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Kathy Duva Fantasizes a Reality

BY Brian Adams ON May 08, 2005
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Normally I contact individuals with whom I have close relations. But in this article I went to a person with whom I am friendly, but who is someone I also respect. I was able to get the CEO of Main Events (thanks to Jolene Mizzone and Bubba Moretti) to compile an article in her own words. It was a pleasure, because the deals that have been made the past couple of years by Kathy have proven that she has a vision of the sport, and that she’s trying to make that vision a reality. This is what she had to say.

I have been in and around the sport since 1977 when I remember us hosting an amateur boxing event. I started as a publicist for my late husband Dan Duva. The first mega-fight I was involved in was Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. In 1994 Dan passed away and it was a rough time for me personally. It would get even more intimidating when Gary Shaw left the company. That’s when it really hit home that I had to step up and actually run the operations of the company.

But being a female in a male-dominated sport, there are things that are both good and bad for me. The one thing is that I never have to pay for a meal. The check from business lunches or dinners never comes my way. Seriously, it’s not hard at all because of my boxing background. All the boxers treat me with a great deal of respect. I have some problems at times with a few male executives, but it’s not that bad. I do think it is not easy for women in the working world in general. One of the main reasons why I feel boxers are so respectful and nice is due to the fact that they are secure with their manhood. Nothing was ever given to any boxer that I’ve ever known. They’ve accomplished everything on their own.

Learning how to separate my emotional feelings from my business side was and is not easy and took a lot of time to do. When it’s time for one of my clients to step up the level of competition, it becomes hard and emotions can at times get in the way. But in the end it’s a business decision and I try to get them to understand that everything is an opportunity. I don’t think that the first time a boxer encounters or has to solve a problem it should be in a world title bout.

Competitive bouts come with the business. It’s hard on me to watch a boxer lose and have that disappointed look on his face, but it is part of the game. Besides, if everyone won every bout, then it wouldn’t be any fun to watch. When it’s competitive and he loses then it can’t be that disappointing. Look at Fernando Vargas and Arturo Gatti. They both have losses, but they are bigger now than when they were undefeated. They are examples that a loss is not the end of the world.

My company recently staged a promotional event on ESPN Pay-Per-View and it was a success. Our goal was to reach out to the younger audience, and the numbers that came in show that we succeeded. There were 150,000 buys, much more than we projected. That proved that through marketing you can put guys on TV who do not have that household name and they will be accepted.

Obviously it was not Kermit Cintron’s night, but he has to put that behind him and move forward, just figure out what went wrong and make the proper corrections. There is a saying that goes: What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger. Everything happens for a reason, so Kermit will have to rebuild off his first loss.

To see a tremendously nice man like Calvin Brock succeed was just fantastic. He fought a perfect fight and I was truly impressed. Not shocked, but impressed. He showed that championship nature. Most of the great fighters get knocked down, but Calvin proved what he was made of when he got up. He was actually mad at himself for getting caught with that punch. But he rose from that canvas fighting and that shows a lot. There is no doubt that he will be ready for the title when his time comes.

We have plans and are moving ahead. Arturo Gatti will be ready for Floyd Mayweather in June. Fernando Vargas will be back in August. We are working on securing Rocky Juarez a title shot, and waiting to reschedule Juan Diaz. I am speaking with ESPN right now about getting Calvin back on this summer. Things are looking bright for all those involved with my company. If I can fantasize a little here: all my clients will be world champions at the end of 2006.

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