Gary Shaw, Burly Promoter With Several Sides, Is Remembered



Gary Shaw, Burly Promoter With Several Sides, Is Remembered

So many of these announcement, it feels like, although it could be that it merely feels that way, in the context of a species working iffy through identity crises. Gary Shaw died, damn, I was made aware when my guy Abe G messaged me the Rick Glaser X post.

Fuck, I said to myself, when was the last timeI talked to Gary? How old was Gary? Beginning of 2022, and the native of New Mexico, who made New Jersey and Florida home, was born April 11, 1944. His passing came on the day of his birth.

Gary Shaw died on April 11, 2024, the day of his birth 79 years prior

Gary Shaw, circa 2015, he had Bryant Jennings in against Wladimir Klitschko (Photo by Will Hart off GS social)

I looked at his accounts on social, looking to make sure that Glaser’ call was on target.

And my memories churned, as I assessed my feelings for the man, and also his rightful legacy within the sport.

Shaw was a lifer, he started out in the early 70s, and so he toiled for a long campaign.

He didn’t reach “A status,” maybe you could say, not there with the Kings and Arums. That’s not to demean Gary Shaw, although when a character like him passes away but of course there will be those whose memories are not such a blessing. But I will speak for me, and say that I recollect mostly good stuff with Shaw.

Gary Shaw Remembered As A Mentor By Promoter Michael Reyes

Before I dive into some reminisces, allow me first to post an homage to Gary Shaw by my friend Michael Reyes, the Massachusetts-based promoter on the rise.

“An icon in boxing would be an understatement,” Reyes wrote of Gary's exit. “Shawtime” is a common catchphrase you would hear back during the “Shobox” prospect series. A friend and mentor has passed.

What is a mentor? A mentor provides guidance, support, and advice to another person, usually someone less experienced or knowledgeable in a particular field or aspect of life. Mentors typically share their expertise, experiences, and wisdom to help the mentee develop skills, make better decisions, and navigate challenges.

The mentor-mentee relationship can be formal or informal and often involves regular communication and interaction aimed at the mentee's personal or professional growth. Mentors can offer valuable insights, encouragement, and constructive feedback to help the mentee achieve their goals and reach their full potential. Gary was this to me.

I had been working on a tournament-style series, and who else would I go to than one of the lead architects of the most successful type of tournaments in boxing history? For hours I sat with Gary Shaw and hear dabout the Super Six and how it came together.

Gary was so willing to explain the failures made in it and the successes they had.

Reflecting on Gary's role as the president of NABA and his contributions to boxing history, it's evident that his legacy will continue to inspire and shape the future of the sport. While his passing leaves a void, it's reassuring to know that his vision and ideas will endure through those who have been influenced by him, including myself.

I will carry forward your teachings and insights, and honor your memory, and contribute to the ongoing success of the sport he loved.

Rest in peace, Gary Shaw. Your influence will continue to be felt in the boxing community for years to come.

Last post on Facebook by Gary Shaw spoke to his sentimental side

So well said, classy, a thoroughly decent salute to a mentor.

A saying is that when you go, it won’t matter so much how much you accumulated, the houses, the job wins etc. It will be about how you made people feel.

Big food for thought for me, and y’all around my age range understand that well. Get into your 40s and 50s and you do the math in your head now and again: wait, how old am I?

How much longer do I likely have to get things done that I contemplate doing?

The Shaw passing, forgive me, affected my thinking the day Glaser told fans that big Gary, a helpful-to-his-business-agenda mix of big-brute bluster, and a lil bit of Luca Brasi potential for violence suggested in his barrel torso, had moved on. BUT….I spent more than a few hours talking to Gary Shaw, mostly during his 2005-2015 run where he made a nice living plying a complex trade. He had different sides.

As Reyes shares, he was generous with his time, when talking about the game, the players, and yes, the diminishment in some ways of the sport.

We shared passionate lamenting about the propensity to place the best fare behind paywalls. “They don’t put the Final Four on pay per view, do they,” Gary Shaw would thunder.

Shaw worked at the NJSAC, until 1999, when he became the Chief Operating Officer of Main Events. GSP promoted or co-promoted Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Shane Mosley, Fernando Vargas, Arturo Gatti, Winky Wright, Manny Pacquiao, and Diego Corrales, at one time or another. Also… Timothy Bradley, Vic Darchinyan, Chad Dawson, Nonito Donaire, Jeff Lacy, Daniel Geale, and many more

I enjoyed his demeanor mostly, because Gary Shaw actually had a teddy-bear side. I heard and felt it when our chat would veer from the boxing business to personal life.

I’d talk some about my travails as a younger buck, how I needed to get my teeth kicked in a few times so I finally read the writing on the wall. His listening was not a ruse to help paint a kinder portrait of someone in a sometimes iffy business.

Gary Shaw would talk about his sons, about problems they face, and it was clear, he would listen. Now, with that Archie Bunker bluster, he’d not be afraid to thunder at you if he thought you were full of shit.  We went back and forth a bit, mostly via texting, during the contentious 2016-2017 time frame. You recall Gary’s run pretty much ended when he parted ways with Roc Nation, which he helped run for a short spell, about a month. He'd later grumble off the record about the clown-showmanship on display at that org, and about some of the personnel hired to help the buildup, which never happened.

We didn’t see eye to eye politically, and that gulf affected us, as it did and does so many citizens in this fiercely fractured nation in dire need a realities and values check.

Last time I talked to Gary I was about to try my hand at being Florida Man.

Gary Shaw Wanted A Crack At Helping ProBox Find Its Way

I checked in with Gary Shaw, saying hi, and he asked me what I was up. ProBox, I said.

He harrumphed. “What is that guy doing? Cart before the horse, building around shoulder programming? He needs help, tell him I am available,” Gary told me to tell Garry Jonas, the ProBox show-runner.

I don’t recall that I did tell Jonas about Shaw’s critique–which I wondered hard about myself–of the silly in-retrospect Garry Jonas plan to present ex fighters as “co founders” of an enterprise which was pitched to me as something different, an antidote product, but which has proven out to be, no offense, same stale song and dance moves. He's hired and fired to the degree that morale is affected, and the seemingly crazy cash burn rate makes people wonder how long it'll continue.

Yeah, as I recall, it was clear that Gary Shaw had some left to give the sport, his passion was present, still, to a decent degree. But nah, time passes and time spent near the top of a pinnacle ultimately fades.

I’d think about Gary, about how he gave me biggest-to-date broadcast opportunity, on a Roc Nation/Fox show, and I will publicly say thanks for that, big Gary. I always remember fondly anyone who took a lil chance on me.

Gary Shaw, 1944-2024

Gary Shaw could have tapped an A side media guy to do interviews, but I appreciate he gave me a crack

He didn’t have to, he didn’t need my favor, my columns wouldn’t much move the needle on Gary’s life…but he did.

C’mon now, let’s keep it real, in honor of Gary, who would indeed offer up more unfiltered takes on his promotional exploits than lots of the others in that zone of prominence. That I appreciated, though not as much when Gary tried to explain to me the merits of a certain real estate heir turned politician. We weren’t going to find common ground there.

But I do with my guy Reyes, and plenty of other folks as well, who fondly recall that Gary made them feel good about themselves as they interacted.

It struck me pretty early on with Gary that the guy cared about his wife—Judy, he dropped her name all the time, and his sons. That there might be the strongest element of the legacy of Gary Shaw. Our thoughts go out to his loved ones.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael 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.