First things first, let’s identify a few important types of people: Entrepreneurs, DIY/Unsigned Musicians, and Small Business Owners and Managers.
If you fall into any of those categories, this blog article is for you. If you saw the name Mayweather and the word Boxing and were interested, this will be worth your while as well. If you want to carve an Uncommon Path, Mayweather is a great person to model after because he is Uncommon in many ways.
Any of the people mentioned above (or some combination of any of them) need to pay attention to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. It doesn’t matter if you like boxing or not. It doesn’t matter what you think of him outside of the ring (some of his luxurious lifestyle and all of the convictions of assault are not to be proud of) or inside of it. It doesn’t matter if you think he is a cowardly boxer who runs from his opponents (which many of his detractors do) or if you think he is a boxing genius and defensive master (which many of his supporters do).
Remember in 2008 when the housing bubble burst, sending the economy into a downward spiral and fall from a large height? Millions of people lost there jobs, their retirements, and a lot of money went down a black hole. The stock market plummeted. Whole industries took a huge nose dive. Other than politicians, who still made (loads of) money in 2008? Mayweather did.
If you think Mayweather was still able to capitalize his earnings on the fact that he’s a professional boxer, you need to look closer at the details. Not all professional athletes make money, or in this case tens of millions of dollars per year, especially in a downward economy. Boxing as a professional sport is nowhere near as popular in America as football, baseball, basketball or golf. We can chalk Nascar up there too. Where there is popularity there are masses of people who spend massive amounts of money to support athletes and organizations. With the masses come sponsors and advertising, which fuels the whole enterprise.
Boxing has a few big sponsors, but they don’t have the masses or audience. The days when a heavyweight boxer could captivate the nation were the days of Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Tyson, and Hollyfield. Though the legendary Bernard Hopkins (the oldest boxer to be champion) is still in the game,the lack of interest in the sports world for boxing has affected the greatest names’ paydays.
Except for one person: Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
But you shouldn’t pay attention to Mayweather because he’s one of the richest athletes in the world, or for being the #1 pay-per-view moneymaker in history. That’s not why you should care. The money (no pun intended) only proves the point that he has been able to do something magnificent in a time when everyone else in business and entertainment has made excuses for not living up to their ambitions or abilities.
For Floyd Mayweather, Jr, success isn’t a matter of whether or not the economy is doing well, or even if the market for sports is stable or not. It has nothing to do with the popularity of a sport that continues to decline in viewership. How many business owners or entrepreneurs do you know who will justify the poor standing or quarterly results for their business with excuses on how poorly the market is doing?
Here are 3 Takeaways you can get from Floyd Mayweather’s success and how you can apply it to what you do:
1. Use any attention given to you to draw people into what you do and then you set the pace.
Mayweather is great at being a heel, to the point where he uses the public’s dislike for him to gain more of what he wants (in this case money). He’s a master at making bad press or negative reviews work to his favor. Are there haters in your world? Floyd uses the sentiments made against him to draw his detractors in and make them interested in what’s going on. He makes haters buy in to his events in the hopes that their desire for his defeat will be won. His undefeated record reveals how well he’s executed his plan, and how people continue to buy expensive pay-per-views for the same reason. He sells the conflict, instead of selling one side of it or the other.
2. Mayweather is a consummate student of the game of winning
Nonboxing fans think that a boxing match (especially one that costs $60-$100 to see on TV) should play out like a Rocky movie, with two fighters in the middle of the ring duking it out. Sorry folks, that’s not good (or real) boxing. Without getting into how the sport actually works, defense and technique have more to do with solid boxing than raw power alone. If you want KOs, watch UFC. Rhonda Rousey is really good at that (speaking of carving an uncommon path, a woman who dominates a male-heavy sport is certainly doing an uncommon thing).
The science and art of boxing is different, it’s to hit and not get hit. KOs and knockdowns are an exciting part of boxing, but they’re not the whole thing. Most fights are won by decision, by determining which fighter on a round-by-round basis did the most to score points by landing punches, avoiding being punched, ring generalship, and being aggressive.
Floyd is a true defensive genius in the ring, making opponents (many considered to be more powerful punchers than him) look silly trying to hit him. If he struggles in a round and takes too many shots (as he did in only a few rounds against legends like Cotto, Mosley, or Pacquaio), he rebounds in the next round and changes his strategy.
Mayweather is two important things here: Fluid/Adaptable and Experienced/Studied. For you as a musician or entrepreneur, knowing the ins and outs of the science of your craft makes you an excellent and skilled individual in your ring (market). Being adaptable and fluid (adjust to changes as they come) and not allow an occasional blow to throw off your game will make you a champion.
3. Sell the potential for happiness and satisfaction
One caveat here, you should be selling actual happiness and satisfaction with your offering. For Mayweather, since he knows that many people buy his fights in the hopes of him losing, he sells the hype of that coming to pass and plays on it. In the end, he’s still selling the potential for his haters to be satisfied. For his fans, he’s also selling the potential that their happiness will continue, because he consistently trains harder than anyone while also claiming to be the greatest of all time. Both sides win, at least until fight time.
Most of the people who bought Pacquiao vs Mayweather in April 2015 weren’t buying a boxing match. They paid $100 to see Pacquiao, one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport and former undisputed pound-for-pound champion, put Floyd “Money” Mayweather on the mat. It was some of the same fan-fare that led people to watch the first Frazier-Ali fight, and subsequent rematches. It was classic good guy vs bad guy in the billing. Floyd knew that it would bring in non-boxing fans who just don’t like him, and he cashed in on that. Most viewers bought this fight to see Manny beat the hell out of Floyd. That’s why I watched the fight, being a big Pacquiao fan who never had much appreciation for Mayweather.
Until I watched the two greats fight each other.
The fight spoiled a lot of hope for a lot of people. Mayweather brought his A-game technique and defense, as well as some amazing counter-punching and precision power-shots. Regardless of whether or not Pacquiao was 100% the night of the fight (post-fight his trainer Freddy Roach claimed they knew he had a torn rotator cuff prior to the fight but chose to fight anyways), Floyd avoided getting hit and returned/countered more punches with authority and accuracy.
As far as boxing goes, I became a Mayweather convert after watching this fight. Non-boxing fans hated it, but they bought the potential for satisfaction, aka hype, and not real boxing. Boxing fans got to see one of the best fights in the history of the sport. And at the end of the day, Mayweather walked away with much more than another victory and justification for his claim of being the greatest.
Hype is not something many people want to admit to buying into, and usually not something anyone brags about being said about them. Look at the last 20 years of NFL draft picks in the first round, particularly quarterbacks. But in this case, hype selling was hugely profitable for a sport who has seen better days.
Mayweather “officially” ended his career with a scientific beatdown of Andre Berto. Berto was a long shot on the ticket, a heavy underdog, who never gained any traction during the entire fight. Mayweather, though not known for power shots had a counter and tactic to best every one of Berto’s strengths, rendering them useless. The victory put his professional record at 49-0, tying Rocky Marciano as the all-time best record in boxing.
This tie leads most serious boxing fans (myself included) to believe that Mayweather will return to achieve the yet unattainable 50. Will that match be against Khan, as many boxing fans have wished for years, or a rematch against Pacquaio. We’ll just have to find out.
The big takeaway for you is this. Regardless of the economy or the popularity of your market. Regardless of whether your fan base boasts about you or you have a ton of haters seemingly out to destroy your name at every turn. Regardless of whether your product offering or place in the market is over-crowded to the point of mass congestion, you can still win and win big when you carve an uncommon path. Choose to look at your situation a little differently. How can you out-strategize your competition, lure new people into what you’re doing using uncommon methods, and take negative reviews about your work and turn it into a positive?
Be like Mayweather, and you won’t be able to do anything else but win. But it takes a strong commitment to being focused, dedicated, educated, and uncommon. Do you have what it takes?
I am a fan of what Mayweather does inside the ring from a boxing standpoint. In no way do I support or condone his behavior outside the ring, including multiple convictions of assault against women, and the myriad of other indulgences his vast wealth affords him. The purpose of this blog article is to show how he’s done some amazing things in an unpopular sport, not to say that the dark sides of his lifestyle and behavior should be ignored in favor of his winning streak.