While attending Pace University in New York in the mid-nineties, Donald Tremblay, who earned a degree in English, dreamed of a career as a writer. Although he had always been a bit of a sports fanatic, it was the written word that really got his juices flowing.
He was a voracious reader who was equally comfortable digesting Leo Tolstoy or a lurid true crime saga. It was while taking a class called Feature Writing for Television that the foundation for his future was laid.
“The professor was also a producer for CBS Sports, and he did their nightly news program,” said Tremblay, who is now 37 and the Director of Public Relations for the New Jersey-based promotional outfit Main Events, which is headed by Kathy Duva. Carl Moretti is the firm’s vice president and director of boxing.
“We hit it off right away because we had the same interests. We both loved sports, particularly boxing.”
In order to help expose Tremblay to the world he hoped to immerse himself in, the professor invited him to a press conference involving Teddy Atlas and the Everlast corporation. The occasion was the announcement of a charitable endeavor called the Power of One.
Tremblay met Mike Boorman, who was then handling publicity for Main Events, at the function. Because they had so much in common—especially their New York roots—they hit it off right away.
Boorman had Tremblay give him his resume and told him he would circulate it around his contacts in the sporting community. After three months, nothing happened and Tremblay was getting nervous. He had interviewed for other jobs, but nothing was coming his way.
“One day I got a call from Mike, who said he needed an assistant,” said Tremblay. “I worked alongside him for two years and really learned a lot. When he left the PR field to go into the teaching profession, I took over his job.”
When asked how he handles the scores of colorful and often roguish figures who comprise the fight game, Tremblay laughed heartily.
“I was born and raised in New York,” he said. “I went to public school my whole life, so I got to know, or at least observe, plenty of characters. Being a New York kid prepares you for anything.”
Tremblay is extremely happy to be doing what he is doing. Not only does he get to write lots of press releases, he writes and edits a newsletter, all of which is done with the express purpose of generating media interest in Main Events fighters.
“I love coming up with angles and trying to find an additional hook for a story besides boxing,” he said.
Main Events currently promotes 12 fighters. They range from bonafide superstars Arturo Gatti and Fernando Vargas, to fledgling superstars Calvin Brock, Juan Diaz, and Joel Julio, to seemingly can’t-miss prospects Jason Litzau, Malik Scott, Henry Crawford, B.J. Flores, Raoul Martinez, Giovanni Lorenzo, and Archak Termeliksetian.
“Most fighters are a pleasure to deal with,” said Tremblay. “But once they move up the food chain, sometimes you have to get in line to get their attention. The most difficult thing is dealing with entourages. That can be very challenging.”
In Gatti’s case the problem lies not with entourages, but with the naturally shy fighter’s aversion to attention. It is well known in the boxing world that Gatti, although extremely affable, genuinely dislikes attending press conferences and making public appearances.
“The ironic thing is that Arturo is so good at them,” said Tremblay. “But he’s a naturally shy guy who doesn’t like to draw attention to himself outside of the ring. Sometimes it can be like pulling teeth to get him to do something. Thankfully he’s so popular, his fights promote themselves.”
Tremblay recently helped put together a marketing proposal and sponsorship plan that put Gatti and his friendly nemesis, Micky Ward, on the cover of the enormously popular Fight Night, Round 3 video game.
With Julio and Martinez scheduled to fight on ShoBox in Cicero, Illinois, on January 6, 2006, and Gatti boxing Thomas Damgaard later that month in Atlantic City, Tremblay’s publicity machine is in overdrive.
He is constantly working the phones and scouring the Internet to drum up publicity for those, and other, fighters. When handling major events, as well as international conference calls, he utilizes what he calls the “invaluable” services of Ed Keenan and his New Jersey-based Event Marketing and Communications public relations firm.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way things worked out,” said Tremblay, who resides in Brooklyn with his wife and two children. “I get to write all I want, be as creative as I can be, and meet lots of interesting people. What’s not to love about my job?”