by Charles Jay
50 Cent has been highly visible as part of the Floyd Mayweather “entourage,” if you will. He’ll be leading the undefeated fighter into the ring on Saturday night when he fights Miguel Cotto live on pay-per-view at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Photo: Jeff Fusco – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
But perhaps some plans are being laid out for Mayweather to lead HIM into the ring.
Mayweather has described the rapper as a “business partner” who will be involved with boxing in the future, and then leaked the possibility of a spot on one of his undercards where his friend can actually lace up the gloves.
Yes, you may feel somewhat “old school” about it and regard the very idea of rapper 50 Cent entering a boxing ring as nothing more than ridiculous.
It’s not unprecedented that a celebrity would want to exploit that notoriety to some degree by fighting professionally. A couple of examples that come to mind immediately are actors Mickey Rourke and John Diehl (a former star of NBC’s “Miami Vice” who had his fight while the show was airing). Others have talked about it; some more seriously than others. The late Chris Penn (brother of Sean) was semi-serious about giving it a whirl, for instance.
So there is nothing altogether shocking about it.
Boxing is show business just like anything else. There is real money involved, and if you have a name that is marketable enough, there’s a lot of potential money on the table.
Why do you think guys have fights with each other at press conferences? At weigh-ins? Why do you think there is so much trash talk leading up to a fight, which pleases the promoters? Because in most cases, they’re “selling.”
Yes, it’s show biz, and people who are being asked to watch can take it about as seriously as they want to.
50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, has been seen frequently as part of the “Mayweather-Ortiz 24/7” reality show on HBO, and is know to be very interested in boxing.
Reportedly he was part of a group that included Jay-Z, which had originally agreed to put up $42 million to finance the fight between Mayweather and Victor Ortiz last September. The plan was for them to recoup their money from the first $47 million available in revenues, after the Mayweather guarantee. However, problems developed when it was discovered that contrary to that which had been represented to them, the international revenue that could be realized from the fight was not all that plentiful.
No matter; 50 Cent still wants to be part of the action, and now wants to take it to another level.
Would HBO PPV, if that was the outfit that was to carry whatever future Mayweather fight 50 Cent would be a part of, go for it? That’s hard to say. Prior to the Ortiz fight, and while the original investment plan was in place, it had been proposed that some of the rap stars who were part of the group, including 50 Cent, might perform a concert in association with the fight that would be part of the pay-per-view telecast. But HBO balked, not necessarily because they didn’t like the idea aesthetically, but because there was going to be too much conflict in terms of intellectual property rights; i.e., the artists were not all signed with labels that were part of the Time-Warner empire.
Those same dynamics wouldn’t be in place if 50 Cent actually climbed into the ring as an active fighter. In fact, one can imagine a very sizable pay-per-view “bump” with his presence on a card. As many people know, hip hop artists who have also ventured into the business side of things (and there are many of them) have been able to do an excellent job in terms of cultivating an audience, and they have very strong brand loyalty associated with them. Much of the time, this has been done starting with a grass roots approach. To see some of the brand extension many rappers have executed is impressive, to say the least. In fact, there is much that boxing promoters could learn from them. There have been several rappers who have been involved with fighters or promoters, and it’s actually been a little surprising, in fact, that the promoters haven’t done a better job taking advantage of their marketing expertise and incorporating that into some of what they do. There are resources to tap there.
Well, if other promoters aren’t going to do it, then “Mayweather Promotions” might as well do it, right? One wouldn’t necessarily believe that anyone had to talk 50 Cent into this kind of thing. So is this a “carrot” that Mayweather is holding out there, to solicit some fund-raising from him and his pals? Maybe it is. That way, at least 50 Cent is rolling the dice, in part, on himself as a brand-new pay-per-view attraction.
You can be sure that the opponent would be “right”; in other words, it certainly won’t be a case of “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” but more like “The Massacre.”
Live on pay-per-view.
And they probably wouldn’t do half-bad with it either.