Muhammad Ali had a specially made pair of red boxing shoes from Adidas that he wore in 1974, continuing a tradition of making boxing shoes that began in 1949.
But the company has not been involved in professional boxing like it will be beginning on Tuesday. The company partnered with trainer Robert Garcia to release boxing equipment as well as Robert Garcia Boxing Academy-branded apparel that will be sold on the Adidas website and on its boxing site at usboxing.net.
The merchandise will consist of RGBA T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts. The company has manufactured boxing gloves as well as training equipment.
Garcia told Yahoo Sports he’s very happy with the training equipment. He said that boxers are hesitant to use the gloves in fights right now because they’re loyal to the brands they’ve used.
But he was excited by the deal that his agent, Rick Mirigian, put together with Adidas. Garcia said he’ll benefit financially from the deal, but said the equipment is a key component.
“It’s awesome to have a company like Adidas be willing to work with us and help us,” Garcia said. “Financially, it’s nice to have that, but their training gear, the sparring gloves, the heavy bags, that stuff, they’re quality material. It’s really good stuff and they’ve sent me a bunch.
“Even the fight gloves are really good, but most of my fighters are committed to brands they have used.”
Mirigian, who manages super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez, said he came up with the idea after trying without success to get a similar deal for Ramirez from Nike.
It didn’t work out, but the thought of bringing in a major company to boxing never left his mind.
“This is a big step in the right direction for this sport,” Mirigian told Yahoo Sports. “It’s going to bring more attention to the sport. There is a residual effect, too. I think other outlets, other people, other entities, they’re going to see this and they’re going to see a conglomerate like Adidas put a boxing trainer, not even a fighter, out front in a high-visibility position. That is going to turn heads and it helps in a number of ways.
“It’s one of those things that makes you say, ‘This sport is going somewhere. It’s headed in the right direction.’”
Mirigian said Garcia could make what he called “a six-figure residual income,” from the deal.
Christophe Dessalles, the managing director of Adidas boxing, said the company manufactures equipment and apparel for all combat sports, including MMA, judo, karate, taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
“We want to be part of the community and for us, we see boxing with a great community base like judo and karate and it is very important for us to be a part of this community,” Dessalles told Yahoo Sports on a Zoom call. “We have been listening and learning and we have made some mistakes … but I think we are ready in 2020 and 2021 to do great things in boxing.”
Adidas has two pair of fight gloves, a puncher’s glove and one that is more padded for the hands. Mirigian said he was honest with Adidas during talks and told them that fighters wouldn’t use the gloves immediately.
But he said he felt it was important that they make them and then attempt to keep improving them.
“I was very candid with Adidas when making this deal that it was going to take time to make a glove that would be able to compete with the people who have been in this sport for decades,” Mirigian said. “I said, ‘You’re not going to sway guys to use these gloves with money.’ Those are their hands that they use as they go into war. They have trust in what they’ve used, and they have superstitions and so many other variables.
“I think they need to ease into the glove market. Fighters need to test them out and [Adidas] needs to get feedback from world champions. They need to keep producing and improving to where they will compete glove-wise, and I think they will. But the rest of the boxing merchandise is top shelf. That’s why I am so excited by what this deal means not only for Robert, but for the sport of boxing.”
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