By Sergio L. Martinez
Since announcing his candidacy to become a boxing promoter, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has made a lot of waves for a guy whose biggest claim to boxing fame was that he was best buds with Floyd Mayweather Jr. The Money Team (TMT) was formed which promised to treat fighters well, pay fair market value and make big fights. We all know the soap opera that played out on websites and via Twitter which ultimately led to the disbandment of TMT.
Jackson, determined to soldier on, proceeded with his commitments to fighters and a motivation to save face by creating SMS Promotions. Searching for another partner, the wayward upstart met with Manny Pacquiao. Not that it was money he needed, as everyone knows that the rap mogul has plenty of greenbacks in his war chest. Nope, it was other people’s money and fame he sought to risk as any good businessman would. No deal was made with Pacquiao.
Coming into this Saturday’s pay-per-view fight between Pacquiao-Marquez, Jackson is working with Top Rank Supremo Bob Arum as SMS signee, Yuriorkis Gamboa, is part of the televised portion of the undercard.
In recent memory, Top Rank has been at the forefront of providing viewers with a great main event fight supported by nothing. Sure, they have been lucky on a few occasions where the fights end up as action-packed affairs but for the most part, the undercards are under par from the get-go.
In the case of Pacquiao-Marquez IV, the televised portion of the undercard reads more like an ESPN/Telefutura-esque fight card and not a support system to the alleged final chapter of an epic rivalry. This is in no way meant to offend or suggest that the fighters participating on this card are not quality. The fact is that these pairings should grace a Friday night televised fight card, but really do not belong on a major pay-per-view event of this magnitude.
Arum has been quoted as saying that he feels Jackson’s involvement in boxing will be positive due to the prospect that he may able to energize the “urban market.” This demographic, in Arum’s opinion, is severely underrepresented and holds the key to future success. Even more important to the future of boxing: If you’re going to charge to entertain people that the least you can do is entertain people.
With Jackson being a newbie, first impressions are lasting ones and one can only hope that 50 Cent realizes that in order to sustain the “urban market” he is supposed to draw, his future undercards must match the quality of the main event. Jackson has referred to Top Rank as an “800 pound gorilla.” This is a solid assessment as Top Rank is a true promotional giant. The problem is that 800 pounds of anything can also be a negative as it will suffocate the life out of any being or entity it decides to sit on.
Jackson has a fighter’s mentality; an approach to life well-documented in his autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin’. The hope is that he will undertake boxing promotion with the same zeal and adopt a Get Richer While Making Sure Fans Get Rich Cards or Die Tryin’ mentality.
Now that is a real-life drama I would love to see unfold before my eyes.