Friday, January 13, 2012
Here comes Snooki ... the promoter?
By Michael Woods
Look out, Bob Arum. Hold on to your hair, Don King. Hey, Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya, there's a new gal in town, and she's looking to carve out some space in the boxing promotion world.
"Jersey Shore" cast member Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and her father, Andy Polizzi, will represent the Hyland brothers in their fledgling promotion.
Maybe you've heard of her. Judging by the prolonged session of flashes that popped at McFadden's in New York City on Thursday afternoon, there seems to be a high level of interest in Snooki, aka Nicole Polizzi, a diminutive diva of reality TV and a budding empire builder.
Yes, Snooki is adding "boxing promoter" to a résumé that got cooking two years ago, when "Jersey Shore" debuted on MTV and a portion of the nation intrigued by the goings-on of carefree party people from New Jersey and regions thereabouts went gaga over their cavalcade of hot-tub hookups, barroom dustups and fascination with tanning booths.
Snooki -- a Marlboro, N.Y., native -- admitted she isn't all that well-versed in the particulars of the sweet science, as she brought up the "Rocky" series when asked about her level of knowledge and fondness for the sport. But this hardened heart belonging to a fightwriting cynic melted a tiny touch when Snooki told the assembled media gaggle that she was diving into the boxing scene because it's an activity she can share with her dad, Andy.
Snooki is named as the "owner" of Team Snooki Boxing, which is comprised of her, her dad, Brian Burke and Mike Pascale of Final Round Promotions (a Poughkeepsie outfit) and a stable of fighters currently limited to the Hyland brothers, Patrick, Eddie and Paul.
The brothers will all rumble in the Team Snooki debut, which will unfold Jan. 28 at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. The show will stream on Behindthering.com for $9.95.
The last time I'd seen a paparazzi scrum like the one at McFadden's, I swear, came when Mike Tyson was being arraigned back in 1991. If some of the lame-o heavyweights we see sleepwalking their way through fights these days showed half the intensity the photogs did in trying to get the money shot of Snooki, the whole business would be in much better shape.
The reality spitfire, who has put out two books, has a line of apparel in stores, and has almost four million Twitter followers, told the media that she is excited to be delving into the sweet science and that she will be taking up boxing for fitness.
She participated in gymnastics as a kid, and then competitive cheerleading, and also did work for Vince McMahon's WWE, so she sees boxing as a logical next step.
No, she will not train for an in-ring debut, even through she has thrown hands once or twice on the show.
"I'm not messing up this pretty face," she said. "Helping out my dad is No. 1. Me and my dad are like best friends; I'm a daddy's girl."
Andy Polizzi told the media why he's looking forward to the project, which as of now stands at four proposed shows, which will run in A.C., and perhaps Vegas and NYC as well.
"This is something daddy and daughter can share together," he said. "I'm proud of the woman she has become."
Andy said he wants to see this thing through, to the point that the Hylands win world titles. Patrick Hyland, 28, now trained by ex-super featherweight Tracy Harris Patterson, owns a 24-0 record, with 11 KOs. He will face 33-year-old Mexican vet Emmanuel Lucero (26-8, loser of two straight) at Resorts. Paul Hyland, age 27 (20-2 record, with 6 KOs), and 16-1 Eddie, who is 30, will meet opponents to be named.
I admit, I was impressed with Snooki's fighting spirit. She said she has a Google alert set up, and embraces attempted takedowns by bloggers and such.
"I think negative stuff is better, because that's when people are trying to hurt you're feelings, which means they really, really care enough to do a whole negative story about you. I like that."
May her fighters exhibit the same aggressive attitude when they are catching more than they're pitching.