Kash Ali facing David Price isn’t a fight we should care about, is it? We would tune in, hoping for some of that Pricey magic. Kill-or-be-killed as he swings wrecklessly like a vulnerable, heavyweight wrecking ball. But if we missed it whilst queueing for a drink or making the kids their dinner, we’d survive.
That bout, along with another on the Liverpool card, have surprisingly become the talking points ahead of a cracking weekend of domestic boxing. Not because of the spoils at stake or as a result of either man’s fearsome reputation – but following some explosive exchanges at the press conference during fight week. Clips of David Price dropping the c-bomb spread like wildfire as fans began to debate the outcome, scheduling their plans around the previously uninspiring heavyweight contest.
It’s often overlooked, the power of self-promotion. Whilst we may associate brash American stars like the unbeaten, Floyd Mayweather or heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder with the constant spewing of arrogance, it is also worth noting the impact it can have at the lower echelons of the sport. Kash Ali is now involved in a grudge match that has captured the attention of the British boxing public. David Price has become a temporary cult hero for his uncharacteristic outburst. That has all happened in about seventy-two hours. Boxing places promotional power in the hands of its participants, though for some reason, not many seem smart enough to use it.
That ‘other fight’ needs no introduction, as I’m sure Preston’s Scott Fitzgerald is doing cartwheels down the lobby of his hotel whilst ranting about it, as we speak. Yes, his manic state has been a little concerning with his beady eyes and sharp, erratic temper, but it’s that demeanour that has transformed a decent fight between two successful amateurs into one of the most talked about rivalries on these shores for the last five years.
Their use of social media, press conferences and interviews with various outlets has been astounding as they continue to garner column inches and wandering eyes from those dancing at the edge of Saturday’s card, who had previously held a small sense of intrigue. Prime example; I’m out tomorrow night at a function, but you can bet your last pound note that I’ll be locking myself in a cubicle to stream Anthony Fowler v Scott Fitzgerald – with the sound on. It may raise a few eyebrows when I return to my table, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take!
I’ll be as clear as I can here; It does not matter who wins or loses in either of these fights.
Both Kash Ali and Scott Fitzgerald have guaranteed themselves future paydays after forcing their way into the public eye, kidnapping the very relevance that’s seemingly eluded them thus far in their careers. They can both come again, selling tickets and stirring up interest because they understand the game. They’ll look back, win, lose or draw and realise that boxing doesn’t owe them anything. They have the chance to carve out opportunities and whether or not they deliver, the formula needn’t vary.
Too often we see polite fighters handling their own careers with kid gloves, tiptoeing around the names of their peers to curry favour with the general public. That’s the same general public who are paying to watch them punch people in the face, by the way. Boxers struggling to move forward have to understand how powerful a tool their own profile can be, promoting themselves through outlandish statements, varying online content or a mutually beneficial rivalry that fans can really get behind. Take Umar Sadiq, the Frank Warren-signed super-middleweight has such a dynamic presence, he has gained followers globally through the use of his vlog and modelling work. Think outside of the box(ing).
There is a reason Adrien Broner continues fighting top names, for top money. I’ll give you a clue; it’s not his dedication to the sport. Although he has assumed the role of pantomime villain in recent years, this is also a form of promotion. People will watch Broner lose. They’ll watch him complaining about racism or corruption amongst judges, share videos of his post-fight rants and further enhance his exposure. He’s laughing all the way to the strip club, time after time. Not everyone can wear a cape or save the day. As boxing’s cup spills over with respectful gentleman, there is plenty of space for those entrepreneurial heels.
It’s a career that is beset with obstacles and it is a constant struggle to rise above those that surround you. If there’s anything to be taken from this weekend’s card in Liverpool – which features a cracking European title fight, an excellently-matched Commonwealth title fight and a scrappy, enjoyable main event featuring a former world champion – it’s this; talent doesn’t always pay your bills.
Article by: Craig Scott
Follow Craig on Twitter at: @craigscott209