When Michelle Rosado and Russell Peltz looked over the landscape that was the Casino Del Sol convention area, they saw nothing but joy.
It was packed and every seat in the room was full. It was their confirmation that, yes, Tucson is a boxing town and the sport has a good future here.
For nearly three hours, Peltz sat ringside and watched. One had a sense he was very pleased by what he saw. And, well, he knows a few things about the game most don’t given his longstanding respect given he’s in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
“It was terrific,” Peltz said. “You can’t do any better than this.”
Not when just more than 1,600 fans were in the convention area for what turned out to be a very competitive card, save for one fight that ended in the first round.
“I don’t think there is a person tonight who wouldn’t come back,” said Peltz, who has been in the fight business for nearly 50 years.
“You have to give people entertainment and I think that’s what she did,” Peltz said.
The she is Rosado, a fight fan/boxing promoter – better known as the Raging Babe – who made her Tucson debut at Casino Del Sol behind the guidance of Peltz.
“She’s the future of boxing in this area,” Peltz said. “Nobody works harder than her. I’ve never seen it. It’s her whole life.”
She’s been to Tucson a time or two before, surveying the boxing climate. She’s seen its potential and its promise.
She’s also seen the promise of many a promoter who have come in and left after a fight card or two. Many had noble intentions others, well, not so much.
But, if boxing is to be taken seriously in Tucson – and it has that potential – fight cards must return four or five times a year. I can’t recall a time that has happened. Peltz, Rosado and others said it’s possible. Tucson has the venues, given Del Sol’s facility, Desert Diamond Casino and the Tucson Convention Center.
What happens beyond Saturday night’s success is anyone’s guess.
“It can be done, and I’d like to come back quarterly,” Rosado said. “It keeps the guys active and it helps them develop. It keeps things consistent out here and that’s what is needed. My goal was to show the casino what Tucson boxing is, and I was hoping they’d say, ‘when are you coming back.’”
She said she’d like to come back at the end of September and promote another card.
Time will tell, but local boxing fans have seen it before … and often. Promoters have come and gone through the last 30-something years. It’s about sustaining the product. Clearly, Tucson – and southern Arizona – has the fighters to fill the cards. Saturday was the perfect example given most of the 14 fighters were from Tucson.
The key to the success, Rosado and Peltz say is to go local with the fighters. Too many times promoters bring in fighters – sometimes big names under supposed big cards – that don’t thrill the fans. Saturday’s card did – because it was mostly locals.
“You gotta grow the home talent,” she said. “You can make the fights here. There’s more than enough fighters. That’s the recipe. Look what happens.”
Of the seven events she’s held, Saturday was said to be the best, given the attendance and excitement.
“There’s no better feeling because you know what? There were no fake belts and no circus act,” she said. “There were real fights. Tucson vs. Tucson. We stacked the card with local fighters. And we sold out. We didn’t need the hype and we didn’t need ABCDEFG belts. You can’t fool the fans because they know what good fights are.”