Rapper 50 Cent enters boxing biz


He's conquered the charts in the rap music category, parlayed a stake in the beverage company Glaceau for a buyout payday to Coke, so you might figure 50 Cent would parachute into the boxing business and set up shop looking to be the top dog from the get go.

Get out of the away, Bob Arum. Step aside, Oscar de La Hoya. Check out how the new blood does it, OG Don King.

But no.

Fifty, who announced his entry into the boxing promotion business in July, is soaking up the industry practices by watching vets like Arum and Lou DiBella, the New York-based dealmaker. He saw Arum's Top Rank machine in motion ahead of the Dec. 8 Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez scrap in Las Vegas. Top hitter in his stable, Yuriorkis Gambo, fought and won on the undercard.

On March 1, Fifty, whose fight promotion entity is called SMS Promotions, is putting on a show at Foxwoods in Connecticut, along with DiBella. SMS' Billy Dib, the IBF featherweight champion, tops that ESPN "Friday Night Fights" card, facing off with Evgeny Gradovich. The rapper-mogul is getting his hands dirtier on this card, shadowing DiBella, who has three decades in the business. "I don't want to learn from my mistakes," 50 Cent told NYFightblog. "That's how you pay in business. You utilize someone who has already made those mistakes. Having experienced people with you is how you acquire information faster."

The Queens-born entertainer was a constant presence by the side of pound-for-pound ace Floyd Mayweather the last few years. Their relationship cooled, however, after Mayweather's three month jail stint this summer. I wondered about the state of their union, and asked if there was a possibility that 50 Cent would promote Floyd's next fight, after his May 4 Golden Boy promoted bout. Fifty said, in fact, he reached out and messaged Floyd not long ago about promoting the May 4 fight. He told the fighter he could come up with a $40 million pot. "There were a lot of roadblocks coming from Floyd," he said. "I've said publicly, he's like my brother. If he chooses not to invest, that's OK. If you'd never seen me around Floyd, things would be the same."

So, is the door shut on promoting a Mayweather fight? "He's aware the option is there," Fifty said.

Mayweather doesn't have a foe picked for his May tussle, so I asked Fifty to put on his promoter cap, and weigh in on who he thinks Floyd should pick. Robert Guerrero? Devon Alexander? Manny Pacquiao? "The most exciting fight is "The Ghost" Guerrero," he said. "Devon is talented, but I don't think it's an exciting fight. The Manny fight, I think it was blown up so big, it popped. Will it ever happen? At one point, before Floyd went to jail, he was willing to make it, but money issues [prevented it]. I don't think it happens now. I think Floyd is concerned with just hanging on. His brand is so big he could be fighting anybody. He could fight me if I could make the weight. People tune in to see the event, not for the excitement of the matchup."

My takeaways: I am impressed, and told 50 Cent, that he is wisely aligning himself with industry stalwarts. That shows wisdom and humility. I can see him sticking with this, for a long haul. He said he sees himself being at or near the top of the pack in five or so years, when the next generation of boxing promoters has stepped up.