Ring Of Sports Marketing

Athlete Branding / Boxing

Shakur Stevenson Is On The Verge Of Stardom

Shakur Stevenson is the only American boxer left with the potential to win a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.  If Stevenson wins the gold medal he will be the first American fighter since Andre Ward in 2004 to receive the highest prize in amateur boxing.  The young fighter is already getting comparisons to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and is featured in a Powerade commercial.  With the athletic success and commercial value that has already been established Shakur Stevenson is on the verge of stardom.

The US Boxing team had an awful showing in the 2012 London Olympics where they went without a medal for the first time in American boxing history.  American flyweight, Nico Hernandez, was the first American fighter to win an Olympic medal since Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder won the bronze medal in 2008.  But Shakur Stevenson is looking for a finish that some of the greatest fighters in history have achieved including Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay), Pernell Whitaker, Oscar De La Hoya, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman.

Shakur Stevenson has already been featured in a Powerade commercial with the tagline, “We’re all just a kid from somewhere.”

Floyd Mayweather Jr. attended the fight.  It can be assumed that Mayweather is at the Olympics for scouting purposes as he builds his base of fighters in his promotional company Mayweather Promotions.  Mayweather said:

He did an unbelievable job, very, very [good]… He’s not a good fighter, he’s a great amateur boxer and someday, he’s going to be a world champion at the professional level, at the highest ranks.

I see the next Floyd Mayweather,” he said. “If anybody can break my records, this young kid right here can do it. I truly believe in him.

United States fighter Shakur Stevenson will be fighting in the Olympic semifinals on August 18th against Russian bantamweight Vladimir Nikitin.

Ringside Analysis:

Being the first American in twelve years would be a remarkable achievement especially given the recent struggles of USA amateur boxing.  Winning a gold medal has also been one of the best launching pads for fighters entering their professional careers.  People can see boxing championships on a resume but the ultimate validation is an Olympic gold medal simply because of the brand value attached to the Olympics.

Stevenson also seems to have the mindset of someone who is going to dedicate himself to boxing, which is a big contrast compared to another fighter named Adrien Broner who has shown himself to be full of style and promotional acumen but comes very short on training and preparation for his fights.

A major sponsor is also a very promising sign and shows that a major sports company that markets to a mainstream audience has found that there is a strong potential for commercial success.  In my research and knowledge of the sports industry, one of the biggest signs of a tipping point for the marketing of an athlete or sport is acquiring a major sponsor.  For example, Bud Light sponsoring the UFC was considered a watershed moment for the company and a sign that professional MMA was gaining serious legitimacy.

The boxing world will be watching on Thursday to see if the next American superstar will earn the highest amateur award in the sport and get a great start to his professional career.  Given that Shakur Stevenson says that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is his idol it can be assumed that he would sign with Mayweather Promotions.  Combine Al Haymon’s recommendations and Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s knowledge of self-promotion there is the strong potential that Stevenson could be the next Pay-Per-View star.

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