Say goodbye to boxing club shows, to grass roots events which are the building blocks to showcase young talents who have chosen prize fighting as their ticket to upward mobility in a world which increasingly closes those avenues to prosperity.
Boxing promoter Lou Dibella told media gathered at Via Della Pace in the East Village in Manhattan on Thursday that he's not scheduling any boxing events in NY after September 1, because the new law on the books calling for a million dollars worth of insurance per fighter against catastrophic brain injury to be purchased for any pro boxing card makes holding an event cost prohibitive.
Dibella, hyping the Sunday PBC/Coney Island card, said that he's looked and so far, hadn't found an insurer who would underwrite a policy that would pay out such sums. Furthermore, it's looking like even the larger shows, with bigger budgets which could conceivably absorb higher insurance premiums, are now being steered out of state.
So, Dibellla will bring his business to CT, and maybe other states which don't saddle small business with such a price shocker policy. He said he doesn't want to make an accusation but wonders if MMA persons aren't loving this development, which will help UFC get all the fight sport attention as they unfurl their first NY shows since the state government voted to allow MMA events in the state.
Sept 24 was supposed to be the date for a boxing show at Barclays Center and optimists are thinking that the New York State Athletic Commission can work to fashion wording in the law which would reduce the insurance ask. But as of now, that show will not take place in NY. Dibella seemed to believe that a law is a law and didn't seem upbeat that club shows, such as his Broadway Boxing series, can continue to be a stepping stone for young talent. The state and city is pricing out the little guy, and falling prey to an environment which encourages income inequality, basically. And with Bob Arum, the big wig Las Vegas based deal maker saying he will steer clear of NY, and now the PBC gang moving off the Barclays date in September, it's looking like the insurance issue could effectively drive out most all boxing events in NY.
We will stay on top of the matter and do hope that some middle ground, to allow events, big and small to be held, can be found.
Check out this release, which has quotes from the Coney Island headliners:
BROOKLYN (August 18, 2016) – Undefeated rising star Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. and once-beaten contender Leonard “The Lion” Bundu went face-to-face for the first time Thursday before they meet in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC this Sunday, August 21 from Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn.
Televised coverage of the welterweight world title eliminator begins at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT. PBC on NBCSN begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features exciting featherweight Claudio “The Matrix” Marrero taking on undefeated Derrick Murray plus unbeaten rivals Heather “The Heat” Hardy and Shelly “Shelito's Way” Vincent in a featherweight matchup.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and presented by BROOKLYN BOXING™, start at $35 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com and fordamphitheaterconeyisland.com.
Spence Jr. and Bundu spoke to media at Via Della Pace in downtown Manhattan before they visited Coney Island for photo-ops ahead of their Sunday bout in the Brooklyn venue. Here is what the participants had to say Thursday:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
“This has been a long camp. I'm in great shape and I've had strong sparring partners throughout. Bundu is a very good fighter. He's experienced and technically sound, but he can be awkward.
“I'm happy to be back in New York. I think it's going to be a good fight and I'm looking to put on a spectacular performance.
“We went up the rankings trying to find an opponent. A lot of guys didn't want to fight me, even in a title eliminator. So I want to thank Bundu for taking the fight.
“I'm not worried about what's going to happen next. I know what's next if I take care of my business. If I win I'm guaranteed a chance at the world title. I want the title fight sooner rather than later.
“We try to break down an opponent's weakness in camp. But we're also looking at what they do right. We have to capitalize on everything. My trainer will watch the video and talk about what he sees. It's a lot of communication in the gym.
“I love sparring with younger guys. Preferably amateurs or guys who just turned pro. They have more to prove in a sparring session. They really push me and help make me better.
“My main goal is to win. The only thing I have to do, is win. If the knockout comes, I'll take it. But I'm not going to force it. He's a tough and durable fighter. It has to be setup and it has to be calculated.”
“Spence Jr. is a good boxer. He's probably my toughest fight to date. These kind of fights make me more motivated.
“I have nothing to lose. I'm going to give it all I have and I'm very confident in myself. I believe I can be victorious.
“Spence Jr. and Thurman have some similarities but also are completely different fighters. I have studied Spence and I believe I will have an even better chance against Spence Jr.
“I'm always trying new workouts and trying to improve my training. I'm in tremendous shape and I know it will help carry me in the ring.
“I thought my performance was okay against Thurman. There was definitely room to improve and I think I'm an even better fighter now than I was then. I feel like I was 10 years ago. I'm like wine, I'm truly getting better with age.
“I see his weaknesses and I have to take advantage of them. I believe I can put him in trouble with my countering but it all has to come together in the ring.
“I love the challenge. I want to give him his first loss. That's what I have to do. That's all that is in my head.”
LOU DIBELLA, President of DiBella Entertainment
“Everyone should come out to Coney Island on Sunday afternoon to see what's going to be an incredible day and early evening of boxing. The fights start at 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon and is fully covered, so there will be no weather issue. It's a beautiful new facility with an incredible view.
“This is the first boxing broadcast that will be nationally televised from Coney Island. In my mind we have one of the best young fighters in the world defending his standing against a guy who has had a long and successful career. Both Spence Jr. and Bundu were Olympians and it will be a real test for Errol.
“There's no question Errol is the favorite while Bundu is the underdog, but he's been the underdog before. He knows he has to win and that this could be his last chance on a big stage.
“I've promoted a lot of fighters throughout the years and there wasn't a better fighter from the last Olympic class or this one that is better than Errol Spence Jr. In terms of ability, talent and instincts he's world class. He fights with much more intelligence than his ring age. He's a master of controlling the ring. When I watch this kid fight I'm always blown away.
“On Sunday Spence Jr. is fighting a real professional and he has a chance to prove something on national television. This is a great forum for him to follow the Olympic Gold medal basketball game. The kind of audience that is going to watch the Gold medal game are the kind of people that we need to bring into boxing. I'm proud to promote this show.”
Barclays Center's BROOKLYN BOXING™ programming platform is presented by AARP. PBC on NBC is sponsored by Corona, La Cerveza Mas Fina.
For more information visit www.premierboxingchampions.com and www.nbcsports.com/boxing, follow on Twitter @PremierBoxing,@ErrolSpenceJr, @LouDiBella, @NBCSports, @BarclaysCenter and @Swanson_Comm or become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/PremierBoxingChampions, www.facebook.com/NBCSports, www.Facebook.com/DiBellaEntertainment and www.Facebook.com/barclayscenter. Highlights available at www.youtube.com/premierboxingchampions.