A boxer and manager have a symbiotic relationship. A manager works hand-in-hand with a boxer to establish their career. Meanwhile, a boxer trains, fights, and pays their manager to represent them. A young boxer needs a manager to help them craft their career and hone skills. Managers are also needed to handle other aspects of a boxer’s life outside of the ring.
You may be at a point in your young boxing career in which you are contemplating signing with a manager. There are plenty of aspects to consider prior to joining forces with a boxing manager. But if you are still wondering whether to hire a manager or to continue on without one, here are some reasons to consider hiring a boxing manager to guide your career.
Building a Team
A boxing manager builds a team of experienced individuals that help a fighter be the best they can be. One part of the team a manager is in charge of hiring is an experienced boxing trainer. This is perhaps the most important thing a boxing manager can do for their protege. Many of the top boxing managers are former boxers themselves. They can share their knowledge and have connections with experienced trainers.
Experienced trainers teach boxers technique and help build on strengths while eliminating weaknesses. Mike Tyson was one of the greatest boxers of all-time and learned his lightning-fast punching attack from famed trainer Cus D’Amato. When the two began working together, Tyson was a 13-year-old chubby youngster. However, D’Amato turned him into a destroyer in the ring. D’Amato was able to alter Tyson’s career in a positive way. A manager can add the right trainer to a boxer’s team to analyze opponents and produce a strategy that guarantees success.
An experienced trainer isn’t the only person that a manager hires. A manager will be in charge of finding and hiring the right sparring partners for a fighter to hone their skills. Sparring partners enable a boxer to prepare for an upcoming fight. In addition, a sparring partner should have a particular fighting style that emulates a boxer’s upcoming opponent. Managers need to be on the lookout for quality sparring opponents. In addition, they need to communicate with trainers to create a training plan for their fighter.
Boxers come from all walks of life. Some fighters have individuals surrounding them that are not the best influences. A manager can keep boxers from associating with individuals that have a negative impact on them.
A manager can also be a positive influence on a fighter’s training regime. They can improve a boxer’s performance by overseeing diet, nightlife, and other aspects of a fighter’s life that can harmfully affect their career. If you need someone that can guide you and be a confidant to speak to, then a manager will be there. A good manager will do everything within their power to help their boxer.
Guidance can come in a variety of forms for a boxer. One way in which a manager can guide you is helping you mentally and physically come back from each win or loss. British boxer Kristian Laight is a great example of a fighter that continued to be rebuilt by his manager after losing bouts. Laight fought in 300 career professional fights from 2003 to 2018. He was a journeymen fighter who spent his career traveling around the United Kingdom fighting in nightclubs, town halls, and small sports arenas against up and coming boxers. Laight won just 12 of his 300 career bouts, lost 279, and drew nine times.
Laight’s manager not only had to keep getting the fighter booked on bouts, but keep him continuing on despite each loss. Laight is not the only boxer to make a career of losing. Fellow British boxer Peter Buckley retired in 2008 after losing 256 of 300 matches. These fighters are very much needed in the boxing world and a good manager can keep them working. They can also keep their fighter’s confidence up when it is at an all-time low.
In-ring competition isn’t the only thing that a boxing manager is in charge of. Managers need to work with boxers outside the ring on their finances as they act as financial representatives to their fighter. They communicate with promoters, set up fights, and negotiate the payoffs. A manager needs to ensure their boxer is well-compensated for each bout. Boxing careers can be short, so getting the most money possible can ensure as comfortable a retirement as possible.
A boxer may not realize it, but a manager and promoter are not the same. Promoters set up shows and book fighters. Managers, on the other hand, network with promoters to set up fights. They then work on gaining their boxer the best purse possible.
Due to the amount of money a boxer can earn, manager is invested in a fighter’s career. A promoter only has a business interest in a boxer. Managers have a stronger relationship with their fighters and the better the fighter does, the more money a manager can make.
Booking Fights and Handling Media
Managers take care of booking fights for their proteges as boxers do not have the time to train and network with promoters to set up matches. It is the manager’s job to communicate with promoters to set up fighters. They will also keep an eye out for opponents that match up well with their boxer. In addition to booking fights with promoters, managers will negotiate the purse for the fight.
It is the responsibility of a manager to identify fighters for you to battle in matches. Managers should be on the lookout for fighters that will enable you to improve with every fight. Boxing is a journey in which you improve with every bout and a manager worth their salt will deliver a conveyor belt of opponents that increase your skills each time in the ring.
In the build-up to fights, managers will contact media outlets to get their fighters press before the upcoming bout. Speaking to the media offers boxers the chance to build up their careers and increase the interest in their fights. Whether it is through social media, television, or print media, a manager can help a boxer build up their profile.
Knowing What is Best
A boxing manager typically knows what is best for their fighter. Knowing what is best can range from understanding financial aspects to handling pre-fight build-up. A boxer’s job is to train and perform in the ring. Oftentimes, boxers don’t come from the best backgrounds and may not have had the structure needed to be an elite level athlete. Boxing managers can get their fighters onto a path that allows them to train and focus on their careers at a high level.
It is uncommon to read about top-level boxers who grew up well off financially. Typically, boxers grow up without a lot of money, fighting for everything they have in life. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a great example of a fighter who made it to the big-time in spite of growing up in poverty and amongst drug culture. Although Mayweather’s father was a boxer, it is claimed he didn’t show interest in his son until the age of 11. It was around that time that Mayweather Jr. began showing signs of being a promising boxer, influencing his father to take part in his life. Having a family member in boxing didn’t necessarily help Mayweather early on in life. At two-years-old, it is alleged that Mayweather’s uncle Tony Sinclair, a local drug dealer and boxer, put a gun to the future champion’s face and threatened to pull the trigger.
Mayweather’s family was routinely homeless and in an interview with Rolling Stone, the boxer claimed he spent time growing up with seven people in a one-bedroom apartment with no heating. It is this time that sculpted Mayweather’s drive but a boxing manager was still needed to guide him to the top. You can have all the skills in the world but if there is no one there to lead the way, all you have is potential.
Had Mayweather not had Leonard Ellerbe as manager to watch over his career, then he could have ended up flaming out of professional boxing at an early age. Instead, Mayweather is worth a reported $560 million.
Mayweather’s youth is certainly one that would cause the average person to receive hundreds of hours in therapy. Yet, the boxer was able to get much of his aggression out over the years in the ring. Still, Ellerbe was vital to guide Mayweather on a path that wasn’t destructive. A boxing manager worth their weight will know that surrounding their fighter with a positive environment is the only way to truly succeeding.
Boxers seeking to achieve a sustainable career need a manager capable of guiding their careers. But a manager is more than just a leader. They are confidants, financial masters, and sometimes, the father figures the fighter lacked as a child. A boxing manager must wear different hats to get the best out of their fighters. Only then will both parties succeed.