By Clive Bernath: The SecondsOut promoter of the year award could easily have gone to any one of at least four promoters depending on how you value the way they directed their respective businesses in 2014. Promoting boxers, marketing them correctly, picking the right fights at the right time and planning their paths towards world titles is of course standard practice. But you’d be surprised how many top promoters manage to get it wrong.
In previous years many promoters have been guilty of producing sub standard undercards while cashing in on the main ppv events. The reason for this was mainly because of the lucrative long term TV deals gifted to them without any quality control in place. But as the long term deals came to an end the TV companies wised up and now demand a lot more bang for their buck which has forced the promoters to start doing their job properly again.
The SecondsOut Promoter of the Year shortlist included the big two, Top Rank and Golden Boy plus Main Events and K2 Promotions. Looking back at 2014 all four promoters made massive strides in their own way.
Main Events have a long and well respected reputation when promoting high profile fighters on big promotions but seemed to have fallen off the radar in recent years but 2014 saw them re-emerge with the arrival of the ‘Krusher’ Sergey Kovalev, who unified the IBF/WBA and WBO light heavyweight crowns and at the same time preserve his unbeaten record at 26-0-1-(23). Kathy Duva has also been instrumental in building the reputations of unbeaten heavyweight Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov, welterweight Dmitry "The Mechanic" Mikhaylenko and lightweight Karl "Dynamite" Dargan. 2015 looks like being a very exciting year for the New Jersey based company.
K2 Promotions again proved to be successful in terms selling their events but mainly because of long time heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and unbeaten middleweight puncher Gennady Golovkin. The problem for me though is the sub standard of their undercards, especially the Klitschko cards. Aside from Golovkin, K2 do not seem to be investing in their future.
With the well publicized departure of former friend and CEO Richard Schaefer in the middle of the year it seemed as though Golden Boy may have suffered a dip in form but founder and President Oscar De La Hoya has bounced back in style by promoting Canelo Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara, Bernard Hopkins Vs Kovalev and Amir Khan Vs Devon Alexander.
The voting was close for this year’s SecondsOut promoter of the Year but in the end Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc, just about nicked a split decision.
As I said at the start of this article, just promoting cards and building up fighters is not always enough, although as well as the established names in the camp like Pacquiao, Rios and Alvarado, etc-Top Rank are building the careers of Zou Shiming and Vasyl Lomachenko very well indeed.
For me the difference between Golden Boy and Top Rank this year is the way in which Arum along with his highly experienced team have worked hard at creating a new lucrative boxing market at the Cotai Arena in the Peoples Republic Of China and at the same time building up the highly popular Shiming at the same time.
Top Rank promoted four cards at the Cotai in 2014, and each time Arum produced well balanced cards consisting of established fighters and local talent. In fact SecondsOut’s Mark Butcher attended two cards for us at the Cotai Arena in Macau and each time reported back that the promotions were very well received and the sport of boxing is thriving in the relatively new pro boxing market. Whether or not Macau will establish itself as the boxing Mecca in Asia remains to be seen but Top Rank are definitely making inroads and have already have a card booked for March 7,2015 when Shiming will challenge IBF flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng.
December 30, 2014