By: Sean Crose
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame describes Stan Hoffman as a “native of Brooklyn and Bronx, New York (who) has managed, advised and/or promoted 38 world champions during his nearly 50 years working in the boxing industry.” That, however, only scratches the surface. Known for guiding the likes of James Toney, Iran Barkley and Hasim Rahman, the 88 year old Hoffman wasn’t originally much interested in the fight business. In fact, the business essentially came to him. “I was sitting in my office in 57th and 7thAvenue,” he says, noting that he “owned some record companies” at the time.
Someone entered the office to sell Hoffman some not very good music.
Hoffman was about to send the man on his way, when the would be salesmen noted pictures of amateur fighters lining the office walls. Hoffman learned the man knew of two fighters who missed the 1980 Olympics because of then President Carter’s boycott of Russia. “He said,” Hoffman recalls, “both of them need a manager.” The rest is history. Yet the situation wasn’t always smooth for Hoffman as he engaged in the fight game. For instance, Hoffman once went to meet Bob Arum at Arum’s office. Hoffman waited for what seemed like forever, only to realize the meeting would never actually take place.
The same thing happened again when Hoffman went to meet Don King. After waiting two hours for the famous promoter, Hoffman decided he wasn’t going to let what happened with Arum happen again. “Tell Don King,” he said to King’s secretary, “where to go and I’ll tell you exactly how to get there.” Unlike Arum, King reached out and apologized. That was enough for Hoffman. “We got to eat,” he says, “and it all went from there.” Being connected to the most famous promoter in history would be notable enough, but Hoffman was able to reach the actual summit of boxing management when Rahman won the heavyweight championship by knocking out Lennox Lewis in 2001.
Hoffman had suddenly found himself in a unique position – one where he could make his fighter a whole lot of money. “We had just come back from knocking out Lennox Lewis in South Africa,” Hoffman recalls of another meeting with King. “We argued back and fourth for hours and hours.” Things got to a point where Hoffman and Rahman decided to walk away from a deal with King. “As we were leaving,” says Hoffman, “we were down the hall getting ready to get on the elevator…and he (King)came running down and said okay, okay, we’ve got a deal.”
What kind of deal, you may ask?
“Five million dollars,” says Hoffman, “and he gave it to us that night.” It was nothing if not a crowning achievement. “I probably got the biggest so called signing bonus ever for a fighter in the history of boxing,” he claims. Yet, like many unique stories, the true power lies in the details. “He’s got a laundry bag,” Hoffman says of King, “and he opens the laundry bag and there’s two hundred thousand dollars in cash.” But that wasn’t all. “He handed me his personal check,” Hoffman adds, “for four million, eight hundred thousand dollars.”
“Please don’t go to the bank too early on Monday,” Hoffman recalls King telling him. “I’ve got to transfer the money.”
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