Matchmakers are the unsung heroes of the boxing business, they are the glue that holds each and every fight card together.
While the boxers and promoters receive all the glory, matchmakers are comforted in the knowledge that without them you’d be left with fights that don’t make any sense.
A good matchmaker knows virtually every boxer’s record inside and out, as well as who manages and trains them.
They know which fighters are punchers and which ones are boxers, who has a good chin and who quits when things aren’t going his or her way.
They sit in their makeshift offices, usually at the gym, where they are watching boxers train, in their cars, or at airports – as they travel so much – they always seem to be talking on their cell phones, which they are, because they are always undertaking a painstaking search for the perfect opponent for their ’employer’s’, the promoter, home fighter.
To the casual observer, it may seem to be a simple job, but to the serious boxing fan, it’s an art form, not unlike a World-class chef, who instinctively knows which ingredients are needed to prepare a Cordon Bleu level meal.
A lot of people do not realise just how important the role of a sports agent is, in fact for a future star the sports agent could well be the most important person for his or her career.
The sports agent procures and negotiates employment and endorsements contracts for an athlete, they are also responsible for communications with team the boxer’s manager, coach, as well as ensuring matchmakers are aware of their charge.
Primarily, agents are used to broker and negotiate contracts for their clients. Also, they are responsible for making recommendations in regard to the athlete’s options.
In addition to finding income sources, agents often handle public relations matters for their clients. In some large sports agencies, such as IMG, Creative Artists Agency and Octagon, agents deal with all aspects of a client’s finances, from investment to filing taxes.
Sports agents may be relied upon by their clients for guidance in all business aspects, and sometimes even more broadly. For example, agents can start recruiting clients as young as 15, allowing the agent to guide their charge through their amateur career, with a view to the development prior to the transition to the professional ranks, which can only be made once the athlete is eighteen years of age.
Due to the length and complexity of contracts, many sports agents are lawyers or have a background in contract law. Agents are expected to be knowledgeable about finance, business management, and financial and risk analysis, as well as sports.
It is important for a sports agent to follow trends in sports. Other skills an agent must possess are excellent communication and negotiation skills.
Agents must be highly motivated, willing to work long hours, and have the ability to multitask. It is very common for agents to be in negotiations on behalf of several clients at one time.