Eddie Gonzalez is back at Bad Left Hook today with his take on 50 Cent entering the boxing fold, and why you shouldn't just dismiss his chances at becoming a major force in the sport.
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A quick Google search will tell you that Bob Arum's net worth is $200 million. Oscar de la Hoya clocks in at $175 million. Curtis Jackson, the new CEO of TMT Promotions, comes in at a reported $100 million net worth. Suddenly, there is a promoter in boxing with the capital to go head to head with the major powers in the sport. For those who don't think that 50 Cent can be a serious player in the sport now, you are sadly mistaken.
The obvious ace up 50's sleeve is his friend and current P4P and earnings king Floyd Mayweather. Yes, if TMT does end up promoting the next Floyd Mayweather event, as 50 alluded to on Twitter yesterday in a spat with Oscar, it will bring the yearly payday that is a Mayweather fight, but more importantly it will also take a huge chunk of revenue out of the hands of one of TMT's chief competitors. But even then, a Mayweather date is exactly that, a once a year date that offers a major payday for TMT. In order to become a true force in the sport, they will need a sustained, productive schedule of fight cards and TV dates.
The greatest unknown in this is what happens with Leonard Ellerbe and Al Haymon, who has become the most powerful man in the sport. Steve Kim of Maxboxing noted on Twitter that this could be the beginning of a 50 Cent take over of the Floyd camp, and result in Ellerbe and Haymon being pushed out. That could be a big mistake, as Haymon has created a stable of fighters across various promoters and networks, and contracts run out, or in the case of Haymon associate and rumored TMT signee Yuriorkis Gamboa, can be bought out.
While Haymon's talent pool continues to grow, he strengthens his stranglehold on both of the major boxing networks. And he could bring a stable big enough, and talented enough, for TMT to sustain a quality product year round, and end up being the major player not named Mayweather that turns the big two promoters into a big three. All in all, Mayweather would TMT more than just a hobby for 50, but Haymon would legitimize it.
If 50 is in the boxing promoting business, and not just the Floyd Mayweather promoting business, his deep pockets will aid him, but so will something Richard Schaefer alluded to in response to the 50-Oscar Twitter exchange: "He brings a different audience, the hip-hop world." Schaefer is correct, 50 will turn eyes onto the sport that wouldn't normally show up to see boxing. This will be key for 50 as he looks to build TMT as something more than "the banner we hang above the ring when Floyd fights."
If you follow me on Twitter you know that I rap, and as a result follow plenty of rappers and know many in real life, as well as rap fans and people who fancy themselves as part of "hip hop culture." I can say from experience that the vast majority of them do not follow boxing. They do however follow boxers who carry themselves as part of hip hop culture, like Mayweather, Zab Judah, and a more recent addition to the team, Adrien Broner.
Whether it's Floyd making it rain, or Zab and his grill, or Broner rapping his own song during his ring walk with five different chains on, they appeal to this audience. This audience is key, as I believe it is a huge reason Floyd is so profitable, and as big an asset to Floyd as the Filipino community is to Manny Pacquiao (and I'd even argue more, as I am a living testament that "hip hop" spreads beyond more than one race or nationality). As a whole it is an untapped market, a market that is full of youth that are willing to spend money and has a proven track record of setting trends.
While 50 may be out of touch with the market musically (he hasn't made a solid project in quite some time, as he shows no growth musically and continues to make what amounts to dated music), he still has a certain amount of relevance in the culture that is matched by few. 50 is revered as a business man, and his dealings with Glacéau, and their $4 billion sale are the stuff of hip hop legend (50 made a reported $100 million after taxes on the Vitamin Water deal, and when it initially went down the figure was reported as high as $400 million).
If 50 does chose to promote boxing full time, he has a track record of being able to promote his products and make them successful. His debut album, Get Rich or Die Trying, sold 872,000 copies in its first week and to date is the fourth-highest selling rap album of all time. 50 parlayed that into a deal that gave him his own record label and helped every original artist on his label go platinum as well. Along with video games, sneakers, beverages and films he has proven that if he knows how to do anything it is sell products. The new eyes that 50 brings with him to boxing can only benefit the sport.
Either way, with Floyd a reported eight days away from his release from jail, it's almost a certainty that there will be some sort of announcement from he and TMT promotions following his release. All signs point to Curtis Jackson, the $100 million man being the newest promoter of the richest boxer in the sport.
It's only a matter of time before the elephant in the room rears its gigantic head: How do 50 and Bob Arum get along?