Hello Ali and Liberace! Bring Back Showmanship to Pro Boxing and MMA

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By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

Nothing in life is better for a cause than the good old fashioned spectacular publicity stunt. As Liberace, once stated, “Be Outrageous!” Muhammad Ali, Liberace and Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury knew how to work the press and any audience to dramatic effect.

Personality superseded everything, and the giants of entertainment had great concepts of how to get attention and remain in the limelight. Boxing still has some good promotions, but the concept of a box office draw after Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s retirement seem remote.

It was indeed Lee Liberace who put one of his costume jackets on a young Elvis Presley and dared Elvis to imitate him. Muhammad Ali mocked other boxers with rhythmic poetry, and captured the attention of the world when he refused draft induction and would not go to Vietnam, then came back and regained his title. The world was intrigued.

WrestleMania and the USC, like boxing, know how to put on a great promotion. Giving celebrities guest appearances always helps to energize the concept of filling the seats and selling the pay-per-views. It seems to me sports were better years ago at recruiting stars and attracting celebrity interest. Today’s boxing events and MMA events are attended by celebrities for the most part only if they happen to be there, which is not like it used to be. Then again, nothing ever is.

Publicity sells, not only in sports but in all vocations. Muhammad Ali and Liberace were truly two of the masters of the dramatic appearance to captivate the attention and intrigue of the general public in the entertainment and sports genres. To date, nobody has captured the hearts and the intensity of the fans like Ali or Liberace did, who could rise up well enough to take their place. Sportswriter Robert Brizel got an education in showmanship from Muhammad Ali and Liberace, two performers who ‘sold the show’ by means external to their respective professions, and they did it with superior emotional personality, style and flair, and generated great public interest for their shows as well. They cannot and will never be beaten or equaled over the course of time. Ali and Liberace had a certain timeless magic for capturing the attention and admiration of the general public, and they also knew how to handle the media brilliantly.

Robert Brizel
Robert Brizel
A native of New York’s Catskill Mountains, long a haven to boxers in training, New York City educator and sports writer Robert Brizel holds five university degrees in the education field, and has been writing about boxing since 1975. Robert has been an internet only boxing writer and photographer since 2008, and previously wrote for Saddoboxing. An old school writer rare in that he writes and takes his own boxing photos simultaneously, he seeks out different angles to create original stories. Robert is a frequent sight reporting boxing events in Atlantic City Casinos and New York City. Now expanding his writing to add MMA. Married with a daughter. A sharp dresser, Robert’s electric personality brings class and to events he covers. The only active boxing writer today licensed as a boxing manager and corner man, Robert works the corner in New York and New Jersey on occasion, adding a unique perspective and dimension to his perceptions of the fight game today. Also a trained vocalist who performed on the Catskill hotel nightclub stage for a decade as a child
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