apparent.
It is no secret that boxing is run by characters that one would swear were taken right from the pages of a Dick Tracy comic book, and it is these types who are unwilling, or unaware that they need to adjust their way of doing business to meet the demands of a new world. It is the media that must be willing to make a change, or risk turning away dedicated readers who can no longer stand to see “Mayweather: I’m the best fighter to ever live!” flooding their timelines.
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