For most of the years since graduation,
Jeff Feigelson '83 practiced sedate
real estate law at a Manhattan firm. Then, seven years ago, he became a part-time professional boxing promoter. Maybe not such a leap-look at Howard Cosell, another attorney turned boxing aficionado.
The bug bit Feigelson when he happened to attend a live professional boxing match in a small Brooklyn venue that was packed with 1,000 screaming fans. Seven or eight fights were on the card; none were big names.
But the crowd went wild anyway, including Feigelson. “The atmosphere was electric, and it was much more exciting than my work as an attorney,” he recalls. “I said to myself that
I have to get involved with this.”
His first step in obtaining a promoter's license was to find an arena. “Basically, I had to provide New York State with architectural plans showing the layout of the seats; surety bonds to guarantee that the fighters would be paid; and certain background information to establish that I did not have a criminal record,” he says.
Feigelson was able to book fighters because he hired a “matchmaker”-a New York State-licensed boxing expert who knew all the fighters in the New York area and most of the fighters around the country. “The owner of the biggest boxing gym in the Northeast, Bruce Silverglade, from Gleason's Gym, would typically be the matchmaker for my shows, and I relied on him greatly,” Feigelson says.
Now, with more experience, Feigelson has more input on who fights. But he still has to
spend a lot of time on the basics-obtaining insurance, finding ring card girls, and handling the publicity and marketing. Whenever feasible, he also arranges for a telecast, which can make his efforts more profitable. Sometimes he is able to connect with the Madison Square Garden (MSG-TV) network. For the most part, the fights are taped and telecast at a later date.
Feigelson books all classes of fighters,
from featherweight to heavyweight. He also encounters all kinds of boxers, from ex-cons to former World Boxing Association champs.
Of the latter, one of the better-known names
is Mark Brealand-a former Olympic gold medalist and WBA welterweight champion. Then there is the occasional ex-WBA champ trying for a comeback, such as Lou Del Valle-
a light heavyweight.
Venturing into the novelty of women boxers, Feigelson has booked some twenty-five shows. Two of those were in Moscow, where, he says, attendance was excellent. One main event featured Olga Maskaeu, a top-ten heavyweight who fights out of Gleason's Gym. She is part of a large Russian immigrant community.
Feigelson says that all kinds of people go
to the fights, and he has spotted a number of alumni.
Feigelson, who now has his own real estate investment firm, did not orchestrate any events in 2002, primarily because of the closing of a Queens arena that he used. But he has legally represented fighters, so don't count him out of the promotion business.