I had many questions for him back then, like: You’re such a nice guy, have you lost your mind? Lots of boxing promoters are good folks, of course, but aren’t you walking into the sport’s dark side, a place where people smile and extend a right hand while the left one is lifting your wallet, and your lunch?

Speaking of Don King, you’re not going to make his money or maybe any money, I continued. As boxing historian Bert Sugar said about the promotion business: “Somebody could make a bundle in it; I just don’t know who the somebody is.” But Neary was right not to listen to me. This Saturday at the Empire State Plaza, ARES Promotions will present its eighth show. There’s no arguing with success, especially as Neary defines it.

“It’s never been about money,” he said. “It’s about those special moments.” He then proceeded to list a few examples, like when the crowd rose to its feet last December 16 as Javy Martinez and Ray Velez fought the best fight I’ve ever seen live; or the times he got heartfelt thanks from fighters, grateful for an opportunity he provided.

That gratitude isn’t always from big, main event fighters, either. Buried deep on the undercard of Saturday’s eight bout, 44-round show is Javier Baez, a young NYC boxer you’ve never heard of. He’s making his pro debut against Brooklyn’s Anthony Birmingham (0-1). Baez’ grandmother is in cancer’s final stages. Javier’s dream was that the woman who raised him get to see him fight professionally, just once. She’ll be at the fight this Saturday. Dream fulfilled (?), compliments of ARES Promotions. You should hear Neary talk about this one.

Carolyn Neary, Adam’s wife and business partner, feels the same about her foray into the boxing world. “It’s been great,” she said, “and each time out, we get sharper. We have a great team.”

Saturday’s show has just about everything fans could want: a comeback, a cross-town rivalry, local favorites, a main event fighter you might see on ESPN soon, and… well, lots more. Take a look:

If you read last week’s column, you already know that Schenectady lightweight Brian Miller (8-1-4, 3 KOs) is returning from an 18-month break. Miller needed the time to get used to his new duties as a Dad. Wife, Kari, and little Preston Miller will be ringside as Miller faces Detroit’s Christopher Finley (3-4).

Say the name “Stef Scott” (8-3, 1 KO) and local fans will think only good thoughts. He’s the NYS junior middleweight champion. The trouble is, say the name “Markus Williams” (8-2, 1KO) from Schenectady and you’ll get the same reaction. These are two seriously skilled fighters who’ve never faced each other – until now. Trust me, the sparks will fly in this cross-town battle.

Troy light heavyweight Shawn Miller (6-1-1, 3 KOs) will be there to take on Akron, OH’s James Denson (5-7), and he has no plans to disappoint his many fans.

Guilderland’s Zach Smith (5-2), a tough and scrappy super featherweight, will face Auburn, WA’s Ramon Santos (0-2).

Jamell Tyson (2-5-2) is coming from Rochester to contend with undefeated Yonkers super featherweight Chazz McDowell (5-0, 1 KO).

Newburgh light welterweight Treysean Wiggins is 2-0 with just as many knockouts. He’ll be looking to do it again against Rochester’s Duane Hall (2-1).

This will be the third time New Hampshire’s Jose Medina (16-9-1, 7 KOs) has made it to an ARES show, and for the second time in the main event. Medina has proven that he can outbox locals like Markus Williams (7-15-11) and Chris Fitzpatrick (10/28/11), as well as knock out a legitimate prospect like Isaac Rodrigues, as I saw him do at Turning Stone Casino in January 2011.

Medina, a couple of wins away from the big time, will be looking to make North Carolina’s Michael Raynor (8-16-1, 5 KOs) wish he hadn’t made the long trip north.

Get tickets at 518-527-2331, aresboxing.com

Read article on Troy Record website.




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