Boxing manager Dave McWater, Founder and CEO of Split T Management, is one of the few managers who actively supports USA Boxing and its Olympic style boxers.
“I first met Dave in 2016 and I was told he was a Professional Manager coming to our events to scout talent,” USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee commented. “Over the last six-plus years I quickly learned Dave is the only Manager who regularly attends our events and actively supports perspective boxers, their coaches, and clubs.
“Dave understands that 99-percent of the boxers, coaches and officials who move into the professional ranks started in USA Boxing and/or are still part of USA Boxing, so he has helped support USA Boxing by sponsoring events or by financially supporting boxers and coaches attending events to compete at the highest level. Simply, he is giving back to the sport of Olympic-style boxing where most managers, promoters and media take from our boxers, coaches, and officials.
“He understands the mission of USA Boxing: ‘to create champions in and out of the ring’…”
While boxing promoters and most managers simply sign nearly finished amateur boxers who have developed through USA Boxing’s program, making no investment until after they turn pro, McWaters not only manages a few boxers before they sign pro contracts, he covers the cost of some boxers competing in tournaments, purchases tables and advertises at events, and advises his fighters whether they should remain amateurs or go pro.
“Some aren’t ready,” McWater said. “Their minds are so fertile at 16-17 that it’s a waste for them to fight pro bums at that age, when they could be gaining great experience against future greats in the amateurs. It stunts their growth. And definitely they should never turn pro in an Olympic year.”
Now allowed to sign amateur boxers to management contracts, Split T is arguably the largest and most successful manager in boxing, featuring a stable with more than 75 boxers, the majority of whom are products of USA Boxing.
Split T’s growing roster of gifted fighters includes USA Olympic Boxing Team members such as 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Oshae Jones, 2020 Olympian Tiger Johnson, and 2016 Olympian Charles Conwell, as well as former USA Boxing elite boxers Teofimo Lopez, who became Split T’s first unified world champion in the pro ranks, Khalil Coe, Otha Jones III, Javier Martinez, David Navarro, Diego Pacheco, Giovanni Marquez (son of 1992 US Olympian Raul Marquez), Trinidad Vargas, and many others.
“I have no proof, it’s just my theory,” McWater noted, “but I believe more fighters started going to gyms after the crash of 2008 (in which Team USA’s only medalist was Deontay Wilder’s bronze), when there were bad times. They (young boxers) looked toward Floyd (Mayweather, Jr.). We’ve seen much better USA boxers starting in 2016. There are less gyms, coaches, and facilities today, but numbers are up.
“Medals speak for themselves. Shakur (Stevenson) won a gold medal in 2016 and Nico Hernandez got bronze. And Claressa (Shields) took gold in 2012 and 2016. In the Tokyo Olympics, Richard Torrez, Jr., Duke Ragan, and Keyshawn Davis all took home silver medals, Oshae Jones won bronze. USA Boxing is on the right track!”
In 2013, McWater founded Split T Management in New York City, introducing boxing to analytics, and developing a comprehensive database of amateur boxers, which was passed on for professionals, including invaluable data that isn’t necessarily reported in newspapers or on boxing websites. Critical boxer evaluations for Split T in terms of signing fighters range from Olympians, of course, to major tournament medal accomplishments, down to winning their pro debuts for one of the top 5 promoters in the industry. There is a method to McWater’s boxing philosophy.
“I grew up in the basketball world,” McWater explained, “which had a lot of tournaments. That’s why I attend as many of the top amateur boxing tournaments each year, especially the USA Boxing Nationals and National Golden Gloves. Most mock it (use of analytics). I have great respect for scouts, but my work has a place. I watch 1000 fights a year.
“It’s a different world today, not conducive to building stars, because some promoters have exclusive network deals to provide television content. We sign who we believe in (based on the aforementioned criteria) because we are worried about injuries, crime, and drugs. We rarely sign a client we don’t like. Boxers are a lot brighter than people think.. Just because a lot are uneducated, they are extremely intelligent for their education level. Boxers are smarter athletes and I’ve worked with basketball and baseball players.”
McWater is especially proud of the female division of Split T, which is under the direction of Associate Manager Brian Cohen, featuring nine past or present world champions. “Brian should be Manager of the Year,” McWater offered. “He won’t because it’s women’s boxing, but five of our female fighters won world titles in 2022.”
Split T Management handles a variety of responsibilities for its clients, including contract negotiations, public and media relations, training guidance, legal services, branding, community relations and Nutrition Assistance. It also has the largest full time employee team in the United States: McWater and Cohen, Chief Operations Officer Ron Rizzo, Director of Boxing Operations Joe Quiambao, Associate Manager Brendan Segales, Associate Manager (female boxers) Cohen, and Social Media Manager Ryan Rechten.
USA Boxing and McWater, like all supporters and fans of Olympic style boxing, are concerned with boxing’s potential absence at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. It is not currently part of sports programming then, because of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) concern with the International Boxing Association (IBA) acting in the best interest of the boxing community.
“We all know about the IBA’s scandals,” McWater added, “but nobody really believes boxing will be dropped in the Olympics. At the least, it would diminish boxing. I’m glad USA Boxing is standing up to the IBA.”
Boxing in America needs more supportive managers like Dave McWater and Split T Management.
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