Century-old boxing equipment company Everlast launched its latest promotional campaign last week, centering the future of its industry-topping brand around one phrase: “Be First.”
“Be First, a well-known boxing term, is associated with dictating the pace of a fight by making your opponent follow your lead,” Everlast wrote in a Wednesday news release. “In [our] new ad campaign, Be First means dictating the pace of your life, your goals, and your journey.”
And according to CNBC and a number of other establishment media sources, Everlast’s early announcement of Patricio Manuel as part of its “new crop of trailblazer” brand representatives for the campaign is the epitome of “being first.”
The 34-year-old boxer, who fought other women as Patricia Manuel before undergoing surgeries and hormone treatments, is the first transgender boxer to secure a position as a major brand representative.
First is Patricio Manuel https://t.co/1L2wI2LavI
— Everlast (@Everlast_) September 26, 2019
Manuel is also the first transgender boxer to compete in a professional fight — and the first to win one.
Of course, establishment media features from CNBC, CNN, People and the like celebrated Everlast’s selection of Manuel. It was declared a win for the transgender community and a feel-good, underdog story to boot.
From five-time female national amateur boxing champion and potential Olympian to down-and-out transitioning athlete, the glowing reports said, Manuel had weathered the storms of medical surgery, performance-related injury and societal outcasting to claim victory in her male debut at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, last December.
Of course, none of the aforementioned outlets bothered to report the fact that Manuel’s victory came by decision after four rounds in the ring with tomato can Hugo Aguilar.
A super featherweight hailing from Mexico, Aguilar stepped into the ring Dec. 8 with a professional record of 0-5-0. Worse still, he was knocked out in two of those fights.
Three fights later, he is still a punching bag at 0-8-0 in 10 years of fighting on the world stage.
Meanwhile, Manuel is receiving major marketing deals, still resting on her laurels with a single victory in a single fight.
But a few facts might upset the narrative.
These days, “living your truth” is more important than facing hard truth.
Americans today would rather hear, “Living your truth is going to hurt, but it’s worth it,” as Manuel is quoted as saying in Everlast’s announcement Thursday, than hear that men are men, women are women and only the best of the best deserve a victory and a major brand deal.
So why would Everlast continue to make the latest and greatest the face of its brand?
Why continue to flaunt legends like Sugar Ray Robinson who could fight in various weight classes and change the game?
Why continue to go with 52-1-2 fighters like Canelo Álvarez who went from farm boy to second-highest-paid contract athlete in the world in 25 years?
Better to prop up a transgender athlete with brand deals and strategically selected fights they couldn’t possibly lose in exchange for 15 minutes of mass media praise and a free pass from the progressive outrage mob.
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