The perception of North Carolina boxing is downright awful if not embarrassing. Mention the words North Carolina boxing to anyone outside of the tar heel state, and the negative responses vary between padded records, easy wins, a joke, uncommitted, and trash. Well, the wind of change is blowing, and Thursday Night Fights presented by Raging Babe represents a positive shift in the North Carolina Boxing culture.
The North Carolina sports scene is driven by college sports. Whether it is basketball or football, the media and fans are laser focused on their teams. Goodness forbid a winning team exist, because all of the water cooler talk, flag flying, newspaper, radio, and internet attention is focused on a winning college team. There is No shame or negative tag being placed on this attitude. It is a grand, acceptable culture. The great college fans of the state have shown flexibility to pro sports. If you build a winner, they will come with passion. When the Carolina Panthers win, fans come out in droves to support them. When the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006, the state was Hurricane crazy (Hell, I was at game 7). The same will be for the Charlotte Hornets, if and when they begin to win. The key is North Carolina sport’s fans love winners, and to this point, no one has built a winning boxing product in North Carolina, yet!
All due respect to the promoters, fighters, managers, and supporters who have paved the way and previously attempted to do something positive in the North Carolina boxing scene. Some where along the way each has positively touched the sport, but ultimately, all have failed. Promoters need long pockets, must be committed to all fighters and not just a preferred individual, be a good business person, and committed to the sport. Fighters need to stop making excuses, dedicate themselves to becoming good boxing technicians, choose managers (Not friends) who can truly guide their career, and when calling themselves pros, do professional things like attending press conferences, media calls, appearances or anything set up to further their professional career. This is no Bull Shit! When Ali passed, I fielded multiple calls and received emails from the media looking for a local, professional, Triangle fighter willing to go on TV, radio, or internet to provide a quote about Ali and his passing. Not one fighter from Durham to Raleigh was willing. NOT ONE! Also, there are thousands of fighters in other cities, who work a full time job, yet, they call themselves a pro and still get their full time training in. No fighter is perfect, but real pro fighters find a way until they get their break, and that’s a fact. I digress. Managers need to have great business sense, be willing to make their client’s needs top priority, and truly know the game of boxing not fake represent what and who they know. Oh, yeah. It does help if the manager has a bank account above one thousand dollars and a credit card with a positive balance greater than one thousand. Yep, you might actually have to help client in an emergency situation. None of this matters if the community does not support boxing. There are many out there willing to support a positive boxing movement. Promoters, fighters, and managers need to give potential supporters something to follow.
Thursday Night Fights presented by Raging Babe on paper provides a finish to a base previously started by promoters like Paul Marinaccio, Dave Moore, Walter Johnson, and Tony Meeks. All wanted North Carolina fighters in the best fights, but none was able to pull it together. Marinaccio, who was part of the largest boxing event ever in North Carolina, Dave Moore, who had the most potential of all the promoters, Johnson, who is a consistent club show maker, and Meeks, who had the momentum and the attention of the boxing world somehow were unable to do what Raging Babe Michelle Rosado and Hall of Fame match maker Russell Peltz have pulled together October 19th at the Durham Armory in Durham, NC. Rosado and Peltz have magically convinced some of the best, young fighters in North Carolina to not only fight on their card, but to fight each other.
Marko “The Bull City Bully” Bailey 5-0 (3 KO’s) faces Steve “The Answer” Massey 4-1 (4 KO’s) in a Main event and state rivalry as nasty as Duke/Carolina basketball. In the Co-Main event, two undefeated fighters Monrico Goldston 5-0 (3 KO’s) of Durham will battle Joseph Jackson 8-0 (6 KO’s) of Greensboro in a personal war that has the feel of a NC State/UNC football game. Carlos Olmeda 2-0 (2 KO’s) faces Vinnie Denierio 2-2 (1 KO), a fighter Marko Bailey had to fight to the death 2x, all because Olmeda has a personal grudge with Bailey. Bailey took some liberties humiliating Olmeda in a sparring session, and Olmeda has not let go. Olmeda promises to do to Denierio what Bailey couldn’t. Stop Denierio. Arguably, the two most talented fighters in North Carolina “Dangerous” Donnie Marshall 5-0 (4 KO’s) and Blake “KO King” Mansfield 4-1 (2 KO’s) are also on the card. While Marshall is facing proven veteran Marcos Primera 20-35 (13 KO’s) and Mansfield, after a six month layoff, faces Courtney McCleave 2-7 ( 1 KO), both vow they will eventually fight each other.
Thursday Night Fights also features undefeated Heavyweights Darmani Rock 8-0 (5 KO’s), Hasim Rahman Jr. 2-0 ( 2 KO’s), undefeated Middleweight Landry Kore 6-0 (2 KO’s) of Denmark, and undefeated, Super Lightweight sensation Wellington Romero 12-0-1 (6 KO’s). But, this card is all about North Carolina and Raging Babe’s last laugh vendetta. It looks like the concrete is being poured, bodies are being buried, and Michelle Rosado will be the last woman standing as North Carolina Boxing shifts to national prominence.