Christmas Comes Early for Two B&B Boxing Prospects
Steven Nelson & Kent Cruz Officially Sign with Top Rank
By Bill Green
When asked as to how former Omaha native Light heavyweight prospect Steven “So Cold” Nelson 9-0 (8) stays focused he stated, “You wait, you check your phone daily, you go to the gym, and you keep grinding each day.”
Since turning pro that’s exactly what the fast talking and power punching charismatic Nelson has accomplished. But fight after fight, most of the time fighting for a low purse in effort to make sure his team could secure an opponent willing to get in the ring with him. But he started just for a moment to self-doubt. Nelson stated “I wondered if this boxing thing is just going to be part-time, maybe it’s time to start a career. Maybe it’s just not in the cards, sure I know I can fight and I know I can beat most of these guys that are already making nice bread, but I must pay those bills, you know what I’m saying.” But every time I would feel this way BoMac and Bud would say “be patient, it’s coming.”
On November 17, 2017, that time, that phone call, finally rang. On the other end, his manager Brian “BoMac” McIntyre, would cut to the chase and say, “I got some good news for you, young fella, get your shit in order, because you just got signed by Top Rank.”
Nelson would go on to tell me “You never know with Bo because he likes to play jokes, but honestly, something told me right away in his voice that this was for real."
BG: Congratulations, we are extremely happy for you and can’t wait to see your career take off
under the guidance of a World class promotional company such as Top Rank.
Nelson: Thanks BG, I would like to thank all you guys for believing in me, I literally left the gym when Bo called me with the news, and now I’m heading back there. Because when you get a call like that…. you want to prove that your worth it even more.
BG: What do you believe Top Rank saw in you and now officially decided to invest in you?
Nelson: I mean hopefully, they see how I carry myself, that I’m an entertainer, I can box or bang, I’m disciplined and determined.
BG: In 2018, why should people watch you live on ESPN?
Nelson: You never know what you are going to see, you may get Blade slicing you up, you may get Sub Zero icing you, you may get Apollo Creed dancing all over you or Hannibal Lecter stopping you to the liver. But one thing I can guarantee is … you can see them raise my hand time after time.
Kent “The Puerto Rican” Sensation 14-0 (9), of St Louis, MO, had a similar journey to where he
is at, but yet had plenty of empty promises and major road blocks along the way.
The super-lightweight former top amateur has always believed in his skills but through “positive thinking” stated “honestly, I became a father and a man at 19, bills started coming in by what seemed truck loads, car payments, house payments etc. It’s tough because you tell yourself be strong, keep grinding but yes of course you heard it all before.”
After several promotional and management issues were cleared, Cruz would meet Brian “BoMac” McIntyre and the pair hit it off right away. “I always believed in what he was saying then and now. I remember thinking, finally I’m in good hands.” BoMac would tell him time after time, “big things are coming, we are going to get you a couple tune-ups, get you ranked and get you in camp with us.”
When Cruz’s phone rang this afternoon, he expected more of the same from BoMac “I thought he was just checking on me, ready to talk about where we are at, what’s next, you know. When he calls it’s not just for chit-chat, it’s usually good business, so at the same time I was curious.” But when I heard the words “I got you signed.” I wise like “Oh dam, I got super excited. I’m like I’m not going to disappoint you or let you down, I’m going to quit my job and everything I’m all
BoMac was like “slow down laughing, relax, get your life together, were going to get everything lined up for camp first part of the year.Cruz would go on to add “But I doubt I sleep tonight, I’m ready to put this work in and make my city, family and team proud along the way.
BG: Congratulations, we are extremely happy for you. How do you feel about signing with Top Rank?
Cruz: They have a reputation of building champions. The right way too. Cotto was with them, Oscar, Floyd, you name them. I’m super blessed.
BG: ESPN/Top Rank contract will produce 18 shows alone in 2018, what can fight fans expect from you when you hit that big stage?
Cruz: I have fought on a large stage with PBC, but this is different because the team isn’t pieced together. These guys did great business back in the 80’s and now they are going to do it again. I simply can’t wait.
It is true that Christmas may have come early for Steve and Kent but look for some late knockout presents by both to show right up on your television sets in early 2018.
Happy holidays and remember…. never stop following your dreams.