By nature, boxing riches are fueled by polarization. When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object it is called the irresistible force paradox. And pugilist’s who understand how that can relate to their business usually profit the most.
Enter Badou Jack, Mayweather Promotions fighter and current WBA light heavyweight champion. While on tour in the Middle East, Jack told Sport 360 about his list of potential opponents, and what he said showed that he might take a page out of his boss’ playbook.
“Adonis (Stevenson) obviously,” said Jack. “Maybe someone we don’t like. A racist fighter? A scumbag, Kovalev has made some racist comments, so maybe him.”
Referring to Kovalev’s penchant to utilize racial stereotypes towards his opponents and those he wants to bait, which he believes is “humor”, Jack is letting off the first shot towards a potential face-off. Kovalev notoriously labeled WBC champion Adonis Stevenson a gorilla and more recently, tweeted videos that used racial epithets towards Andre Ward.
Kovalev, sans a title currently since Ward demolished him and retained his belts before retiring, is definitely a bigger name than Badou Jack and the matchup is intriguing.
However, like Floyd Mayweather who capitalized on the racially polarizing fight with Conor McGregor to make another couple hundred million, Jack is realizing that he has to jump into the mix and force the fans to choose a side.
Highlights of the current WBC Super-Middleweight champion. Badou Jack – Is a Swedish Professional boxer. Born to a Gambian father and a Swedish mother, he has represented both nations in the Olympics. He currently holds the WBC Super Middleweight world title.
One can look as far back as Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries all the way up to Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney to understand how racial politics contributed to box office bonanzas. Mayweather was the first fighter-promoter to bill himself proudly as the cocky black guy that would take on any comers of other races, specifically to bait the racial animus of the general population.
Before Mayweather fought Andre Berto to an unceremonious win, he hadn’t fought an African-American fighter since “Sugar” Shane Mosely in 2010. Before that, Zab Judah in 2006. The fight that launched the “Money” Mayweather brand was against Oscar de la Hoya, where he went on full display baiting Mexican fans to net him his biggest PPV showing at the time, 2.7 million viewers.
That sounds infinitesimal now since Mayweather perfected the art of racial polarization, making Mayweather Promotions arguably the best promotion company in history if pay-per-view settles the score.
Kovalev is currently slated to fight Ukranian fighter Vyacheslav Shabranskyy on November 25th to begin his trek back to title contention. With Jack making it easy for him to jump back in the title mix if Kovalev does what he knows best, be a racially insensitive emotional opponent, then boxing’s coffers will be full again. But now instead of Mayweather headlining, it will be his protege extending the marketing strategy legacy.