For decades professional boxing has been promoted by a group of powerful, larger than life men. Bob Arum heads Top Rank, and has been at the helm of boxing since 1965, promoting such iconic fighters as Muhammad Ali and promoting some of the most legendary fights in boxing: Marvin Hagler vs. Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler vs. Tommy Hearns, Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman and Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard. Arum is joined in the quest for boxing supremacy by nemesis Don King, with whom he has had a long running feud, and relative newcomers to promoting, Oscar De La Hoya, who was once promoted by Arum, and Floyd “Money” Mayweather, who also was under Top Rank promotion and like De la Hoya, left Arum on an acrimonious note. Even rap artist 50 Cent is dabbling in the promotional field, with mixed results. Rumors of crime, corruption, bribes and bitter feuds litter the landscape of boxing. It’s a tough business, with no room for sentiment, an industry mostly driven by the men. But boxing has a newcomer in its promotional ranks. 4’8 Nicole Polizzi, better known as “Snooki”, of Jersey Shore fame. Snooki formed “Team Snooki Boxing” with her father Andy Polizzi in 2012. The father daughter duo promoted two events, which had the boxing industry buzzing with curiosity and even downright derision. But Snooki isn’t one to doubt. The feisty starlet has conquered the world of reality television, successfully launched a line of tanning products and sunglasses, and- her proudest achievement, having her son Lorenzo in August. Team Snooki Boxing is definitely a family affair, and an effort for Snooki to spend time with her dad, who is an avid boxing fan, and lend her own expertise to the business.
“Team Snooki Boxing is a project I started with my father, Andy,” she said, and hinted at another busy year in 2013. “We plan to do a lot of events in the future with all of our fighters. “Mainly, she continued, “my father calls the shots in this division because he came up with Team Snooki Boxing. I do my best to let all my fans know , and even people that aren’t fond of me, to check out Team Snooki Boxing,” she said and the pride is evident, “because our fighters are the real deal!”
Currently Snooki and Andy promote brothers Patrick, Paul and Eddie Hyland, of Dublin., Ireland. Patrick, a featherweight, has a record of 27-1, and fought Javier Fortuna December 8 on the opening televised bout of Manny Pacquiao/Juan Manuel Marquez 4.
Pacquaio/Marquez 4 was Snooki’s Las Vegas boxing debut, and although Hyland suffered his first professional loss, Snooki was ringside in a sea of celebrities, including Mitt Romney. The evening had a dramatic ending, with Marquez stopping Pacquiao in a huge boxing upset, but Snooki’s mind was firmly on the family business. “I didn’t really feel like a ‘celebrity’ at the event because I had so many family and friends there. It felt very down to earth and it was amazing to be with my father and I was so proud of the event,” she said, and acknowledged the magnitude of her second promotional outing, “It was amazing to be at that event, especially being a part of it with our fighter Patrick Hyland on the card. Even though he didn’t win, he did an amazing job, and we are all thankful for having been a part of that event.”
Snooki’s outlook on boxing is optimistic and her philosophy is simple but sound- motivation and dedication. “It has to do with dedication, and motivation,” she said, “within your team, and with the fighters. I admire the dedication that all the fighters put into the sport of boxing, and I think if more people noticed that, boxing should come alive again.” To make sure people continue to sit up and take notice of her boxers, Snooki and Andy are open to fighters that long for the chance to fight. They are also working with a few female MMA fighters and would definitely consider having women fighters on their cards.
2012 provided Team Snooki Boxing with some valuable experience and a lot to look forward to in the future. But even early in her promotional career, Snooki has her definite likes and dislikes about boxing. “My favorite thing about this sport is how dedicated everyone is. I LOVE the dedication,” she said with her trademark spunk and enthusiasm, and revealed a newer side of Snooki as she contemplated her least favorite part of boxing: “The least favorite thing, is the anxiety and nervousness I get when I watch my fighters fight. I’m such a mom..”
Author’s Note: as someone who got the love of boxing from her father, I applaud Snooki’s efforts. Her presence in the sport will bring new people to boxing- an entire generation of pop culture fans, and the audiences of any fighters she adds to her team. Will Snooki log five decades in boxing like Bob Arum? Outlast 50 Cent as a promoter? Only time will tell, but cheers to Snooki for braving a harsh industry armed with the strength of her personality and the invincible feeling of being daddy’s little girl. It gives us all confidence, inside and outside the ropes.