Golden Gloves has hosted many tournaments in 30-plus years of existence.
Few have measured up in style or substance to the recent “Monte Carlo Million Dollar” bill, a riotous blend of power and entertainment that had the capacity crowd up on its feet.
When it was all done, Edwin Rodriguez sat on top of the heap after a dazzling show of power, Junior Makabu announced himself on the world stage and Khabib Allakhverdiev and Souleymane M’Baye had earned immense praise for their war of attrition.
“Like any promotion, you have your challenges,” said Rodney Berman. “But I can honestly say few shows have been as exciting. The match-ups were tremendous. It’s not easy dealing with so many different countries – around 10 – but it was all right on the night.”
Golden Gloves earned rich praise from around the world, with fans acknowledging the quality of the fights.
Rodriguez will almost certainly go on to contest a version of the world title within 12 months, while Allakhverdiev will remain a popular TV staple because of his power and rough and ready style.
Makabu was another big winner. The way he broke down formidable Dmytro Kucher was revealing for Makabu’s ring smarts and own artillery. He was dragged into deep water, but instead of flailing, he emerged unscathed.
It wasn’t the perfect performance, but he showed grit, ambition and attitude; qualities that will get him far. He will continue to learn and develop as a fighter and at just 25 is perfectly poised.
Having shot into the public consciousness, the plan now is to keep him busy, starting with the next tournament at Emperors Palace in August. Berman and Golden Gloves will resist the temptation to overmatch him, possibly in a world title fight, preferring to add to his apprenticeship with other international fights.
“He’s arrived, and in style,” said Berman. “The crowd in Monte-Carlo adored him. The future is very, very bright.”