Are we a boxing town or what? The other week Hall of Fame Boxing Promoter Bobby D Presents announced he would no longer be putting on shows locally. The Del Mar Fairgrounds group of Paco Presents etc. has become more and more sporadic. Some people believe it’s so easy to be a boxing promoter and make tons of money. To be a successful boxing promoter you need to: 1) locate a suitable venue and finalize the booking of this venue to be in agreement with the boxers, the California State Athletic Commission, the food vendors, the people setting up your ring and seating
2) you have to match up at least six boxers who have sufficient media appeal so you can create a demand for the event, 3) you have to court the interested sponsors and then secure sufficient funding to advertise your event, 4) you have to sit down with a ticket agent to enable the sales logistics for the event, 4) you have to publicize your event through the traditional methods with counter cards and posters being delivered to all gyms, 5) you have write bios about the background of each fighter so the media can follow your lead and write interesting articles to appear in their magazine, newspaper, or on-line website which will maximize the more progressive communication channels, 6) it’s worth repeating, generate the buzz, 7) package your event for distribution either on the day of the event through live TV, streaming live across the Internet, radio or TV, 8) have someone on your team who has an understanding of corporate sponsorship and Return On Investment demands, 9) make sure you provide a video recording of the event to enable post-event DVD sales which will help you market your future events, and 10) hire security so that everyone is safe, enjoys the presentation and pays for their ticket.
Before you consider doing all that work, make certain you have at least 25 quality boxing gyms in your area with boxers who are willing to compete. Cities like Tijuana, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles and even sunny San Diego County with their 38 boxing gyms should be able to fill the bill. Yes, even gyms like Joe Frazier’s (Cloverlay) Gym will shut down but it will soon be replaced by another gym like the Bad Landz Boxing Gym of Danny Garcia. When San Diego lost the Black Tiger Gym on Miramar Road, several UFC Gyms opened. The above cities will always be stable boxing towns – we hope.
You talk about great gyms and great boxing towns, the owner/operator of the oldest boxing gym in Philadelphia, Chalie Sgrillo of the Harrowgate Boxing Club and I spoke today. We talked about a great many things, including the business of being a successful boxing promoter which he thought depended on the quality of the match making. Turning back the clock, he spoke of Philly’s Boxing promoters.
“The promoters who did the best job,” said Sgrillo, “always had the best fighters on their fight-cards. Like when Philly was this hotbed for great talent with Willie “The Worm” Monroe, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, Stanley “Kitten” Hayward, Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, Bennie Briscoe, one of the most feared fighters of his day and Eddie Gregory (Mustafa Muhammad).”
Then we got back to talking about all the great fighters who came out of his gym, like Danny Garcia, the current WBC & WBA Light Welterweight Champ, who started training there at the age of 10. The many cherished photos of Garcia are still on the walls.
Next, we spoke of the other top prospects who got their start at his gym. “There’s this youngster by the name of Milton “El Santo” Santiago who goes for the perfect 10 on Saturday. This young man is still in high school, a senior at William Tennent High School. He had a record of 182-14 as an Amateur and in 2010, he won the Ringside World Championships in the 13/14 year-old age group, 132 pound Open Division. When he’s on your fight card, 30 percent of the attendance is there to support him. His first contest lasted all of 76 seconds. On February 7, 2014 when he turned pro, he became the youngest boxer ever to be licensed in the state of Pennsylvania.
“Tomorrow night, April 18, Santiago will be fighting at the Valley Forge Casino Resort on the undercard of that super middleweight bout between Phillip Benson and Darnell Boone. That being said, he is the feature attraction. How many 18 year-old jr. lightweights do you know that are (9-0)? Again, his name is Milton Santiago. He’s going up against a guy by the name of Ray Velez in a bout scheduled for six-rounds. He trains hard and spars with this undefeated 130-pounder Jason Sosa, a welterweight contender Ray Robinson and undefeated lightweight Angel Ocasio.
“We also have this great kid by the name of Joey ‘The Tank’ Dawejko. He gets his acid test on Friday, May 8, when he faces the powerful lefty Amir Mansour of Wilmington, Delaware at the 2300 Arena in South Philly. Local boxing writers are calling this match the biggest local fight in years.
Research on The Tank: Dawejko scored his fourth straight first-round knockout when a left hook flattened Enobong Umohette of Nigeria at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. The Tank had stopped Rayford Johnson of Austin, TX on November 14 at Harrah’s Philadelphia and two months earlier in the same ring, he flattened Yohon Banks, of Redwood, California in the first round. Dawejko (14-3-2, 7 KOs) needed only 108 seconds to blow away fellow-Philadelphian David Williams on August 2 in their fight at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 24-year-old has made a career out of taking hard fights, out of town fights, and fights on short notice. As an amateur, Dawejko, who is managed by Mark Cipparone of Rocco’s Collision Service in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, defeated current heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings.
His opponent, Amir Mansour, is the headliner on this ESPN2 card. In Mansour’s last fight on November 8, he knocked out Fred Kassi of New Orleans, Louisiana in the seventh round at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. You might recall Mansour was the fighter who scored a pair of fifth-round knockdowns but lost his USBA heavyweight title via 10-round decision to Steve Cunningham back on April 4, 2014 in Philadelphia. In his previous fight on December 14, 2013, Mansour chopped down 6-foot-7 Kelvin Price, of Pensacola, Florida, in the seventh round at Resorts International in Atlantic City. Price went down in both the fifth and seventh round. Mansour, who last year signed a managerial contract with pay-per-view mogul Joe Hand, Sr., is 21-1, 16 KOs, during a career which began in 1997 and was interrupted by prison time. Mansour, ranked No. 26 by the WBC, is trained by Calvin Davis and Howard Mosley.
Now you know why boxing promoters are so successful in Philadelphia – they have a ton of boxing fans, boxing gyms galore, plus a glut of top talent with the most interesting story-lines. You can add Jesse “Hard Work” Hart to that list. Does the name sound familiar? Jesse Hart is the son of the great Eugene “Cyclone” Hart.
Jesse Hart’s opinion of the Dawejko versus Mansour fight: “Listen up folks, this is just like an Earnie “The Acorn” Shavers vs. James “Lights Out” Toney fight. Need I say more? Shavers remains the hardest puncher in the history of pugilism. And I doubt if there has ever been a better defensive wizard than James Toney who was simply brilliant! Dawejko is like Toney but he’s a much harder puncher stopping his last four opponents in the opening stanza to leave them on the canvas, hapless, hopeless and helpless and in need of medical attention.
“I also saw Mansour put a man to sleep for over five minutes. The ringside doctor started dialing the funeral director instead of the local hospital. Mansour won “Sports Illustrated’s Knockout of the Year in 2014” for his spectacular seventh round demolition of Fred Kassi on November 8th on NBC Sports Network.”
Bottom line, San Diego is in need of an active Boxing Promoter who will put on a show – at least once a month – just like Las Vegas, just like Philadelphia, just like Dallas, just like Tijuana, just like so many other boxing towns.
Addendum to the earlier article
In regards to the bout between 24 year-old Joey ‘The Tank’ Dawejko of Philadelphia in Philadelphia versus the 42 year-old southpaw Amir “Hard Core” Mansour from Wilmington, Delaware, a fight that took place on May 8, 2015, Mansour (22-1, 16 KOs) relied on activity to outbox Dawejko by an unanimous decision (96-94, 98-92, 97-93) in the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.
Milton ‘El Santo’ Santiago got himself win #10 by taking every round from Ray Velez (3-7-1, 1 KO) from Troy, New York.
Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia (30-0-0, 17 KOs) took care of the 31 year-old Lamont “Havoc” Peterson (33-3-1, 17 KOs) from Memphis, Tennessee, wining a mixed decision victory with scores of 114-114, 115-113, 115-113.
Jesse ‘Hard Work’ Hart (16-0, 13 KOs), Eugene ‘Cyclone’ Hart’s son, fought on the undercard of the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao PPV fight on May 2 and defeated the gentleman in this photo, Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez (17-0-0, 11 KOs) of Chicago, Illinois to win the vacant USBA super middleweight title.