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Wherever you find the dusty footage, wadded tape, and chipped, flaking gloves of boxing’s past, you’ll also come upon its posters. “The Rumble in the Jungle,” “The Sound and the Fury,” “The Thrilla in Manila”: In the past, these titles were printed and reprinted across flyers and advertisements everywhere, spreading word about the sport’s next big moment in history one picture at a time. In the past century, boxing has added countless images to its iconography, helping fighters like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, and Joe Frazier to capture the public’s imagination.
This weekend, two of the sport’s most visible champions will enter the ring and fight to secure their own spots in the record books. Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao have yet to touch gloves, but the two welterweight champions are already the subject of much debate and speculation as they prepare for their long-awaited welterweight championship bout. After years of failed negotiations, media spats, and testing controversies, Saturday’s “Fight of the Century” will finally give boxing fans an answer to the sport’s most pressing question: Mayweather or Pacquiao?
Unfortunately, while the stakes for this weekend’s bout couldn’t be higher, the marketing is, well, lacking. It’s emotionally sterile, weighed down by an aesthetic approach that would find a better home in a melodramatic Zack Snyder film. It would be charitable to simply call this fight’s poster boring.
Lacking the color or chaos of the sport’s past offerings, this poster unfortunately suggests that as boxing’s popularity has declined in recent years, so too has its design sense. But with the help of our own sweet science, we gave “The Fight of the Century” a necessary redesign, replacing boxing’s celebrated heroes and old-school pugilists with this weekend’s headline fighters. The official flyer may not get your blood boiling, but our posters will have you ready to ring the bell.
Artwork by Amy Chen and Danny Scanzoni