By Charles Jay
Today’s message for all of the online boxing experts, fighters and “super-fans” out there:
Please get off Jake Paul‘s back. In fact, thank him for the favor he’s in the process of doing for you.
One of the nice things about being on a platform like Facebook, and having a lot of boxing “friends” there, is that it gives you a pretty good idea of what people in the business – and on the outskirts of the business – are thinking.
And a lot of these diehards are showing some “hate” for the Jake Paul money machine.
But you know, in doing so, they’re showing a fundamental misinterpretation about the way this industry really works; in fact, a misunderstanding of the way it has ALWAYS worked.
For example, you will read about how there are guys who have devoted themselves to the sport and trained for years, maybe even fighting some “real” opponents. That makes them the real fighters. And because of that, those guys “deserve” to be making the money and not Jake Paul.
Well, not to be insensitive about it, but who cares?
No one. No one cares how many hours someone has invested at the gym. No one cares how dedicated anyone is. They really don’t.
What matters is – and I guess I’m speaking to the fighters from this point – do you put asses in seats? Who wants to see you? Anybody?
You see, this is professional boxing. Once you decided you wanted to take money from what you do, it became much less a sport and much more a business. And you have to think a little but more like a businessman.
If your attitude is that you do the fighting and the promoter does the promoting, and that’s all there is to it (e.g., “It’s not my job, man”), then you are conceding that someone else is going to be in control of your career. And that will, in turn, put you at the mercy of other people.
Ultimately, fighters are independent contractors. They are marketable commodities, as impersonal as that may sound. They are, when it really comes down to it, in business for themselves. Therefore, self-promotion is highly RECOMMENDED. Often, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.
Generally, the more people know about you, the more people are going to care about you. And the more they care about you, the more they are going to want to see you.
That’s pretty simple logic, isn’t it?
And I don’t have to tell you that there are more outlets to connect directly with the public than ever before.
When you’ve got enough people who know about you and have an interest in your career, you start to build leverage. And that gets us back around to Jake Paul.
With 20.5 million subscribers alone on YouTube, Jake Paul has leverage.
In other words, he’s got exactly what you’d like to have, and what you can really capitalize from. So what’s the problem?
And you notice what he’s doing with all that leverage, don’t you? If you really stop and think about it, he is doing all fighters and many promoters (generally of the “mid-level” variety) a potentially tremendous service.
Networks, not so much.
But that’s okay, because he is demonstrating that it’s possible, if one sees fit, to bypass the customary “gatekeepers” of boxing as it is presented in a pay-per-view format (or even otherwise) and proceed directly to the public, if you bring enough – and here is the word again, leverage – to the table.
In his particular case, he began his trek through an association with the social media site Triller. As time progresses, undoubtedly other platforms, using performers or promoters who can bring their following with them, will get into the act. Some already have, to a certain degree.
Now Jake has parlayed the Triller experience into a deal with Showtime, which will presumably take things to another level. It is a virtual guarantee that his arrangement with them is very favorable.
Why? Because he’s got leverage.
Oh, and because of his social media presence, his coverage in the mainstream press also increases – GREATLY. It’s like a snowball gathering strength downhill.
Whether it was intentional or not, Jake Paul is contributing to something that has the potential to change the game in boxing.
If you’re a fighter, look upon his success as a model; a blueprint, if you will. That doesn’t mean you should feel like you’re failing if you don’t get 10 or 20 million followers on social media. You don’t have to operate on the same scale; this is YOUR following you’ll be developing. make it fit your own situation. The fundamentals are essentially the same.
And remember that anything you can do to give yourself more bargaining power is a step forward.
Jake Paul is slated for another fight – this one on Showtime – against Tyron Woodley for August 29. And so it is about that time that we will hear the boo birds come out again in criticism of the caliber of his opponents.
That is a subject we’re going to explore soon enough.
This kid is worth more than one story.
Whether you guys like it or not.
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