HOLYFIELD’S PROMOTIONAL DEBUT
Jack Hirsch gets the low-down on Evander’s new venture
THESE are good times for Evander Holyfield. Earlier in the month he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Then last Saturday, in Louisville, Holyfield’s newly formed company Real Deal Promotions made their debut.
The promotion was dubbed as Evander’s tribute to Muhammad Ali, who had passed away a year ago. The city had a number of activities to celebrate the life of their famous son, none bigger than this one. And in an ironic twist, the show was held at the legendary Freedom Hall where Ali made his professional debut back in 1960. The last professional show held there prior to this was Danny Williams’ upset of Mike Tyson back in 2004.
The level of responsibility that Holyfield will have in running the day to day operations of the company is unclear, but he has at least surrounded himself with good people. New Yorkbased promoter Sal Musumeci will serve as the President and CEO. Eric Bentley, formerly a matchmaker for promoter Lou Dibella, quit his job on the New York State Athletic Commission to come on board as the Chief Operating Officer.
The four-time world heavyweight title-holder was upbeat before the first punches were thrown. “I am very proud to bring this card to Louisville” he said. “We have high-quality talent and competitive fights.
“It’s all about giving the fighters an opportunity. We want them to give it their very best. I know boxing. I’ve been through a lot of things and can give advice.”
Holyfield is not the first modern great to try his hand at promoting. There have been others who met with varying success. Mike Tyson, whose name will always be intertwined with Holyfield’s, had a short stint as the promoter of record for Iron Mike Promotions. However, after securing a few television dates the company quietly disappeared. Roy Jones’ Square Ring Promotions has been around for many years, but is no more than a bit-player in the industry.
Mayweather Promotions has had a few world champions and regularly secures television dates, but his close relationship with Al Haymon plays a pivotal role in that as Floyd will readily admit.
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has enjoyed tremendous success over the years. Being that they have Canelo Alvarez as one of their fighters and just signed a lucrative deal with ESPN, the future looks bright.
Mayweather and De La Hoya each have deep pockets from a lucrative ring career which has helped support their promotions. Holyfield’s money problems have been documented. He won’t at least initially be able to compete for talent with the bigger entities, but heavyweight Carlos Negron, featherweight Toka Kahn Clary, and welter Peter Dobson, who all won on this show, have potential to make a run for a world title if moved right. Holyfield needs to talk them up more than he did in the lead-up to this event. When Evander speaks, people will listen.
‘I KNOW BOXING. I’VE BEEN THROUGH A LOT OF THINGS’
NEW TO THE GAME: Ring legend Holyfield takes his first steps as a promoter