Open Thread, “Fantasy Promoter For Sergio Martinez, Et Al” Edition

More so on Twitter than amongst boxing writers writing actual stories this week about Sergio Martinez vs. Darren Barker, there’s a big obsession with the lack of ticket sales for that show and how it’s been promoted.

I care about the business side of boxing, too, just like I care about the actual fights and how boxing is being perceived in pop culture and the history of it and all the other things we write about here. I even discussed the business of Martinez-Barker some in yesterday’s preview. But people are downright OBSESSED, I tell you.

So let’s get it out of our system. Let’s play “fantasy promoter.” I don’t mean that dismissively. I want you to try on your promoter hat and think about how you would do it better. I’ll get you started with some suggestions that have floated around out there from writers and rival promoters and rival fighters and so forth.

Is there someone other than Barker who could have and should have been selected as a Martinez opponent who would have driven ticket sales more? Should the show have been placed elsewhere, like Martinez’ native Argentina or Barker’s native England, and what if that had meant HBO might be less interested in the fight — or is there a place in the United States other than Atlantic City where it would have made more sense? How much of a difference would it make if it had happened at a time of the year when baseball playoffs weren’t going on, or would it always be competing with other sporting events no matter what? If DiBella had spent $75,000 on an ad in The New York Times hyping Martinez, how much of a difference would that have made? Should DiBella have brought in porn star Lisa Ann at a public appearance by Martinez to help create buzz for the fight, or did the buzz do more harm than good? Is there anything DiBella could be doing with Martinez between HBO fights that he’s not, like keeping him busy in his home country with smaller fights, or at age 36 is that not feasible? Is there a modeling side career for Martinez that could somehow boost his name? Has too much been made of the discounted tickets, since many shows offer thousands of giveaways anyway, or is there something specifically wrong with how these tickets are being discounted? What about Martinez learning English and doing more interviews and talking more about who’s avoiding him? Could Martinez-Barker be paired with a different undercard that would have moved more ticket sales? Or is all of this hopeless because it takes more years to turn someone into a superstar than remain in Martinez’ career, and his high television ratings for recent fights are as good as it’ll get for him?

I’m not trying to set those questions up as traps. I’m just trying to get people to think about specifics, and the upside and downside of each specific. Please do offer your own suggestions, separate from these, if you have them — just try to think of whether they’re viable and whether they’re worth whatever downside each presents.

More broadly, feel free to use this as a forum to discuss things that all promoters aren’t doing enough of, not just DiBella.

And broadlier still, feel free to use this as a forum to discuss any old thing you want.

Now, your music selection for the month.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.