Looking back in boxing history, there’s been some significant links to the music industry. From Don King parlaying his concert promoting to the fight game to Al Haymon utilizing his music managerial experience with big stars, music and boxing have been intertwined throughout the years.
Diggin deep into both worlds, they share some obvious similarities. Record labels are parallel to boxing promotional entities. Sony/BMG is Top Rank. Universal is Golden Boy. EMI and Warner coincide with Gary Shaw and Goosen-Tutor. Rounding out the rest of the industry are the other smaller promoters like Dibella, K2 and others which equate to Independent labels in music. Record labels control their artists in the same manner boxing promoters control their fighters.
The inclusion of Roc Nation Sports in the fight game could be the foreshadowing of a monumental moment in boxing history. Their bidding victory of the upcoming WBO Middleweight Championship featuring Champion Peter “Chocolate” Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs) vs. Matt Korobov (24-0, 14 KOs) shocked the boxing world. While Roc Nation has quickly made its presence felt in other sports by signing the likes of NBA superstar Kevin Durant, NFL’s Geno Smith and MLB’s CC Sabathia, no one truly foresaw them engaging in a bidding war against promotional powerhouses Top Rank and Golden Boy. It was a simple gesture with a defining message; Roc Nation means business.
While boxing continues to regenerate fighters with superstar potential, the business side of the fight game continues to be its detriment. Ideas have been archaic and the industry could definitely use an infusion of originality. Rap mogul and Roc Nation founder Jay-Z’s love for boxing will be a blessing for the sport.
Can Roc Nation Sports change boxing as we know it? Possibly.
Roc Nation Sports didn’t bid nearly 2 million dollars to simply participate in the fight game. They want to solidify themselves as a major player in boxing.
"There's no question the sport of boxing needs a new player, someone who can do something different," Michael Yormark, the president and chief of branding and strategy for parent company Roc Nation, told ESPN.com on Sunday night. "We're energized, and we're going to make a difference. This is a huge priority to us. This is a highly serious business to us." – from an article written by Dan Rafael of ESPN.COM
The hiring of David Itskowitch most recently known for his stint with Golden Boy Promotions proves that Roc Nation Sports wants to be more than an “Independent Label”.
"We're looking to make an immediate and dramatic impact on the sport. We feel we can do that, and we plan to build Roc Nation Sports into a boxing brand by leveraging Roc Nation's current marketing, public relations and branding infrastructure. We're going to brand Roc Nation Sports fighters, and we're confident that branding will lead to financial opportunities both in and out of the ring that will be available nowhere else." - from an article written by Dan Rafael of ESPN.COM
Anticipation breeds energy… energy fuels thought… and thoughts manufacture something the fight game is severely missing… creativity.
It’s going to take some time, but I truly believe the Roc Nation Sports will help innovate the sport of boxing. They have the background people in place. Now it’s time to get the fighters. What may not seem like a huge story at the moment, will be looked at as a major event in the history of the sport.
The Roc Nation sports division aspires to be a boxing powerhouse, just six years after it embarked on the music scene. Ironically, they’re owned by Sony Music Entertainment. They’re coming in with confidence and a winning attitude that shows they cannot be overlooked. Jay-Z said it best… “I Will Not…Lose.”
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