If you believe one of boxing’s oldest adages (and we’re talking boxing, so this is an old adage), then you believe that styles make fights. In other words, tossing two star fighters into a ring may generate a ton of buzz, but it doesn’t guarantee an entertaining match. Two fighters with disparate styles, however, can make for the type of magical bout that has cigar-puffing ringside lifers waxing poetic decades later.
Big Knockout Boxing is taking this old idea and basing its entire company on it.
BKB will stage its second live event April 4 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, hoping to draw fans with the promise of exciting fights and, well, big knockouts. With shorter matches (fights consist of seven two-minute rounds) and a smaller ring (battles take place in “The Pit,” a small circle 17 feet in diameter, with no ropes), the idea is for bouts to be short, action-packed and brutal.
The promotion’s first card was staged in August at the Events Center, and although BKB officials declined to disclose live gate or pay-per-view numbers, it apparently generated enough momentum to produce a follow-up card. It also created enough buzz to attract some star power: Former welterweight champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley is the trainer for Curtis Stevens, who will challenge Gabriel Rosado in the BKB championship main event.
“I had heard of the promotion and talked with one of the fighters who entered ‘The Pit,’ so I knew a little bit about it,” Mosley says. “I thought it was interesting. It definitely has an excitement level.”
That excitement comes not from the fighters themselves, but from the fighting style that BKB’s format demands. With less room to maneuver and shorter rounds, fighters are left with little option but to slug it out toe-to-toe. So it really matters little that Rosado, BKB’s middleweight champ, lost his last four traditional boxing matches. Because the 29-year-old is more than willing to spend 14 minutes in a phone booth throwing haymakers, he’s a perfect fit for BKB.
“The fact that you have to fight at a fast pace and be active, nonstop,” Rosado says, “it’s brought the best out of me.”
Rosado also understands the fan appeal that comes from watching fighters throw constant knockout shots. “Most fans these days are not patient enough to watch a 12-round fight, where guys are [just] boxing,” he said. “With ‘The Pit,’ most of the [BKB bouts] end in a knockout.”
And in case there wasn’t enough incentive for the fighters to go all-out, BKB is offering a $30,000 knockout bonus for the title fight. That may not be enough to drag Mosley out of retirement, but he definitely can identify with fighters who are drawn to BKB. “My style was aggressive. I was attacking,” he says. “Even when I was boxing, I was trying to knock you out, so this style would have favored me. And both fighters have that mindset. I expect this to be a big event.”
Tickets to the April 4 BKB event are $28-$253; Ticketmaster.com.