Week 76 (14 - 20 March 2015)
No sport does hype quite like boxing – and no fight in boxing's history has done hype in quite the same way that promoters are currently engaging in ahead of Manny Pacquiao's welterweight unification fight with Floyd Mayweather Jnr on 2 May in Las Vegas.
The bout, dubbed the "fight of the century", has all the trimmings that you would expect of a sport renowned for the pre-fight theatrics and the trash talk, as much as the action in the ring.
This week, with six weeks to go, the Pacquaio-Mayweather media circus went into overdrive with a multimedia multi-platform blitz.
On Pacquiao's side the boxing purists were kept happy with news that "Pacman" was looking "fresh" and "on fire" after his first sparring session, according to coach Freddie Roach.
Meanwhile, fans preferring verbal sparring were treated to some gems from Roach. On hearing of Mayweather's lavish eating habits – his personal chef is reported to earn $1,000 per plate that she cooks – he said: "I've read that she will be preparing meals high in protein which is perfect because Floyd is going to be eating a lot of 'Leather à la Manny' and it will be served piping hot. Thousand dollar meals, give me a break. Floyd is getting his just deserts on May 2."
The Mayweather camp has matched this courting of the media, and topped it. Earlier in the week a video emerged of Mayweather chopping wood as part of his so-called "caveman training" regime, whilst Vines of him sparring, skipping and working out in the gym litter his Twitter feed.
But these are just snapshots amongst many other promotional activities surrounding the fight including televised press conferences, celebrity third-party advocacy, and Justin Bieber.
Other sports could certainly learn from the techniques deployed in promoting this boxing bout, particularly as opposed parties criticise each other yet still pull together to promote the fight as a product. Of course, it's difficult to determine whether these techniques would work as well in sports which do not possess boxing's inclination for theatre.
But this should not detract from the fact that the Pacquiao-Mayweather media circus is still a devastating machine.
Most commentators agree that this fight should have happened in 2009 when both boxers were physically in better shape. Pacquiao is now 36 and Mayweather 38 – advanced ages for boxers revered for their movement around the ring. Yet in no way has this lessened the appetite, nor the commercial pull, of this fight.
Photo: Daily News