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Boxing, The Red-Light District Of Sports/Boxer-Rapper Beefs And Such Make Fight Week Spicy

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Boxing, The Red-Light District Of Sports/Boxer-Rapper Beefs And Such Make Fight Week Spicy

Ah, boxing, the red light district of sports.

That label popped up in my mind this week, this fight week, as I pondered that Adrien Broner vs Rapper Dude beef, and the shifting of venues for the press conference, and the outright cancellation of the media workout which was supposed to run at the famed and fabled Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn Wednesday.

Other sports don’t as often traffic in these sorts of…hurdles, shall we say, but our sport is different in so many ways, isn’t it?

Here’s one example: Broner and Takeshi the rapper went back on forth on social, threats were made, and the suggestion that maybe someone might look to escalate the beef arose. Bad news bears…or not. Suddenly the buzz factor for the Saturday card at Barclays Center, portions of which will run on Showtime, including the Broner v Jessie Vargas main event, upticked.

TMZ took notice of the Broner back and forth with the rapper and voila, an ad for the scraps ran on that site. So, rather than casting a black cloud aura of danger over the fight card, we instead got a buzz elevation.

Now, in the red light district, the hijinks can be titillating and spicy…but sometimes, spicy tips into sordid.

God forbid, someone gets silly, in the Broner or Takeshi camp, and looks to escalate things, and real violence occurs. No one wants that…And so, was anyone surprised when the media workout got scrapped? Nah. Not to mention two plus weeks ago, we all worried that this card would have an angry edge to it, with the prospect for ugliness between the Gervonta Davis and Charlo Brothers’ crews, after Davis and the Charlos rumbled on social. Wait, you forgot? I know, seems like a hundred news cycles ago…

And don’t think that antennae isn’t erect on power brokers and suits regarding that Floyd Mayweather situation in Atlanta last week. The Mayweather crew was out and about and a shooter in a car fired at a Mayweather vehicle, not one the boxer was in, and a bullet hit a Mayweather bodyguard.

So, rather than tempt fate…rather than throwing potentially combustible parties into a mix together, in a free form unstructured set up that could encourage animosity, like a media workout, discretion was chosen. Smarter to divide, and conquer in a different way. Send the talent to do radio hits, on high profile shows, and keep potential rivals apart till they NEED to be in proximity. And why not let that rapper beef de-escalate, as it seems to have done, and then have the press conference at a venue where there are metal detectors set up, and security personnel on contract, are on hand? It’s smarter, it’s safer, it’s a no brainer.

And all this drama aint bad for business. One in the know type said that sales are trending nicely—“and was already going in that direction before the drama”—that they might have to open up a higher tier, if indeed that lower bowl setup is sold out come Saturday. That configuration would be for a shade under 10,000 seats and a back of envelope computation tells me the gate is at around $1,000,000 now. That’s real money, even to guys who buy jewelry like Broner does. And, if we get some heated jawing from Team Davis and Team Charlo at the presser, and that Broner-Takeshi squabble stays contained, and we get some good fracases in the ring Saturday, then it’s all good.

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Editor/publisher Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the thought to be impregnable 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 for Facebook Fightnight Live since 2017. He now does work for PROBOX TV, the first truly global boxing network.