Movers and shakers in Atlantic City boxing
Here are some of the people who were influential during Atlantic City's heyday as a boxing mecca: Donald Trump/Mark Etess. Billionaire Trump always wanted to do things bigger and better - and to generate maximum publicity for himself and his organization in the process. Aware of how much boxing had served to "brand" Caesars Palace in Las Veg
Here are some of the people who were influential during Atlantic City's heyday as a boxing mecca:
Donald Trump/Mark Etess. Billionaire Trump always wanted to do things bigger and better - and to generate maximum publicity for himself and his organization in the process. Aware of how much boxing had served to "brand" Caesars Palace in Las Vegas after its 1966 opening, Trump poured his considerable resources into doing the same for his casino properties in Atlantic City in the 1980s. Toward that end, The Donald made one of his more astute hires, Mark Grossinger Etess, to run a burgeoning boxing operation that featured, among others, the sport's biggest draw, undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Etess' death, along with those of two other Trump executives, in an Oct. 10, 1989, helicopter crash, had as much or more of a detrimental effect on Trump boxing as did the boss' worsening cash-flow problems.
Ken Condon. Starting out as a member of the public-relations department at Resorts International in the early days of legalized gambling, Condon moved on to increasingly high-profile positions at the Trump Taj Mahal, Bally's Park Place and, since early 2007, as a consultant for Harrah's Entertainment's four Atlantic City properties. For a number of years he has been almost exclusively responsible for bringing high-profile boxing events to Boardwalk Hall, in part because he is so adept at identifying what matchups work in the market. Promoters and managers rave about what a joy this low-key facilitator is to work with.
Frank Gelb. A Philadelphia native, Gelb made his promotional debut in Atlantic City in 1973 - 5 years before the first casino-hotel opened - with a show headlined by a fight between Richie Kates and Roger Russell that ended the town's 10-year boxing drought. For the next 20 years, Gelb either staged his own events or served as the knowledgeable middleman for various promoters, using his array of contacts at Resorts, Harrah's Marina, Bally's Park Place, Trump Plaza and TropWorld to get deals done. He currently is the North American producer for renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli.
Kathy Duva/Main Events. Duva's late husband, Dan, is a New Jersey native who earned his law degree at Seton Hall and elected to stick close to home once he took over the family business started by patriarch Lou Duva. Dan died of brain cancer on Jan. 30, 1996, but his widow, Kathy, formed an alliance with Ken Condon to keep bringing the company's marquee performer, Arturo Gatti, back to Boardwalk Hall to the mutual benefit of all concerned.
Larry Hazzard Sr. A onetime world-class referee, Hazzard became executive director of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board in 1985 and ran it with an iron fist until his unexpected (to some) dismissal on Nov. 14, 2007. Hazzard's abrasive management style didn't always set well with fighters, managers and promoters, but no one could say he wasn't hands-on and fully involved with the administration of boxing in his state.
Don Elbaum. Beginning in 1981 when he struck a deal with the Tropicana to do monthly shows, Elbaum was a familiar and influential presence who put on approximately 175 fight cards during the 5-year run of his contract. A character's character, "The Bum" was as or more recognizable to ringsiders as some of the main-event fighters whose careers took off on his watch.
Bob Arum/Top Rank. Although Top Rank has put on approximately 390 fight cards through the years, the company founder and CEO has been something of an absentee operator since he moved his base of operations to Las Vegas in 1986, leaving others, like Frank Gelb, to do much of the heavy lifting at the local level. Still, nearly 400 cards merits inclusion on this list.