The Boxing Esq. Podcast, Ep. 22: Manager Keith Connolly
The Ring is proud to present “The Boxing Esq. Podcast with Kurt Emhoff”. Kurt is a top boxing manager and attorney based in New York City. He has represented more than 10 world titleholders during his 20-plus years in the sport.
His guest on this podcast is New York-based boxing manager Keith Connolly. They discussed how Connolly got into the management business and his tremendous roster of fighters that include, Daniel Jacobs, Luis Collazo, Marcus Browne, Sergey Derevyanchenko, Adam Kownacki, Chris Algieri, Nikita Abibiy, Reshet Mati and Nkosi Solomon.
Below are a few excerpts from the interview:
How Keith’s relationship with Jacobs came about and how he became interested in managing fighters:
“I kind of just fell into it. My dad got me into boxing. As I said earlier, my passion really stemmed from him instilling that in me. But as far as how it got into boxing, I’d been going to Golden Gloves fights, back in 2004, and I saw Danny Jacobs fight. And I said to myself, that kid looks like the next Sugar Ray Leonard. I mean, I’d never seen hand speed from anybody in the New York Golden Gloves like Danny had. So, I kind of went up to him after the fight. I said, what’s your name? I introduced myself and I said, if you win the New York Golden Gloves, I’ll come support you in Little Rock, Arkansas at the Nationals. And I think he kinda didn’t believe me. He said, ‘Okay, okay, I get it.’ And I just showed up out of nowhere at the National Golden Gloves in Little Rock and watched him all week, supported him and the relationship bloomed from there. ”
How he made the deal for Luis Collazo, a PBC fighter, to headline a Top Rank card:
“It just came about with my relationship with Todd duBoef (Top Rank President). We were at first going to fight Terence Crawford. We had actually signed our side of the contract. We were waiting for Terence to sign his and then the Amir Khan situation popped up. Obviously, that’s a huge fight so Terence couldn’t turn that down. So, when that fell through Todd and I talked. He offered a great deal to fight Samuel Vargas. I sat down with Al. We both discussed what the opportunity was. You know how Al is, as long as it’s good for the fighter, he’ll never stop a fighter from taking a good opportunity. So, Al’s still very involved in Luis’ career and we both co-manage him. So that’s kind of how it came about. It came about really because the Terence Crawford fight fell through.”
How he sees the Canelo Alvarez-Danny Jacobs fight playing out:
“I mean, listen, I’ve never seen Danny so intense in training. He looks amazing. I think Danny’s going to show a little bit of everything. He’s going to box a little, but I also think he’s going to get inside and fight in the trenches at times and move Canelo back. So, I think it’s going to be an extremely exciting fight. Obviously, I think my guy is going to win, but I know Canelo is a great fighter and I think both fighters are going to have great moments in the fight. And I do think it’s going to be one of those instant middleweight classics like Hagler-Hearns or Leonard- Hagler, a middleweight title fight that people talk about 20-30 years from now.”
How Jacobs badly wants a fight with Jermall Charlo:
“Yeah, we’ll fight (Jermall) Charlo 100%. (Make that) 150%. We can fight him on DAZN or we can fight him on another platform in 2020. That’s a fight Danny desperately wants. He wants to shut up Jermall Charlo’s mouth. That’s personal for Danny. And he’s told me before it’s all said and done with, he’s going to put Charlo on his back.”
How Marcus Browne is ready for any of the champions at 175:
“A year ago, if you had said, ‘Which guy would you want to fight for the title?’ I probably would have hand-picked a guy. But after the way he looked against Badou Jack and seeing that if you send him away (to training camp), he really is an elite fighter. We’ll fight any of those Eastern Europeans (light heavyweight titleholders – WBA – Dmitry Bivol (Russia), WBC -Oleksandr Gvozdyk (Ukraine), WBO – Sergey Kovalev (Russia) and IBF – Artur Beterbiev (Russia). I think he can beat them all when he’s focused.”
On Adam Kownacki getting a shot at WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder:
“He’s got fast hands, a high work rate, and a great jaw. He’s going to be a big problem for Deontay Wilder. And Deontay Wilder is definitely the target here in the next 12 months. I’ve had conversations with his side. Listen, obviously if Joshua-Wilder happens, we’ll have to wait a little bit longer. But if that mega fight doesn’t happen, I think you could see Adam in the ring with Wilder in the next 12 months. And I give him a really good shot to knock out Wilder.”