Sports commission head to use 80% of time for boxing team
By Zachary S. Fagenson
The head of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission is to spend nearly all his time as general manager of the Miami Gallos, the county's newly minted professional boxing franchise, during the coming months.
But the move will afford the commission more staff than it has had in recent years.
Commission Executive Director Mike Sophia is to "devote no less than 80% of his time to the affairs of the World Series of Boxing" during its one-year agreement with the commission, according to a contract between the two.
The commission's board, however, has yet to approve the contract, though the agency has already begun doing some of the work for the team, whose season begins Nov. 16.
Mr. Sophia said he's waiting on board chair and county Commissioner José "Pepe" Diaz to set a date for the vote.
Meanwhile, Assistant Director Heather Wasek will "assume some of my responsibilities and the additional staff we're able to bring on," Mr. Sophia said. He'll remain responsible for overseeing the commission, working with its board and handling financial matters.
The contract also requires the commission to hire several new hands to help run the boxing franchise and will pay it $341,000 for services and provide about a $2 million budget to manage the team.
But the real reason for taking on the team, Mr. Sophia said, is to help expand the commission's capabilities.
"All told, we'll have more staff hours available for the sports commission than we've had in last two or three years," Mr. Sophia said. The "directors of marketing, event operations [for boxing] are people that we're going to be able to use for" sports commission work.
Much of the staff's time, including his, will be spent making sure the home matches of Miami Gallos are promoted and go off without a hitch, he said. As the season progresses, he added, he expects the workload to ease and staff to dedicate more time to other projects.
"If I have 120 hours a week of staff time I can apply to the sports commission and now, because of resources, I've got 240 hours, that's 100 more hours as a result of this deal," Mr. Sophia said.
While the sports commission looks forward to having additional hands, World Series of Boxing owner International Boxing Association hopes the new format will reinvigorate the sport.
Being eligible to compete in Olympic boxing, unlike basketball, requires athletes to be amateurs. With amateur and professional status governed by each sport's international body, the World Series of Boxing offers the sport's most promising athletes the ability to earn a living while also maintaining their eligibility.
The season includes 12 events, six in Miami at the AmericanAirlines Arena and six at venues around the world. They kick off Nov. 16 and run until mid-March. If the Miami team, whose name and logo are still in the trademark process, moves into the playoffs, additional matches are to be scheduled during April and May.
The series is to include 12 international teams each with 18 fighters. Along with Miami, Los Angeles, Nashville and Mexico City represent the Americas.