By: Sean Crose
“This is an interesting event,” Jackie Kallen tells me. “It’s going to be kind of fun and different.” Anyone who knows the fight world knows of Kallen, the Detroit native who found success as a high level boxing manager, success that made her a very powerful woman in what was – and still is – very much a male dominated world. Whether it’s been guiding the career of James Toney or taking part in Mark Burnett’s “The Contender” series, Kallen has always been passionate.
At the moment that passion is focused on “Ice Wars,” an endeavor Kallen describes as “hockey fights without the hockey game.” In other words, hockey players in full uniform will square off as they famously do on the ice – only this time the players won’t be interrupting the game – they’ll be the main attraction. “Being a boxing purist as I am, it seems to be out of the box doing something this unique,” says Kallen. Yet the noted manager is also a fan of hockey, a fact that’s evidenced by talk of her children and grandchildren.
“My kids played hockey growing up,” she tells me, “and my grandkids play hockey now.” Although Kallen’s native Detroit is known for the being the home of the Red Wings of NHL fame, the initial “Ice Wars” will be going down at the River Cree Resort and Casino outside of Edmonton, Canada – hockey country if ever there was. “It’s an eight man heavyweight tournament,” says Kallen. The rules are simple, the fighters will engage in full gear with “four ounce MMA gloves.” What’s more, there will be “two one minute rounds per bout.” The fighters won’t be able to use some of the more obvious weapons that might come to mind when one thinks of hockey. “They can’t use sticks of course,” Kallen tells me.
Although hockey fans might certainly be apt to tune in, Kallen makes it clear that boxing fans will definitely enjoy the proceedings. “We want boxing people to watch it,” Kallen says of the inaugural May 21st card.” Sure enough, fans will be able to view the proceedings via Fite. After decades in the business Kallen, who still manages such young up and coming fighters as super lightweight Myquan Williams, is clearly eager to engage in this new endeavor. “We’re looking for it to be something fun,” For those who love boxing and a good old fashioned hockey fight, Ice Wars might indeed be just the thing.
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