What venues in Baltimore would work for Zbikowski match?

Ravens safety would like to box at M&T Bank Stadium

March 28, 2011|By Jon Meoli, The Baltimore Sun

As Tom Zbikowski embarks on his boxing career, the Ravens safety has made it clear that he wants to fight in Baltimore.

"If we can get [my contract] worked out, I can play at M&T Bank Stadium in the season and fight at M&T Bank Stadium in the offseason," Zbikowski said last week.

But realistically, is M&T Bank Stadium the right venue for a Zbikowski fight? Regardless of his contract status, any fight at M&T Bank Stadium would have to go through the Ravens, who control all non-football events at the stadium.

Lisa Dixon, special events manager for the Ravens, said no discussions of any type have taken place about hosting a boxing match, and any specific talks with Zbikowski could not be held because of the lockout.

When considering any event at the stadium, Dixon said a five-person committee looks at whether it would be a good business decision for the stadium, city and team, while also taking into account the fan experience.

Representatives for the Maryland Stadium Authority said they wouldn't have much to do with planning such an event, but would benefit from the admissions tax.

However, M&T Bank Stadium isn't the only option.

John Rallo, promoter of Shogun Fights IV at 1st Mariner Arena on April 30, said he contacted people close to Zbikowski to gauge his interest in joining that event's card. Rallo believes that Zbikowski has a great opportunity in boxing and is unsure of whether he'd like to pursue MMA as well, but Rallo would love to promote a boxing match featuring Zbikowski.

"If we can get Tom in the arena for boxing, that would be great," Rallo said. "We need a guy like him for the draw, but I think the curiosity level is enough with the Ravens fanbase that a lot of football fans would go just to see him."

Frank Remesch, general manager of 1st Mariner Arena, said he'd host a Zbikowski fight "in a New York-minute," though he said the arena hasn't hosted a boxing event in decades

"It would be great for Baltimore and the arena," Remesch said. "Operationally, it's not a concern. Now it's a matter of finding a date and making it work financially for both sides."

Smaller venues would also jump at the chance to host a Zbikowski fight. Michael's Eighth Avenue, a wedding hall in Glen Burnie, hosts several "Ballroom Boxing" events each year. Scott Wagner, vice president of Michael's Eighth Avenue, said that hosting a Zbikowski fight at his 1,500-seat venue would be a "no-brainer."

"Even the possibility to have him fight at Michael's is thrilling," Wagner said.

xcxjmeoli@baltsun.com

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