Arnie Dansicker, the newest boxing promoter on the block, has some refreshing ideas about how to conduct the fight business.
"I'm going to try to treat the fighters on my shows as business associates rather than a lump of meat," said Dansicker, who will make his debut under the company banner "10 KOunt" at Martin's West tomorrow night on a card featuring former world champion Vincent Pettway of Baltimore against Anthony Ivory of Chicago.
Dansicker, 50, also plans to stock his undercard with area fighters in the hope of developing future attractions.
In the recent past, many of the feature bouts staged in Baltimore have matched out-of-town rivals controlled by promoters such as Dino Duva and Russell Peltz, looking to boost their fighters' rankings.
"As a spectator, you want to have a rooting interest in some kid from Baltimore," Dansicker said. "If two guys from another city are fighting, it's like going to Camden Yards to watch the Phillies play the Astros."
Asked why he is willing to invest in a business that has proved riskier than the Asian markets, Dansicker, a third-generation auto parts and used car dealer in Dundalk, laughs softly and says: "My golf game is terrible. I need a new challenge. Besides, I've been married 27 years and still haven't won a fight with my wife."
An avid fight fan, Dansicker remembers watching world-ranked middleweights Alvin Anderson and Ralph Palladin perform at Painters Mill in the 1960s. He became a regular the past decade attending Stuart Satosky's ring cards at Martin's West and the Pikesville Armory. In time, he became a sponsor of the small club shows.
"I got to see some of the inside workings on putting a show together -- working with the commission, the cost of renting an arena, security and medical help, making last-minute matches and how much to pay the fighters," Dansicker said. "It was intriguing, and I decided to get more involved."
The opportunity came when Satosky, suffering "burnout" after 12 years as Baltimore's principal promoter, offered to serve as Dansicker's matchmaker. He also has provided the new promoter with a sizable mailing list of potential customers.
Dansicker quickly learned the travails of being a promoter. He went through six names before finding a suitable opponent for Pettway.
Estimating his inaugural show will cost $25,000, Dansicker has no illusions of turning a quick buck in boxing.
"I'm expecting to lose money the first time, but I'm going to put on the best possible show with competitive fights," he said, naming Charles Clark, Dana Rucker and George Barksdale as Baltimore fighters who will be tested in preliminary bouts.
Dansicker is mainly banking on the box office appeal of Pettway, who reigned briefly as junior middleweight champion in 1995 before losing to Paul Vaden in his second title defense.
Pettway, 33, now campaigning as a welterweight, was ranked No. 1 by the International Boxing Federation for nearly two years.
"Everyone says Pettway is damaged goods, a shot fighter," said Dansicker. "But he's a former champion, a hometown guy who deserves another chance."
If Pettway looks impressive tomorrow night, Dansicker will try to match him in December against a highly ranked opponent. But should Pettway falter, Dansicker will encourage him to retire and then start shopping for another name to draw the ever-elusive fight fan.
Pub Date: 9/14/99