For a fan, catching a live boxing match on the tube is as easy as checking local listings and clicking a few buttons on a remote control. Scheduling, promoting, and hosting a boxing event on the other hand, is not that simple.
Ron Katz, legendary matchmaker for Star Boxing, has been hand-picking athletes and organizing the subsequent punching of their respective faces and bodies for over 35 years. That’s a tough task to accomplish once, let alone countless times over nearly four decades.
His resume, which features events with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, and Tommy Hearns, reads like an itinerary of a self-led tour at the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
His current lineup at Star Boxing includes up and coming prospect, Demetrius Andrade, who is graduating to Showtime’s SHOBOX series after a successful run on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. Andrade is being matched up against a tough Freddy Hernandez by Katz on January 25th, 2013.
In a recent appearance on ThaBoxingVoice Radio show, Katz could not hide his excitement about Andrade’s rising stock but knows that there’s a process that must be followed as a young prospect’s career is groomed. “I’m always thinking ahead but in my 35 years in the sport, I’ve learned to never put the cart in front of the horse,” says Katz when asked about Andrade’s future.
Freddy Hernandez is no slouch, and the camp acknowledges that the focus is solely on him at this time, but with Andrade’s likeability and fan-friendly style, it’s difficult to not look past January 25th.
When asked to share some of those thoughts regarding Andrade’s future, Katz responded with “We’ll fight anyone: Lara, Kirkland, K9.”
Sharing a trainer, in Virgil Hunter, with Alfredo Angulo eliminates at least one top contender at 154 from the list, but in a very deep weight class, the possibilities are seemingly endless, assuming Andrade gets past Hernandez next month.
It’s the biggest event currently on Star Boxing’s calendar and while there is some obvious excitement about the future, Katz is too seasoned to put all of his eggs in one basket.
“You have Golden Boy and Top Rank and then you have everyone else [so] I go out on the street with a sign that says ‘Great Fighters Wanted’,” jokes Katz when asked about the difficulty in securing matches and fighters for Star Boxing.
In a more serious tone that exudes the confidence of a man that knows a thing or two about discovering talent he then says, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” as the topic turns to fighter Austin Trout, who beat his own Delvin Rodriguez to win the WBA World light middleweight title in June of 2012. Trout was passed up by Top Rank before turning into one of boxing’s biggest success stories of 2012.
The January 25th event between Demetrius Andrade and Freddy Hernandez will be added to a very long list of bouts for which Ron Katz has been responsible. His positive demeanor and good humor serves as great contrast for the seriousness with which he approaches his craft.
With Katz the matchmaker, it seems that no one thing is done at the expense of another. A fighter’s health is not to be compromised for the sake of putting on a flashy event, nor will a fighter’s career be derailed due to promotional politics.
A matchmaker’s job is one of the most difficult and thankless jobs in the world of boxing. Even in his fourth decade working behind the scenes, Katz’s respect for his vocation is apparent and speaks volumes about his love for the sport his commitment to its future.