Sorry Dana, Boxing Paramount

By Michael Schmidt on May 10, 2012
Sorry Dana, Boxing Paramount
The Paramount dates back to the 1920s when it hosted vaudeville (Ed Diller/Star Boxing)

Boxing is a fringe sport. Boxing is on life support. Boxing is dead. MMA are the toughest guys, the sport for the young guys. So it goes with Dana White…

As I sat in the comfort of my “man cave” last weekend, taking one of those rare occasions to not stuff 40-plus guys and a whole lot of food into it to watch a big fight, I couldn’t help but think, with the help of Champion Cotto and Champion Mayweather that when boxing is good, or great as it was, it is the best damn sport in the world. To that end, I went back to some road trip notes from a month plus past.

NEW YORK CITY, MARCH 26, ANOTHER 48 HOURS        

HOTEL— THOUGHTS OF DANA                              

Boxing is a fringe sport. Boxing is on life support. Boxing is dead. MMA are the toughest guys, the sport for the young guys. So it goes with Dana White, he that used to be a boxing cornerman, Marketing 101 easy as it gets speak easy. Say it, repeat it and repeat it and repeat it, and the average Joe, including his own front man announcer, will start doing the marketing for you. Say it, believe it. Sorry Dana, boxing Paramount this weekend and every other day of the week thanks. That is what I am thinking as I check in at the Clarion Hotel at LaGuardia Airport where the out of town fighters are staying with their corners. As I find my room on the main floor and damn near get run over by a prelim fighter doing hallway roadwork for tomorrow night’s Star Boxing show down the Bronx road in Huntington, New York, Long Island North Shore way, I can’t help but think this Hotel should be an eighth wonder of the world. Pretty good spot but the main floor room hallway is, or would be, a skateboarders delight or in this case a prelim fighters delight. It is about two 200 feet long and slants down ending at the far end perhaps 20 feet lower. Now Dana, his slant on boxing, goes on an even further slope. Time for some reverse marketing speak easy. Hell, Mr. Bob Arum, promoter for the ages but not the aged, should not have all the fun.

The UFC reminds me of the circus that came to town every year when you were a kid. You know the one; the bearded lady, the rollercoaster, candy floss, elephants trunk to trunk…You got all excited to go and afterwards you didn’t miss it for another year. It really wasn’t what you thought it was going to be but, hey, it was some time to spend with Dear Old Dad and a few friends, and something different at that, tacky as it was or as it went. So goes the UFC and its travelling circus show. City to city do they go. The novelty wears thin soon enough with the product of same guys, same old guys, grappling on the floor as the time ticker goes by. Don’t get me started on who does better at the Casino cages on big fight nights or who does who better on pay-per-view hits when Dana’s big draws go against Boxing’s big draws. How about we concentrate on good old-fashioned boxing; home town fight guys. No traveling circus show and all positive and which brings me to Star Boxing, Paramount Theater. Sure it could not possibly be like it was back in the thirties to the fifties with six fight cards a week in the Big Apple and packed arenas of grand yesteryear such as St. Nicks on Monday hosted by Chris Schenkel and presented by Dumont TV, Johnny Addie announcing at “The Rink,” or any of Sunnyside Garden, Eastern Parkway Arena, and Ridgewood Grove.

Dana be damned. You do not deserve any more ink here. Let’s get to gold old-fashioned sweet science. Another 48 hours to fight time. We have a venue, and yes we have a fighter in every sense of the word.

NEW YORK STATE ATHLETIC COMMISSION

Friday afternoon and we are in a big empty room behind the front desk room at the NYSAC offices. Not quite empty. There are stacked chairs here, there and everywhere and office desks, empty here there and everywhere. The fighters are present for their weigh-in and meds. No hot Tecate girls, no mass of fans or photographers. No, this is the usual Boxing business you do not see, drolling right along, taking too much time, and never on time, and never anybody’s particular fault. Cornermen, fighters and commish folks all present. One fighter poses, hands Ali like raised, a big smile, gleaming eyes looking off into the distance, of an empty wall some 30 feet in the back, behind the stacked chairs, big empty cardboard boxes and such. One of the commish staff is seriously looking at the young lad but for me he is simply visualizing his coming gladiator days of glory (I hope). Commish Melvina Lathan comes in, shakes my hand and says hello. I would be remiss to not say that I doubt there is a commish anywhere any place in the world that looks as good in those tight jeans Melvina is wearing this day. Having said that and gotten that out of the way our fighter is slightly underweight—nothing a good drink of water and weighing back in with my heavy Tag watch does not cure. Forget my Rolex this day, this is Tag day. As we leave I can’t help but think that THIS IS BOXING DANA, the boxing you don’t speak easy. You can feel it, breathe it, it gets in your blood. Local fighters, on a local fight card, with local TV. There are thousands of fighters out there in Boxing Land. Go look at BoxRec and work your way down the names.

FIGHT DAY, HUNTINGTON, NEW YORK, PARAMOUNT THEATER

Cornermen, fighters, all waiting in the lobby of the eighth wonder of the world, for the van pick up to gladiatorial arena Paramount. The faces show the strain of what is to come in different ways. A black fighter with headphones cranking away, nodding his head with eyes closed. A Hispanic fighter staring out the lobby window at nothing. His trainer, sitting in the lobby, eyes tight and stressed, one nervous leg slightly bouncing up and down, looks up as I pass. I give him a knuckle to knuckle “handshake” and he smiles, but ever so slightly. Your boxer’s fate tonight, perhaps my boxer’s another evening, so tell his eyes and in fact his eyes do not lie later that evening as his fighter goes down the hardest way, boxing. 

To the Paramount Theater we go, Huntingdon, New York.

Huntingdon, voted one of the best small towns in the U.S. by the National Civic League and home of the likes, one time or another, of Gerry Cooney, Christie Brinkley, Mariah Carey, Bob Costas, Angelina Jolie. Who cares!!!! It also happens to be the stomping grounds of hot prospect, main event, undefeated Chris Algieri. How about this one Dana? No set up fat James Toney, once to the canvas panic time, or too-fat-to-maneuver time. Black belt at age 15, Catholic State Wrestling Champion, former World Kickboxing Champ, Bachelor of Science Honors degree, and one hell of a nice boxer/fighter.

I am told the Paramount Theater dates back to the 1920s when it was a vaudeville theater. It has of course along the way had various reincarnations just as its entertainment of boxing has. Still there, still entertaining, PARAMOUNT, in this case Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing tonight. We are set up with our fighter in the bowels of the Theater, along with all the other participants, fighters, cornermen, refs, commish, etc. Melvina, Arthur Mercante Jr. and a host of others come into the dressing rooms to offer instructions and best of luck. The rooms are right below the stage and the thump of bass music vibrates the basement. Up two flights of stairs, onto the Theater, down a flight of stairs and 20 feet to the ring. This is a three-level venue, perhaps 1200 people jammed in. There is a bar about 100 feet long on each side, standing room three deep. The ring canvas, amongst other sponsors, includes Penthouse, New York. There are about 20 hostesses in slinky but ever so nice cocktail dresses working the room serving drinks and smiles. The crowd: young, old, guys and gals, men and women if you so prefer, some blue-collar dressed all the way, and some wearing the nightclub threads, or in the case of some young women, not many threads. The place is packed Dana. There is cheering, yelling, screaming, the whole gamut. Dead my ass.

It is like the old closed-circuit days. I reminds me of one of Canada’s oldest vaudeville places, Barrymore’s in Ottawa, I don’t know if is there anymore. My brother and I watched Hearns vs. Hagler with a friend at good old Barrymore’s. It was a strip club during the week and Friday and Saturday nights were music acts, mostly rock ‘n’ roll. I worked as a doorman during lunch hours. It helped pay my way through law school. It also got me free admission whenever I wanted. Hard to forget that night and that fight. The fight was one for the ages. The night. Well, I certainly remember telling my brother to hit the deck as somebody yelled “He’s pulled his gun!” three rows behind us. Somebody got shot in the leg. The gunman got his ass kicked by three guys immediately, and the fight viewing went on as if not a beat was missed. This Paramount is much more than that less of Barrymore’s and there is an overabundance of big boy security to ensure everybody has a proper and good time. There is electricity in this perfect place for hometown fighters. One of the girls dressed to be undressed is humming, singing. I inquire of the little jingle, the song that is! “Are you a cornerman?” she asks. “Because my girlfriend and I were just wondering why ya got those rubber glovee things on.” Indeed I did “work the corner.” Rubber gloves indeed. Fabulous fearless Editor. I wish you had been here for this rubber gloved moment. For the record the rubber gloved hottie as she will forever be now monikered tells me she is humming “We the Kings: This is our town..” She hums it apparently every time her boyfriend fights (hopefully she means in the ring scrapping!!). “Cause this is our town. This is who we’re meant to be, this is our town, we’re our roots have grown so deep, all I ask is that you’ll be here when I return” she sings and asks how I like it. “Niccccccce,” I respond. “Sounds like a love song thing.” She tells me that it is. Love song, in love with her boxing boyfriend. Lovely.

THE FIGHTS. MY HOMETOWN BUT NO HOMETOWN DECISIONS.

Well Dana we had it all. Seven great fights. Heavies, small guys, knockouts, slugfests, you name it. The crowd rarely had time to sit down. We had at least four fighters from New York. We had fighters originally from Albania, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and in our particular case, Danny “Silent” Netzer of Tel Aviv, Israel. In the main event hot prospect Algiere stopped his man in the third. The gent we shared a dressing room, “The Hebrew Hammer,” Brooklyn’s own Cletus Seldin scored a body shot for the ages in stopping Marcus Hall in the second. “Silent” Netzer won a barnburner over Steven Tyner, and Dick Tiger lookalike, Ghana’s now Gleason’s undefeated Emmanuel Lartey stopped Carlos Ramos in four. And so it went in a great night of Star Paramount Boxing.

I GOT NEWS FOR YOU DANA

It was not just this night Paramount. On this same night, speaking USA, USA, Boxing, boxing, only; Woodland Hills, California way, and Pomona, and in Illinois, Kansas City, New Town, same town, North Dakota, Hamilton Township, New Joisey, Albuquerque, Bob Foster’s New Mexico, San Antonio, Texas, Tacoma and Ferndale, Washington, boxing, boxing, boxing…No traveling circus to keep the patrons “alive” or on their respirators thank you very much Dana. Spread the news, the Bob Arum way, marketing 101. Alive and kicking, ass, thanks Dana. As good old Dad used to tell the car salesmen he managed when they had trouble closing a deal, “Same old bullshit. Get back out and give the guy a new pitch. Your making my sphincter muscle pucker up.” That’s about it Dana. Find a new pitch and stay out of our boxing pitch as it were. Your song remains the same. It is getting as old as your young, boxing-wise, product thanks. To Mayweather and Cotto thanks from a guy, who for a change quietly sat back, alone but for his faithful mobile home security bodyguard training companion Coyote/Shepherd dog Bronson, and watched the greatest sport in the world. Again and forever.

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  1. Dave 11:54am, 10/05/2014

    Mma is so boring and ugly. No drama to it at all. The fast food of sports.

  2. MIKE SCHMIDT 01:54pm, 05/14/2012

    I think Ryann pretty well hits it in the head—they are apples and oranges and don’t know why one has to try and knock the other- I am sure in some countries perhaps kick boxing is the big thing, in others perhaps some other form of martial arts- they don’t seem to have a need to take a run at boxing ( at least it does not seem that they do). Do I appreciate the athletes such as GSP and Anderson- sure just as I did back in the day Royce Gracie and Benny The Jet. No need to bash boxing- get on with your business

  3. Muhammad 12:43pm, 05/14/2012

    Judging from the penned responses the author Mr Schmidt has been severely challnged in his beliefs and this on a boxing site.

    Whether MMA has or will eclipse boxing is a moot point-truth is nobody knows.
    The one fact we all know is that the Fertitas compounded a $20m investment into an estimated $2B company in 10 years-that is astounding business compounded growth that has left any other sport in the dust growth-wise.
    Somehow i think the UFC has far far loftier goals than eclipsing boxing-in fact boxing is not even relevant to their business model nowadays.

    UFC deals in new markets such as India and China have just been cemented-venues as diverse as Sweden and Peurto Rico have/will see fights with fighters like Felix Trinidad fronting well for the organisation.

    Truth is boxing has not,will not and cares not about expanding their sport as greedy promoters are out for their quick buck.This is Dana’s main beef.

    The difference between boxing and MMA? The brand-the UFC’S branding.Countries are clamouring to get the latest UFC event whilst boxing is led by disparate alphabet soup promotions,belts,etc and rely on individual stars.

    Floyd and Manny are the 2 huge stars and the Klitschkos are all getting very old-theres nothing star power beyond that-certainly some very very good boxers but nothing superstar type status.

    Dana and Lorenzo Fertita are HUGE and unabashed boxing fans-huge-Dana has old boxing pics,promotional material and sparring facilities at his home whilst Lorenzo attended the Tyson/Lewis fight! Even Mike Tyson called these 2 “mad boxing fans”. Dana has many times affirmed his love for boxing as well as being a huge Manny and Late Arturo Gatti fan.His beef is not the sport of boxing but the greedy promoters that have hurt boxing.

    Yes the Klitschkos might draw huge crowds but what happens if they retire?

    MMA fans and fighters have massive respect for boxing and the most popular fighters are boxing or muay thai practitioners.The fighters train with top boxing trainers and modern MMA in some respects amongst the bigger guys is very punching orientated within the wider dynamics of their skillset.Think that MMA guys dont hit hard?-ask trainer Robert Garcia on how hard Cain Velasquez hits (“that f….r hits hard”,“hes strong,very strong”,“he hits so f…..g hard”,“he can make the transition from MMA to boxing”)Cain is not even considered a top 5 puncher in his division yet Garcia was raving about him.

    Both are sports and everyone is entitled to their preference and crystal ball gazing.Sometimes fans tend to get carried away with delusional hyperbole.MMA is here to stay.Thats why sir you lose.

  4. the thresher 08:07am, 05/14/2012

    In certain locales, UFC rules. San Jose, CA for example. But in Boston, it’s not very well known. My point is that the MMA/UFC has great untapped potential while boxing has pretty much covered as much territory as it can.

    Of course, cyber territory is where the future is at.

  5. Ryann Von Doom 10:47pm, 05/11/2012

    Why does it have to be boxing vs MMA? fucking retarded on both ends. Both side’s fanatics are fucking morons. You get the ufc zealots who follow the hype of their strawman god Dana.. then you have the boxing fucktards who think MMA is nothing but brawling and “gay rolling around on the ground.”

    Both sports are amazing and difficult to master. Apples and oranges. Enjoy both sports, ignore the idiots. Simple as that.

    PS Mayweather, just man up and face Manny. 50/50 split of millions is fair. Just do it.

  6. pugknows 01:00pm, 05/11/2012

    Dana is a bit of an a-hole but he odes no marketing

  7. Robert Carney 12:40pm, 05/11/2012

    Not a penny of mine did they get. I will watch tomorrow night for free.
    Try to watch a MMA PPV for free or for that matter a WWE.

  8. mike schmidt 12:25pm, 05/11/2012

    1.5 million buys= 94 million dollars—Mayweather vs. Cotto numbers are in—wow wow wow

  9. Robert Carney 08:23am, 05/11/2012

    I am from Columbia , MD.I went to an original PPV match in a moviie theatre in NYC. Sugar Ray Robinson beat the crap out of Carman Basillio. Cost of the fight and a first run movie was $5.00.

  10. Bobsfriend 05:59am, 05/11/2012

    Where are you from Bob?

  11. Bob 03:10pm, 05/10/2012

    Boxing -best left jab usually wins and is boring with few highlights.
    MMA - don’t blink it may be over from a knee, fist, foot or elbow. On the mat there are a dozen hold that could end it by submitton or knockout.
    I am 82 and boxing outside a doxen boxers is on the way out,
    Check the paid attendance. Boxing is going the way of the traveling circus.
    Also most boxers are part tme, MMA full time.

  12. pmj 03:06pm, 05/10/2012

    Boxing has been around for many years and will continue to be around forever. Not sure why boxing fans respond to any of Dana’s stupid remarks against boxing. All he is doing is pitching UFC and MMA to people that could care less about his sport….. It is a sport right?
    Anyway, for those of you that are not aware of, there are some big nights of boxing coming up…. Stay tuned.

  13. mike schmidt 12:28pm, 05/10/2012

    Sir Robert you, as always, crack me up “pankration 648 BC” fantastic—six hundred forty years before chokehold. As for time will tell—I will be bread upon the water by the time it happens—and it isn’t gonna happen—I hope they both flourish I really do—to each his own as long as they enjoy their entertainment—but taking a run at a sport dating back to Roman empire days—well—I don’t what your tick tock is telling you—enjoy your show—PS I don’t like golf either—but for those who play it or watch it—enjoy yourself—and Oscar don’t hold it against me!!!!!!- Royce Gracie, and most , very most importantly Benny “the Jet” the utmost respect—GREAT ATHLETES GREAT WARRIORS—and I don’t remember those guys ever running at boxing—they did not need to—this version Dana style—not for me my friend. Kimbo Slice, James Toney, WWF big boy- nahhhhhhhhhhh

  14. Jris 12:17pm, 05/10/2012

    Time will tell the real truth my friend.

  15. mike schmidt 09:16am, 05/10/2012

    What “trend” is that. I have been the past two years in Germany, South Korea, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Montreal—fight fans filling arenas—weeks leading up to the fights huge media coverage on radio, TV, newspapers- perhaps a trend in certain areas but overall—like I say—keep on saying it and maybe somebody will believe it. In Germany—for heavy title fight—30 to 50 thousand fans—decline—wow wow wow

  16. Matt McGrain 09:03am, 05/10/2012

    It all depends on your pespective.  Around 2000 there were fewer registered boxers in the 1st world than there were in the UK alone at the beginning of WW2 - that’s a dramatic decline.  Recently things have picked up in terms of attendance as well as registered boxers.  MMA is something of a steamroller of course, and I don’t think anyone is really denying that.  The point of the article seems to be that Dana White goes on about it a bit, and I’d agree with that.

    There’s very obviously room for both.

  17. Jris 07:52am, 05/10/2012

    I believe the article above includes way more ignorance than my post thank you. I’m a boxing fan too but to deny that boxing has been on the decline and MMA is on the incline is absurd. I’m not saying boxing won’t always be around, but if the trend continues it’s just going to get worse.

  18. mikeschmidt 07:44am, 05/10/2012

    Well jris you touch on an interesting point—how come those UFC fans are begging to see the product—boxing fans are not begging—lots of shows to go to and hence my article—GREAT SHOWS—no need to beg—if it is that high in demand expand the product—bring the $$$$$$ grow or die. Why are they begging? How come there are not more shows all over the place??? I don’t get it !!!!!! I am just asking—maybe the business model is going over my head…...

  19. Robert Ecksel 07:38am, 05/10/2012

    They could write about the Pankration, a precursor to MMA that was introduced in the Olympic games in 648 BC. But something tells me that may be a bridge too far.

  20. AKT 07:32am, 05/10/2012

    @Jris: Boxing will be around for always. I agree that the Floyd/Manny fight is huge but there are still a lot of exciting fights to be watched. Last Saturday alone, we saw major fights where everyone brought their best to the table. Huck-Afolabi, Mayweather-Cotto. and there are more on the way. (Keep your ears open). Your comments reflect an incredible amount of ignorance. But that’s ok. TIme will tell which outlasts which. My money though is very firmly on boxing.

    By the way, I hope you realise that there are a 1 or 2 other countries around the world besides America.

  21. mikecasey 07:24am, 05/10/2012

    What do UFC and MMA historians write about?

  22. Jris 07:15am, 05/10/2012

    HAHAHAHAHAHA…BUHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    UFC sells out everywhere it goes. Boxing is going downhill and everyone knows it. Mayweather and Pac Man are keeping it on life support, but what happens after they retire? MMA has plenty of stars like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Jose Aldo, GSP, Junior Dos Santos, the list goes on and on. Not to mention 9 times out of 10 these MMA fighters come to fight. Why would I want to watch Mayweather outpoint a “past his prime” Cotto? Instead of paying for that I enjoyed the UFC fight on FOX for free and enjoyed a great night of fights including an awesome main event between two lightweight contenders in their prime. A circus freak show that no one misses after it leaves town?? Please, I understand you’re a boxing fan but your just being delusional. There are cities all over the country, and the world for that matter, that beg for the UFC to come. Who’s begging to see boxing??? That’s what I thought. MMA is a new sport and it’s already surpassing boxing. Imagine what will happen in 10 years.

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