They say that any publicity is good publicity. And using hype to market an event makes perfect sense, particularly if a perceived negative can be turned into a positive in the ticket selling department.
Dean Lonergan is one smart operator. His foray into promoting events in New Zealand has been (mainly) successful, and he knows how to work a room. The reinvigoration of his career with Duco Events came at exactly the right time, and his partnership with David Higgins is one of great balance.
But occasionally a smart operator can become a little too smart, and in the case of dwarf boxing, Lonergan and Duco may have gone to a place they really didn’t need to go.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. If two little people (and there’s a patronising term if there ever was one) want to jump into the ring and beat the snot out of each other, good luck to them. Nobody has the right to stand in their way. But to walk into a pub and find two little dudes having a pint or two, and offer them a fight on what should have been a legitimate card is downright silly. The fact that neither has any boxing experience just makes it worse.
After a few SBW sideshows, the country now has the opportunity to see a decent heavyweight in Joseph Parker, and one of the driving forces for some people is what the undercard has on offer. Yet those tossing up whether or not to buy the fight on pay per view may have just made their decision.
No doubt Dean Lonergan and Duco Events are loving the publicity. There is a distinct possibility (shock, horror!) that they are actually the driving force behind the publicity, trying to push sales through the media attention.
The problem that they now have is not that there has been a flood of outrage – quite the contrary. Most people seem to be accepting of the fact that these Matthew Wood and Colin Lane can do what they like. Their problem is that the general populace really can’t be arsed shelling out their well-earned coin to see an undercard that contains a try-hard shock element to it.
This type of promotion may work for the people whose boxing enjoyment comes from watching events like Fight for Life. There is nothing wrong with that at all – whatever cheeses your cracker.
But for the bulk of people who order and pay for a legitimate fight on Pay per View, they expect a top notch undercard to go with it. Using two novice “little people” as their leading publicity driver ensures that those folk will not get value for money.
I’ll be watching the Main Event via the highlights reel on the news. I think I’ll save my cash thanks Dean.