|Jay-Z's Roc Nation Boxing Debut at MSG Tonight… Can’t Knock The Hustle!
By Danny Serratelli for Doghouse Boxing (Jan 9, 2015)
Jay Z - Roc Nation
|Tonight, January 9, 2014, there will be an event up in NYC that should have boxing fans and music fans excited. It will take place at the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, in the Theater. While there are always new boxing promoters popping up here and there, they often only end up doing nothing for the sport but further damaging its reputation and popularity and they often are here today and gone tomorrow. However, the shot callers for the fights tonight are very different from most promoters, especially for a company new to promoting boxing.
Jay Z’s Company Roc Nation will be throwing their hat into the world of Professional Boxing, and boxing fans finally have a reason for a little excitement. People speaking on behalf of Roc Nation have indicated that Jay has been involved in all aspects of the promotion and that he is very serious about this move into boxing. Based on his past determination, success, good friends and the money to be able to handle the early hit any boxing promoter takes on their way up the future for Roc Nation Boxing could be very promising and exciting.
Roc Nation’s first event, “Throne Boxing” is something that many people in boxing are looking forward to. Roc Nation has assembled a great team with COO David Itskowitch , matchmaker, Eric Bottjer and various other professionals. While it remains to be seen how the show will go, it already seems that Roc Nation is light years ahead of where other first time promoters were when they put on their very first show. They have some much sought after television dates set up already with Fox Sports 1, and they just signed their first fighter, Dusty Hernandez Harrison, 24-0-0, 13 KO’s. He is only 20 years old and many in the sport feel he has a bright future.
Dusty will be fighting wily veteran, Tommy “The Razor” Rainone, 22-5-1, 4 KO’s in the main event for the vacant WBC Continental Americas welterweight championship. In a match that most acknowledge is a huge opportunity for both men in the spotlight against the best opponent each of them has fought to date. In the co-feature Tureano Johnson, 17-1-0, 12 KO’s will be fighting Alex Theran, 17-1, 10 KO’s for both the WBC Continental Americas middleweight title and the vacant WBA International middleweight title.
There will be many special invited guests and performances throughout the night and the word on the street is that Roc Nation is all set to impress in their debut.
Jay Z had planned to come out, Big Pimpin when Roc Nation won a purse bid in August at the WBO headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to secure the promotional rights to a mandatory fight between middleweight titleholder Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin and Matt Korobov, even though it does not promote either fighter. Roc Nation Sports bid a whopping $1,904,840 and handily defeated two other bidders.
Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Quillin, bid $1.2 million, and Korobov promoter Top Rank offered $515,000. The minimum bid was $200,000. The purse bid took place because Golden Boy and Top Rank declined to negotiate the fight with each other. At that time “The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoys told ESPN.com “I'm surprised by the offer but glad someone like Jay Z and his team realize the value and opportunities in boxing."
Carl Moretti of Top Rank added: "Congrats to Roc Nation and their team on winning the bid. Top Rank and Matt Korobov will fully cooperate with the terms and any promotional requirements they may ask of us. Jay Z may have '99 Problems,' but apparently purse bids aren't one of them.
Michael Yormark, president and chief of branding and strategy for parent company Roc Nation, was disappointed Quillin turned down the fight. "I've got $1.4 million sitting next to me," Yormark told ESPN.com. "Do you want it? It's puzzling that he turned down $1.4 million and gave up his belt. In order to turn down that money and give up his belt he has to be looking at a bigger opportunity. Who turns $1.4 million and gives up his belt for nothing?
Yormark continued, "We wish him the best of luck. We like Peter a lot. We hope he's made the right decision here, but it's puzzling. I'm sure (Haymon) sat down and discussed this with him in detail. Peter has a team around him he listens to and we can only assume the direction he received was to pass. We wish him the best of luck and we hope he has an incredible payday in front of him because that's the only justification for turning down $1.4 million and giving up his belt."
Roc Nation has also reached out to future star Keith Thurman and potentially the best American heavyweight prospect in a while, Deontay Wilder with very impressive and serious offers but both also rejected. Speculation is that all 3 fighters who are represented by AL Haymon were advised that they shouldn’t sign in a move that appears to be designed to block Roc Nation's entrance into boxing promotion.
The the good thing about JZ is that if he wants it bad enough, he cannot be stopped he can only possibly be contained and delayed. With a huge bankroll, Jay-Z has been looking to make a splash in the sport. Allegedly there is some personal bad blood between Haymon and Jay-Z going back to Haymon's days in the R&B concert promotion business. This can be a good thing, as Haymon and JZ are both smart competitive businessmen with the money and connections to afford to be competitive.
Come out to MSG for an event that will definitely be worth the trip….further details and specifics:
WHAT: Roc Nations Sports’ foray into the world of boxing will officially begin with the debut of throne boxing on Friday, January 9, 2015 from The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1. In the main event, undefeated Dusty “The Beltway Boriqua” Hernandez-Harrison takes on Long Island’s own Tommy “The Razor” Rainone for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Championship. In an intriguing co-featured bout, 2008 Bahamian Olympian Tureano Johnson and Alex “El Principe” Theran of Barranquilla, Colombia will battle it out over 10 rounds for the vacant WBC Silver Middleweight Championship and the vacant WBA International Middleweight Championship. In addition to the great action inside the ring, the January 9 edition of throne boxing will feature several notable Roc Nation touches that will further serve spectators with an enhanced fan experience, including hit master DJ Mustard who will serve alongside notable event emcee and “Voice of New York” Angie Martinez throughout the night with Brooklyn’s own two-time platinum recording artist Fabolous taking the stage between fights for a special performance.
World famous ring announcer Michael Buffer offers his signature voice to this big night of fights while rising Roc Nation artist Justine Skye will perform the National Anthem. Gus Johnson, who has worked many boxing events in the past, will call the blow-by-blow for January 9 bouts telecast on FOX Sports 1, sitting ringside with expert analyst Rich Marotta. The event is sponsored by Budweiser, D’USSE™, GEICO, HUE For Every Man, Jaybird, PUMA, SONIC® Drive-In, TapouT Muscle, Tequila CAZADORES®, TOWN Residential and Wyndham® New Yorker Hotel.
WHO: JAY Z, Rihanna, Fabolous, Angie Martinez, DJ Mustard, Jake Gyllenhaal, Carmelo Anthony, CC Sabathia, Victor Cruz, Geno Smith, Justine Skye, Sam Dew, Santigold, Melanie Fiona, Wardell, Chanel Iman, Michael K. Williams, Rosie Perez, Zab Judah, Bryant Jennings, Paulie Malignaggi, Hasim Rahman, Riddick Bowe, Winky Wright, DJ First Choice & DJ Camilo
WHEN: Friday, January 9, 2015
Doors Open: 6:30 PM ET/First Fight: 6:35 PM ET/Fox Sports 1 Broadcast Begins: 10:00 PM ET.
WHERE: The Theater at Madison Square Garden
4 Pennsylvania Plaza
New York, NY 10001
TICKETS: Tickets priced at $205, $105, $55 and $30, plus any Ticketmaster charges, are available for purchase at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets. One dollar from each ticket sold will be donated to the Muhammad Ali Center.
E-mail Danny at email@example.com and see more of his work at www.brickcityboxing.com
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