On Monday, news broke that Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports had officially branched out and delved into the world of boxing promotion. Roc Nation immediately made a splash by hiring former Golden Boy Promotions COO David Itskowitch to serve in the same position for their new promotion. Such a move should be expected by a venture helmed by Hov as he and his staff once again made a power-play in sports business.
Michael Yormark, the president and chief of branding and strategy for Roc Nation stated the move went beyond boxing promotion; it has emphasized branding and building careers outside of the ring. Roc Nation Sports has been a success thus far, brokering huge deals for Robison Cano and others as well as an alleged $325 million Under Armour deal for Kevin Durant in the near future.
How it fares in boxing will be extremely dependent on the talent they sign, evident by 50 Cent’s venture into boxing promotion. 50’s foray has had its ups and downs, and while it remains a functioning company, it is nowhere near the triumph that Jay and co. hope their promotion will turn out to be.
As of yet Roc Nation has yet to sign any boxers, but here are five they should go after if they want to get started on the right track.
5. Deontay Wilder
America fetishizes heavyweight boxing and knockouts, and the 6’7 inch Wilder is, by far, the best American heavyweight on the current landscape. Oh, and the former Olympic bronze medalist has knocked out all 32 opponents he’s faced thus far: hence the nickname the Bronze Bomber. His competition hasn’t been great and he isn’t a blockbuster hit on television yet, which are the exact problems that Roc Nation will be expected to alleviate.
4. Lamont Peterson
Roc Nation announced that they secured promotional licenses in New York and Washington, DC, and no fighter has a higher profile in the DMV than Lamont Peterson. The current 140-pound IBF titleholder has fought in his hometown of DC in three of his last five fights. The area is generally unclaimed, and if Roc Nation wants to plant their flag in the DMV, then Peterson is a good start.