By Ryan Velez
Inside the ring and out, boxing is a game of strategy, and the Mayweather-McGregor fight was a financial masterstroke for both men. Together, they made a combined guarantee of $130 million, and are expected to go over $400 million with pay-per-view revenue. Black Enterprise writer Preston Charles recently compared the business side of the fight with business book The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Here are some of the lessons that come into play.
One lesson is courting attention at any cost. “Court controversy, even scandal. It is better to be attacked, even slandered, than ignored. All professions are ruled by this law, and all professionals must have a bit of the showman about them,” Greene writes. While 2017 has actually had plenty of skilled fighters taking risks, they aren’t getting nearly the amount of national attention that the Mayweather-McGregor fight. This is infuriating many boxing purists, but then again, none of the other fights have had a four city international press tour across three nations. We may see a resurgence in activity for other fights due to this success, something that would be interesting to see.
Another lesson is being able to re-create yourself. “Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than let others define it for you,” Greene explains. Mayweather has built his undefeated career on a defensive style that has been extremely effective, but has some people criticizing it as boring. Interestingly, this fight didn’t play out this way. Even before the fight, Mayweather told ESPN that this “can’t be a defensive fight,” with the reasoning that “I owe the public for the Pacquiao fight.” Having won by knockout despite only scoring 1 other one in his last 8 fights, it looks like he delivered in that regard. However, were his statements made as Mayweather the boxer, or Mayweather the promoter? Maybe both.
The final lesson we will discuss involves working on the hearts and minds of others. “Aim at the primary emotions—love, hate jealousy. Once you move their emotions you have reduced their control, making them more vulnerable to persuasion,” Greene writes. Indeed, it’s people who don’t ordinarily follow boxing that made this fight the success it was. Part of this was emotional appeal. McGregor brought in MMA fans who wanted recognition for their fighter and sport, and the “Money” Mayweather persona has many people tuning in for the chance to see him lose.