ROC Bottom

By William Trillo

As defined by “Rock Bottom”: A state of being wherein you feel as if you cannot sink any lower emotionally, psychologically, or physically.

As I walked into The Event Center at The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Saturday night to cover the ROC NATION promoted Ward vs. Kovalev rematch the only palpable buzz surrounding the event came from the busloads of EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) attendees who were busy doing whatever it is they do at their event.

Outside of that there was not enough electricity coming from the event to charge a cell phone. That should have come as no surprise to me or anyone else as the weigh-in for the fight just the day before produced maybe a handful of interested fans.

Considering this was a highly anticipated rematch between two legitimate Top 10 Pound4Pound contenders it seemed odd a fight like this could fly so far under the radar. Only a few months earlier the fight promoted by Main Events produced a whole heck of a lot more interest.

ROC NATION took the reigns as lead promoter for this event Saturday night and for all intents and purposes it looked like they were driving this one right off a cliff.

Maybe things would get better once I got inside the arena.

They didn’t.

As I walked into the media room the first person I saw was our ace reporter Daniel Cloutier sitting at a table watching the fights on the media room TV. Cloutier informed me that his seat in the arena was all the way up at the top of the Event Center, visibility was negligible at best. This is how ROC NATION treated one of boxing’s best and longtime reporters. Cloutier flew in on Sunday from Montreal to cover the event and was one of the few whom covered all the events during fight week. His thanks from ROC NATION was the nose bleed seats. To add insult to injury was the fact that ROC NATION handed out premium media passes in mass quantities to their posse and their women, none of whom had any intention of reporting.

Apparently, their main reason for being there was to cheer for their fighter from media row, (highly frowned upon), and jeer and laugh at anyone who they deemed enemies. It was deplorable but it looked like ROC NATION not only approved but were joining in on the less than professional outbursts. Hear me loud and clear, whether you are a media member or not, cheering for your guy from media row is as bad as it gets. The media area was a circus. I am surprised any legitimate and working media member was able to get anything accomplished at all.

And hey, thanks for that awesome spread for dinner. Who did you have cater this affair? The Las Vegas County Jail Commissary? I am still trying to decide if those were burger patties or hockey pucks.

As to the show itself, when the PPV broadcast started the chirping of crickets and a smattering of fans was all those who were watching the broadcast could hear and see. The announced attendance was 10,592 but I am told by a reliable source that officially ticket sales barely broke the 1,000 mark. The remaining 9,000 who showed up moments before the main event were there courtesy of ROC NATION papering the house. I can’t wait to see the amount of PPV buys this dog generated.

The post fight press conference was abysmal. Jeers and laughter directed at Main Events came from those credentialed posse members who had no business being in attendance. And let me ask you this. When Kovalev’s manager Egis Klimis took the microphone why was it okay to mock his Eastern European accent out loud and poke fun at him? Had the shoe been on the other foot would it have been okay to run with some uneducated ghetto smack? I think not. I am sure anyone who attempted that would have been drug out of the room by his heels. Reverse racism is just as bad as claiming racism where it doesn’t exist at all, maybe worse. That is not opinion…that’s fact!

What is also fact is that this was as poorly orchestrated a promotion from top to bottom that has blown through Sin City in years.

There, I had to get that off my chest.

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9 Responses to “ROC Bottom”

  1. David McGarry says:

    I don’t doubt anything you wrote, and I even saw some of the media row antics on TV, but you give the impression you’re complaining about free food and that’s also a no no.

    • William says:

      I felt the need to throw in a little levity in this article that was more about firing some serious buckshot at the promoter and his posse than it was about the chow line. I have been covering the sport for 15 years now, with all due respect, the last thing I need is an arm chair cornerman like yourself to tell me what is a no no. If they serve Mok huak,(made of developing tad poles and fermented fish), in the media rooms in your home please feel free to comment accordingly. The fact that you saw the wannabe’s dancing like morons in media row from your television set tells me all I need to know. My article was nails. 🙂
      PS…They actually get PPV in that land that time forgot you reside in? It’s really a miracle what one can do with clothes hangers and tin foil these days.

  2. William says:

    Douglass Fischer Retweeted
    Michael Montero‏ @MonteroOnBoxing Jun 19
    If u call yourself media & ur cheering/heckling in press row or at a post fight presser, ur pathetic.
    #WardKovalev2 #MonteroOnBoxing #boxing

  3. David McGarry says:

    We’ve been getting PPV broadcasts in Thailand since at least 1987. The only difference is over here we don’t have to pay to view as it’s live on free TV (or sometimes on cable). The trade off is putting up with lots of commercials if it’s on free TV. Also, Saturday night in America is Sunday morning in Southeast Asia.

  4. David McGarry says:

    This Youtube interview with Britain’s leading promoter includes quite a lot about the promotion of that fight etc.

  5. Charles Presnell says:

    The sad thing is that Kovalov’s purse was based on how much the fight generated. Since this fight most likely did not generate a lot of revenue, he will get paid peanuts. I thought Ward was on his way to winning, but don’t give Ward the victory via testicle knockout.

    Nevada State Athletic Commission looked like amateur hour last week, from approving that circus with Mayweather to the Rigondeaux disaster to the testicle knockout.