The Truest Promoting
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (Feb 1, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing

This Saturday night, professional boxing returns to the Maywood Activity Center in Maywood, California, with another edition of “Top Rank Live,” featuring Francisco Sierra-Dyah Davis in the main event. The show is under the auspices of Top Rank but the nuts and bolts of this show are being handled by local promoter, Ray Alcorta, who ran a series of shows at this venue in the early-to-mid-2000s.

After printing up 10,000 posters and fliers, Alcorta hit the road to spread the word.

"Yesterday and today, we probably drove about 3-to-400 miles. I have a hybrid and I went through a tank of gas," Alcorta said last week. Over the weekend, he put in a few more miles on the odometer, going out to all the gyms within the surrounding areas of Maywood and passing out his promotional materials.

What you see at the HBO and Showtime level is oftentimes really just television packaging, casino brokering, or a combination of both. But it's at the local club level, where the truest definition of promoting takes place.

"Absolutely," said Alcorta. "When you're dealing with HBO or any other networks like that, they're giving you a license fee right off the bat. So it's pretty much like being a spoiled rich kid, where you're going to get X-amount of dollars from them without having to worry about how many people are going to show up to the venue, how many people are going to watch the event. When you do a local show like this one where you're depending on local ticket sellers, where you have to put the word out, the only one responsible for getting that money, creating that revenue, is you yourself.

"So you have to put in that extra effort to make sure people are in there. If there's nobody in there to see it, someone's going to lose a lot of money."

The license fee from Fox Sports (which will be televising this show) is just a fraction of what the major premium cable networks dole out. Even then, Alcorta points out, "That goes to Top Rank but the license fees they get from that, it's just a starting point. These shows for Top Rank, it's like their farm system. It's where they're able to showcase their fighters and their talent from the grassroots up. They're not ready for HBO or Showtime or anybody else yet but this is a way to get exposure they otherwise wouldn't be able to get. But the license fee of these shows doesn't cover the cost of a complete show. So you have to really go out there, sell tickets and create stars. It starts from here."

While Alcorta is running the promotion, it's still a Top Rank event.

"Top Rank is based in Las Vegas, so for them to be able to come out and send a staff out here to do the shows at a local level where they really don't know the area, the community. They need someone local to be able to help out and that's where people like myself come in," he explained. "Where you know the local people, the local fighters, local businesses, where you can go out there and put posters and fliers and get the word out there that the event is going to be out in the local area. It relieves a lot of stress to Top Rank."

There are lot of guys like Alcorta who could absolutely do the job done by some of the supposed “major” promoters and create a show with a hefty network subsidy, while sitting at ringside with their credentials on the camera-side of the ring on fight night. It's doubtful if many of them do what local promoters do on a regular basis on their own, with the pressure to put asses in seats, run the concessions and procure sponsors. Alcorta says, "I used to promote myself with television, so when you're doing that, you're doing everything from the ground up. I mean, you're reserving the ambulance, getting the insurance, to the hotel rooms- and that's a big part since Top Rank does their own production, so they're looking at 40, 50 rooms. But with Top Rank, they have a staff for every department. They have people that will just deal with the travel and hotel; they have people that will just deal with the matches. Top Rank really is a first-class company, where you get help with all that. It relieves a lot of the work for me and relieves the stress of having to deal with everything. Even though I am dealing at the local level, there's always someone I can turn to, to help out with the company."

On his end of the show, Alcorta has made sure that he has local fighters who can move tickets, like Jose Roman, Oscar Meza and Arman Ovsepyan. The success of this show will have a large say in determining how many shows Top Rank will stage in the “Golden State” in the near future.

"Bob [Arum] does understand that the West Coast and California is the place where you've got to market because you got a large Hispanic/Latin community here who buy pay-per-views. It's a big market for Top Rank. I think one of the biggest markets and there's a lot of talent here, we have a lot of gyms," said Alcorta. "So it's their first show coming back outside of the Honda Center (Dec. 4th, 2010), in the past, we've done Telefutura, ‘ShoBox’ and TV Aztec shows out here.

"But this show is important because you've got to give Bob a reason to come back. You want the fans to come out and you want to give Top Rank a reason to come back to California."


Tickets are priced at $35, $50 and $75 and can be purchased by calling 323-595-3662 or 562-205-6270. The Maywood Activity Center is located at 4801 E. 58th Street in the city of Maywood. Doors open at 3:30 PM, with first bell at 4:15.


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