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Boxing Absent in NY; Promoters and Boxers Respond

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Boxing Absent in NY; Promoters and Boxers Respond

They say the policy is present to attend to the health and well being of the athletes.

But, if those athletes are not able to secure opportunities close to home, in NY State, then one wonders if the newly passed regulation calling for a million dollars worth of insurance coverage for every boxer fighting on a NY pro boxing card is as helpful as certain folks make it out to be.

There was supposed to be a pro boxing card at the Paramount in Huntington, Long Island, NY on Oct 14. Was. Promoter Joe DeGuardia told the Paramount people and the 16 boxers slated to ply their trade that no show will take place on LI that night.

“The show is off,” the promoter, three decades in the business, told me. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have poured into the local community from DeGuardia shows over the years, and he's propelled stars like Chris Algieri to million dollar paydays. But that's now up in the air, at the least. “There will be NO boxing in NY for the entire month of September AND October at the very least. There is NO approved insurance policy available to any promoter for a show in NY!”

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So, another state will host the show? “Will be moving out of New York,” he said. “We had a huge card scheduled including Danny Gonzalez, Tyrone James, Tyronne Bostick, Cletus Seldin and many others.

No, not good news for the “little guy,” for the smaller promoters and those like Lou DiBella who run cards to keep their stable busy.

Dibella told us he is at “the end of my rope.”

He posted the following on his website and though he is still hopeful the issue gets resolved, his patience is thinning.

“The State of New York has, at least temporarily, crippled the boxing industry. They are depriving young New York athletes, as well as managers and promoters, from their livelihoods. This is doing NOTHING to improve the health and safety of fighters, in fact the REVERSE is true. Local fighters are forced to leave the state to fight in other jurisdictions; NONE of them have the insurance requirements in a law, supposedly written to allow MMA in our state, that disproportionately affects and hurts boxers and the boxing business. More importantly, the majority of these states require minimal medical safeguards and testing. The State of New York has actually detrimentally affected fighter safety.

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The last two catastrophic head injuries that occurred in NYS boxing matches were directly related to mistakes by state appointed officials and a failures by political appointees and their personnel to abide by their already existing protocols and directives. Fix yourselves; don't scapegoat athletes and a sport that is ingrained in the history and fabric of your State.

A few years back, Antonio Margarito was allowed to fight in NYS, against doctors advice and directives, by decisions made in Albany. There should be a Federal investigation of what occurred in this instance, as well as the administration and regulation of combat sports in this State since. This investigation should include the circumstances surrounding the lobbying for, and drafting of, the legislation, rules, and regulations that treat boxing in a disparate and less favorable manner than MMA and kickboxing.
kickboxing. Apparently 2.2 million dollars of lobbying money, and countless campaign contributions, can cripple small businesses to the advantage of one multi-billion dollar company. Apparently, alleged health and safety concerns can mask the desire to minimize competition and a fair marketplace. I hope that this becomes evident to United States Attorney Preet Bharara.”

Mercedes Vazquez of Pretty Girl Promotions, seen below with Joe Mesi, has and will be affected if this situation doesn't break.

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“I organized a call with all NYS licensed promoters to get a unified voice. We met with the governor's office and have some follow up. The insurance requirements are excessive and unwarranted,” she told NYF. “We're told the new regulations were put into place as a safety precaution but I don't see how increasing insurance premium achieves that. Perhaps they need to look at adding ring policies. Holding the corner accountable. And perhaps offer training and provide safety seminars info. I'm a small firm, these insurance requirements take me out of the game. I moved my October show to Charlotte, NC! I started a petition, here it is: http://www.petitions24.com/call_of_action_against_excessive_requirements_for_nys_boxing_even.”

Vazquez was paying around $2,500 for a policy for a show. Doubling, tripling, or more would make it a no fly zone for her in NY. “Exactly. I have calls to 3 brokers. Still no quote. No underwriter will touch this. NYSAC has flexibility but when I called about doing a show in NY, I was told $1m was firm. So until NY makes changes, I'm taking my show on the road. Unfortunately, the local fighters are the ones who will feel this!”

We also heard from promoter Ronson Frank, who does shows in Brooklyn and Queens. “Like all other New York based promoters, the ruling has definitely put us in a tough situation,” Frank told NYF.

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“We are currently exploring other options outside of New York.”

And here is how a NY fighter going to deal with this new normal? Tommy Rainone, the 27-6-1 hitter, tells us: “Nothing doing in NY so my trainer is taking me to Argentina in December, maybe, to stay busy.” The 36 year old fought in NJ and won on Oct 1. “Hurt him to the body with a straight left. He didn't mask his emotion so I knew he was hurt and jumped right on him!” So, how does he feel about the absence of boxing in NY? “Sucks and I don't see it being righted for a while.”

How will the insurance regulation affect NY boxers? “The New York guys are going to take more opponent roles, for starters,” Rainone said. “Activity will be affected as well as maintaining or growing a local fan base.”

175 ace Sean Monaghan offered his take. “This is a crippling blow to NY boxing. A month ago everyone was saying don't worry it won't happen but it did! They need to resolve this ASAP, there's a lot of hard working guys I'm in the gym with day after day who need this to feed their families,” said the Long Islander.

And what about fight fans? Patrons, purchasers? We heard from one who WAS going to the Paramount show but is now disappointed. Said Brendan Long, age 36, living in Massapequa Park, Long Island. “I was recently informed that the October 14th Star Boxing card at The Paramount in Huntington, NY that I had tickets for was cancelled. I haven't been given a reason as to why but one can assume that recent ruling from the NYSAC requiring all combat sports participants to have a one million per-fighter insurance policy covering any potential life-threatening brain injury. Small shows like the cancelled show at The Paramount in Huntington do not generate enough revenue to cover these insurance premiums and rent the space and pay the fighters and crews it takes to run a show. As a life-long boxing fan and native New Yorker I’ve been to many cards like this at various venues around NY. Cards such as Lou DiBella’s Broadway Boxing, Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing, and more recently Dmitriy Salita’s shows. I’ve been able to see boxing at places like BB Kings, Hammerstein Ballroom, Aviator Sports Arena at Floyd Bennett Field, Westbury Music Fair and I even saw a young Kendall Holt fight on the Intrepid. I’ve watched local talent like Paulie Malignaggi, Sean Monoghan, Zab Judah and Chris Algieri either get started on shows like these or make great comebacks. With the resurgence of talent coming out of New York shows like the October 14th show at The Paramount are integral in building a young fighters' local fan base and the necessary early career fights and of course a paycheck. If these shows begin to get cancelled or not scheduled due to an insurance issue I feel it will be the death knell for local NY boxing. Boxing needs this foundation of small shows and showcase fights in order for fighters to have a foundation for their careers. I hope this gets resolved and boxing can still exist on a grassroots level in New York. I also hope this gets resolved so I don’t have to switch shifts at work for no reason!”

Boxing should be back in Brooklyn in early December, we hope. But we must confess, this lack of urgency on the part of the commission to get their ducks lined up, get an insurer on board to agree to furnish a viable policy that won't keep promoters from taking all their fights to Jersey and CT, worries us.
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Also, the optics on this look strange. Why is MMA guns a blazing in NY at the same time boxing is being shelved, or so it feels like? Ndidi Massay, the new commission head, needs to step up and at least communicate what's going on over there.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the thought to be impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live since 2017. He now does work for PROBOX TV, the first truly global boxing network.