With the close of 2013 just around the corner the sport of boxing finishes off perhaps the best year it’s had since the late 90’s. Some experts say it’s been the best year of boxing in the last twenty five years. While there are many things to consider as to why boxing has once again made a surge into the American public, there is one social media tool that I believe has made a tremendous impact on the sport that will only help it continue to surge into the next couple years. Twitter.
The newest social media tool took over Facebook this year as the number two social media site used by teenagers in 2013. Instagram is number one. The fascination of Twitter mainly revolves around fans being able to follow their favorite celebrities, athletes, shows, websites, and much more. And for a sport that was considered dying for the past ten years, Twitter has helped boxing explode into the 2013 year.
With Twitter, fans now have the option to follow their favorite fighters. They get to see them interact with their fans, and see what they are doing in their everyday lives. Boxing has always been a tougher sport to connect too because it doesn’t represent any one city. All of the mainstream sports in the United States have teams named after their cities. It’s easy for fans, and even non-fans of a sport, to like a team just because they live in the city of the team. Boxing has never had that. Sure, you can like a fighter because he’s from your town. But very seldom do fighters get mainstream media attention like an NFL or NBA team. For years boxing fans have had to turn to privately run sites to get the scoop on their favorite fighters and what is going on in the boxing world. Websites like Boxingscene and Fightnews have taken over ESPN as the fans number one source of boxing news.
Twitter though, has given the fans another way to catch up on news and to see what’s going on in the boxing world. Floyd Mayweather himself doesn’t use social media websites or ESPN to announce his fights anymore. He uses Twitter. In 2013, Mayweather used Twitter to announce his fights with both Robert Guerrero and Saul Canelo Alvarez. The fans that follow him absolutely loved it. They embellish in the fact that they get to hear it right from him. Twitter allows the fans to talk to their favorite fighters directly as well. They can tell them who they should fight next, and ask them questions about other fighters. The ability to know what your favorite fighter is doing at all times, and to tell them who you want them to fight next, has given the fans a new way to directly interact with the sport of boxing.
One of the best parts about Twitter is the ability to interact with other fans as well. Over the years boxing has become a niched sport. Depending on where you live in the country it can be hard to find other boxing fans. Twitter has given the fans a way to connect with other fans all over the world. People can argue with each other about who’s going to win a fight, who should fight who, and who the next world champion is going to be. Also, if for some reason you can’t watch a fight, websites and writers will use Twitter to give their round by round analysis. Even if there’s a fight that’s on you are not interested in, you can see what is happening. And if that fight happens to be a Fight of the Year candidate you can simply turn on the television to see what the fuss is all about. By the end of the fight, you can have a new favorite fighter, just like that.
It’s not just the announcement of fights, the ability to get news first directly from the fighters, and the power to interact with other boxing fans that Twitter is good for. The social media site has also been used to make fights, and to hype them up. The boxers themselves often get into scraps with each other via Twitter. They call each other out, daring them to step into the squared circle. We saw that with Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout, Jermall Charlo and Gabriel Rosado, and Nonito Donaire and Guiellermo Rigondeaux. As the fighters argue with each other, the fans become more interested to see the fight. Word spreads fast, and fights can get marketed with Twitter beef. A good fight that comes to my mind that was helped by Twitter is Adrien Broner vs Paulie Malignaggi. It was a fight that got a mild reaction when it was announced. However when the bitter tweets began flying between the two, the fans took an immediate liking to the fight. By the time the fight came to pass, it had been one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year to day.
Now, just like anything in life, Twitter has its negatives too. These negatives mostly effect the promoters, and sometimes the fighters. Often, fights are leaked on Twitter before they are signed which can cause some serious headaches. Rumors spread quickly of a fight being a “done deal” even though they are not. When fighter’s sign contracts information sometimes leaks before an “official announcement” is made. For example, at one point Bob Arum hadn’t even known a fight had been signed with one of his fighters and already information at leaked that a fight was a done deal. The fight was indeed done, however Arum had no idea that both fighter’s had signed the contract and already the new had broken on Twitter. Another example would be that everyone knew Mayweather was fighting Guerrero way before the fight was actually “signed”. Fans on twitter had spread the word so much that Mayweather actually had to resort to a misleading tweet by saying Devon Alexander was the front-runner to face him just to cause some confusion with the fans. The other issue is that fans don't always have the most pleasant things to say to fighters on Twitter, especially if they don't like them. For a fighter to be on Twitter actively, he needs to learn how to mentally handle some of the abuse that fans dish out. It's not all praise and joy, especially after a devastating loss or controversial win.
All of these things that Twitter allows provide excitement, anticipation, and controversy. It has given the fans a tool to connect with a sport that many thought wouldn’t be around much longer. Guys like Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, Danny Garcia, Ruslan Provodikov, Adrien Broner, and many more have been on the good side of the Twitter revolution. These fighters have developed tons of fans, and haters, by the social media sight. When the fans are tweeting about how awesome a fighter is, more and more people tune in to see what the hype is about. And whether or not you learn to like a fighter, or dislike him, you know who he is. Twitter has also proved to be valuable for Promoters despite the headaches previously mentioned. They listen to what the fans have to say, and because of that, they know which fights the fans want to see. This year’s awesome match making can be credited with the help of Twitter. 2014 is just around the corner, Twitter is only getting bigger, and with its help, the sport of boxing can only get better as the years pass.