A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
50 Cents Hits Boxing World!
Hip Hop Artist 50 cents “alias Curtis Jackson” is not just an artist but he is now a boxing promoter. For 50 cents, his goal is to make boxing more appealing to a younger audience as the Hip hop artist believes he’s the right person to help the sport grow again among younger people. Among the fighters he manages includes Yuriokis Gamboa and Billy Dib and while he is moving into the boxing arena; he is still pursuing his musical career.
“I’m passionate about boxing, I want to make exciting fights. I want to be part of the history of boxing, not just play around a little bit, and then jump out,” 50 cents stated in a recent interview with USA Today. Many felt that he would bail after his falling out with longtime friend Floyd Mayweather but he continued to stay in the business including signing Gamboa, Dib, and Andre Dirrell and he is still looking for more boxers to work with.
50 cents noted, “They respect Floyd as an actual fighter and where he’s at in his career, but they’re excited about my knowledge and brand extension opportunities, because they’re aware that (former heavyweight champion) George Foreman made more money selling a grill than boxing.” The rapper is not just a singer or promoter but he is accomplished businessman and like Jay-Z, who is involved with the Brooklyn Nets; 50 cents has brought his business acumen to the sports world.
As for being a rapper, 50 Cents noted, “They understand how it can bring new life into the sport,” he says. “But some were intimidated by it. I had people immediately make me their enemy.” He established a relations with Bob Arum of Top rank and added, “Particularly (Top Rank chairman) Bob Arum. He’s the 800-pound gorilla. He’s one of the guys . . . that’s why he’s so successful. Top Rank has been one of the companies that’s willing to support fighters and actually invest in them. That’s why your top fighters today have Top Rank in common, whether it’s Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, (Miguel) Cotto, (Timothy) Bradley, they all went through Top Rank.”
50 Cents has taken to heart the lesson he learned working with Top Rank as he did helping promote Gamboa in an undercard fight under the Pacquiao-Marquez card. 50 Cents acknowledged ups and downs since his arrival in the boxing business. Of Top Rank, he observed, “These guys pay really close attention to what’s going on, and I just like to see what their thoughts are moving forward.”
The music mogul presently operates out of New York but he is considering a move to Vegas. For 50 Cents, he notice that in the music industry and boxing, there are young talents waiting to be discovered and developed and he is hoping to be part of those promoters who can’t just find the next big act in the music business but the next set of boxing champions. He wants to bridge the gap of hip hop culture and boxing, bringing in a whole new audience.
The challenge for 50 Cents is to bring new fans since much of the boxing demographics is 30 and older while MMA audience is 15 to 34. 50 Cents dreamed of a being a boxer, but now he dreams of promoting championship fight and joining Bob Arum and others as forces that rebuild the Sport of boxing.50 Cents does think outside the box as he stated, “We should do away with main event fights whole card should be a main event. And only make cards that are exciting enough for us to watch the whole show. You look at arenas, you sit down and you feel like the arena probably didn’t sell out until 36 minutes before it’s over. The main event starts, and the place is full. Even if it means moving some of the theatrics that you see in WWE into a sport that doesn’t have a question mark. See, we know boxing is real. But if you add those different elements to it, I think you’ll have something where people are entertained enough for the entire show.” And in the recent Dib-Gradovich fight, he was as much part of the promotion as the fighters as he led Dis into the ring. His fighter lost but 50 Cents is still in the boxing game for the long haul and he may be part of a new generation of promoters who brings boxing back into the mainstream of the sport world.