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Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, Fighting in Brooklyn July 29, Has a Message For Marketers

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I believe that marketers have been lacking in latching on to the power of pugilists to help them push their product or brand.

Think about it: We all, to one extent or another, have to fight our way through life. And the boxer is someone who embodies the successful navigation of fighting. So many fighters come from those prototypical humble beginnings, and have scratched and clawed and climbed the rungs to get to a place of prominence.

Boxing is a metaphor for life, and boxers offer a sound blueprint for living.

OK, I can hear critics answer…Too many boxers behave badly, and that sort of branding isn’t what any product maker or company wants or needs. Nah; wrong. The vast majority of fighters are good people, clean living, role models even.

I touched on the subject of athletes as role models and their attractiveness to marketers and sponsors with 28 year old Brooklyn bred heavyweight contender Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, fighting July 29 against Gerald Washington at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  He appeared on episode  56 of the “TALKBOX” podcast, on the EVERLAST platform.

“I don’t believe in the word role model. I’m not a role model. I’m a real model. What you see is what you get. Anthony Joshua is a role model,” Miller told me. “The whole aura, the way he moves, promoter Eddie Hearn team put that together make him look a certain way. It’s straight BS..people that know him, how he is, he’s not built for that. He tries to act tough..” Basically, Miller says, the real AJ is not as he appears. Miller shares what he tells potential sponsors when they approach him. I like the directness, and the insightfullness he’s trafficking in.

“I tell them, I’m a fighter. Sometimes we’re gonna say things maybe a basketball player won’t say,” Miller said. “But you gotta understand, we’re putting our life on the line! We can definitely get hurt. So the frame of mind I’m in is, kill somebody. If you have a problem with me saying I’m gonna kill someone, then I’m probably not the athlete for you. A lot more companies are jumping over fighters now. You gotta understand what a fighter is, know where he comes from.”

Good points.

OK, so no, it maybe woldn’t be the right fit if you are Coca Cola, and you latch on with a boxer who, like Big Baby says, talks about killing a foe. We get that. But the intensity of the boxers’ mission, the direct way they have to view their task, the immensity of the stakes of their fight, all that material is and should more often be utilized by marketers. You can think of a dozen manufacturers and companies who could align their vision and desired rep to a fighter of this sort.

Miller says he’s fine with having a respectful back and forth with a sponsor or the like. If he goes over a verbal line, he understands that maybe he will hear about it. “Marketers have to understand, when you deal with a fighter, it’s do or die.”

Bottom line: Hollywood understands the boxing as metaphor for life better than we in the sport sometimes do, and marketers do. I reiterate, the best traits of the admired pugilists are character traits and attributes that marketers should want their product or service or company to embody. There is a slightly heightened risk, maybe, in hooking on with a boxer, but nothing like the perceived level that hesitant brand managers believe.

Message: Hire boxers to push your stuff, because their toughness and passion and dedication aligns with your corporate or product identity.

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About Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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