By Boxing Bob Newman
New York State’s capital district is rich in up and coming boxing talent with fighter’s like Nagy Aguilera, Mike Faragon, Brian Miller and former contenders Shannon Miller and Tony Marshall. While there have been several shows in the region over the last few years, it seems a steady schedule of cards to whet the appetite of fight fans in the upstate region is on the horizon. Adam Neary of the newest boxing promotional outfit in the game- the aptly named Ares Promotions (after the Greek God of war), is looking to make that a reality. Neary took time to talk with Fightnews about his entry into the fight game, and plans for the future of boxing in Upstate, New York…
Adam, you’re a graduate of Hobart College. I understand you played lacrosse there. What did you major in?
I did go to Hobart in Geneva, New York. I played lacrosse and soccer there. I majored in Economics and minored in Statistics.
You’re a financial planner now?
Yes. I interned with the Merrill Lynches and the Smith Barneys. As soon as I graduated I had a job lined up in the independent channel and I’m an independent financial advisor in the Albany area.
How in the world did you get the idea to get involved in boxing, and as a promoter no less?
I was working out with this gentleman doing the P90X workouts to keep fit, but because I didn’t want to do the Summer leagues any more, I kind of lost the competitive edge. In 2007 I started doing these boxing workouts and started to build a rapport the trainers, managers and even some fighters. I related to the fighters especially because of my competitive nature. Over the course of two years, I realized these kids are trying to earn a living boxing and it’s difficult. They work all day so they can generate income, and train all night. Then they end up fighting out of their hometown in the capital district. So one of the trainers approached me and said, “If you’re interested, see if you can get some of your buddies together, form a group…” and originally we were thinking of forming a syndication where we back a lot of the fighters, pay them a stipend, that way they can just train all day. We realized there was a lot of risk there and decided to do something we’re better at and that was promotion. We talked about it for about six months, got the right people together and took a shot at it. I think we’ve had some pretty good success. We’re all very excited about moving forward. We want to do four to six shows a year in our local market. We realized now that there are more fighters today in the Albany area than there have ever been and there’s no shows going on at a local level. There’s one, two, maybe three a year. So we found an opportunity to create a market place, help local fighters get fights in their hometowns and not travel and be the underdog. It’s catching on.
Do you have a relationship other area promoters like Lisa Elovich’s Pugnacious Promotions?
A relationship…yes. Our relationship was exchanging information. We’re supporting what they do, and I hope they support what we’re doing. There’s a gentleman down in Poughkeepsie named Brian Burke. We’ve started to build a rapport with him. We’re trying to keep all these options open so that if they have a fighter who needs a spot on a local card, or vis versa, we can continue to support our local fighters. We’re forming a relationship with Dave Escalet who’s been doing shows at out at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona. We figure the better relationships we can forge with local promoters, putting our egos aside; the better it’ll be for the local fighters.
Speaking of local fighters, do you have any written exclusive contracts with the fighters on your shows or are you working with handshake deals.
We have several exclusive contracts, we’re signing another one on Thursday, and we have a bunch of handshake deals. What we’re looking to do with the handshake deals is to get those on paper and ink those deals because I think it protects both parties. Once we have a commitment from a fighter, it helps us do everything possible to help them succeed, to protect those fighters, get the right fights. That’s what a lot of the fighters in the local area want- that they don’t have to deal with a bunch of promoters, that they have X amount of fights a year and someone’s looking after their best interests. I think it’s gonna work out well.
Was the 9/11 show your first show?
It was, it was our maiden voyage.
You’ve said that Ares promotions wants to do more than just a boxing show- they want lights, music, a total night of entertainment.
That’s true. Before we jumped into this, we spent some money on research and development. A lot of that was going to shows in Canada, Las Vegas, Atlantic City as well as a lot of club shows in Philadelphia, Long Island. We really tested the market place and took ideas that we liked and things that we could improve upon from shows we’ve seen. We’ve seen everything from the three hundred fan shows to the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto card in Vegas to the Yankee Stadium show. We kind of decided that boxing fans are gonna come out and support boxing because they love the sport. What we also wanna do is raise awareness. One of the things we’re gonna continue to improve on is- the WWE, no matter what city they go to in America- they sell out. There are little kids, big kids, women, men. It’s a very diverse crowd. Though it’s not real, it’s entertaining. People enjoy it and it’s hard to beat that type of business plan. We’re gonna take pieces from that and families can come out, maybe people that aren’t interested in boxing can check it out. We want to raise the awareness so there isn’t just 500 to 800 boxing fans coming to these events.
You’ve added recently retired heavyweight contender Shannon Miller to the Ares Promotions team. The Miller name is well known in Upstate New York boxing circles. What role do you see Shannon filling and what does Shannon bring to Ares promotions?
His role is a little undefined as we speak because we just inked the deal this week. But where we see his role is this… what a lot of people don’t know is Shannon spent 15 years in the financial sector with groups like Merrill Lynch and others, and he was also an independent financial advisor, so he’s got a very good business sense. We can take his business sense and his history in boxing to relate to the fighters. We met with a fighter very recently and I think they were very comfortable knowing that when he said, “This is one of the things you need to do and you should consider this,” they have a lot more respect in my opinion for him because he’s been there, he’s one that. Where as if I tell somebody, “Hey, you need to spar more, do this or that,” when I’ve never been hit in the face with a boxing glove inside of a ring. I think it lends credibility to the fighters by having Shannon with us, when we try to get media for a weigh in, or media gathering two weeks before a fight. When he calls a sports desk in the capital region, they know who he is. When we tried that before the first show, we got, “Well we don’t know who you are,” etc. I think it’s gonna open up doors and awareness. A lot of people like him. He’s very good at greeting the public, saying the right things, so we’re very excited.
Talk a little bit about the upcoming November 13th show. I know the headliner is the rescheduled New York State Super Middleweight title fight between champion Lennox Allen and Nick Brinson.
We’re excited about that fight. On our first show, the co-main event was Rafael Luna and Louie Rodriguez with the winner earning the opportunity to fight Brian Miller on November 13th for the New York State Title. That was originally gonna be our main event. Brian took a fight (a TKO8 loss on October 2nd at Verona, New York’s Turning Stone Casino, Millers’s first loss). He’s not going to be able to fight now due to a medical suspension. So we got a call to put the Allen-Brinson fight on our show and it didn’t take very long to say ‘Yes’ to that. I think it’s gonna have a very nice draw. I think it’s gonna be a great eight round main event fight. I went to college in Geneva, and Nick Brinson is gonna come in, so it hit’s home a little bit. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Lennox Allen so we think it’ll be very competitive and it’ll actually draw some fans that aren’t from the area. The co-main event is for the women’s Lightweight title between Jackie Trivilino from Plattsburgh and she’s fighting a girl named Nadia Feliciano from New York City. They fought, I think it was two years ago, to a draw. Jackie comes off two consecutive fights where she got fighter of the night. So this will be another really exciting fight. When we put those two together, we called it, “Two Titles – One Night.” The rest of the undercard is stacked with local talent.
Now you’re 29 years old- quite young to be a boxing promoter. Two Hall of Fame promoters- Russell Peltz and Don Chargin were each known as “Boy Wonder,” at the start of their careers, 22 and 23 respectively. So you’re in some good company with big shoes to fill. How do you feel about that?
I’m honored. I’m really excited about it. Every once in awhile, my wife and I lie awake talking about this and are very optimistic for big plans in the future. We wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for two people over at Schott’s Gym- Andy Schott who’s an ex-fighter, and Kyle Provanzano and also Billy Growic too. They’re the one’s who pushed us to do this. We had a lot of people around is who lent great advice, gave a lot of encouragement, told us where we can succeed and where we might fail and told us how to keep evolving and do things better. I can’t take all the credit; there are a lot of people behind the scenes helping us. I’m honored to be in that same light as far as age and following in the shadows of two Hall of Famers. It’s exciting!
Thanks for your time Adam, we’ll see you on November 13th!
You’re welcome! It’ll be great to have Fightnews there!