The label "boxing promoter" conjures up images of Don King: hair standing on end, illuminated in the flashbulb glare of a Las Vegas news conference, 50-cent words flying on a voice that hits the ear with the force of a roundhouse punch.
Mat Tinley is a boxing promoter. But he is not Don King. Tinley is the founder of Denver-based America Presents, one of the top five boxing promotion companies in the world, America Presents has its own gym, on Evans Avenue in Denver; one of boxing's name promoters, Dan Goossen, who runs the company's Las Vegas operation, and a batch of could-be boxing superstars.
It even has a big name in its camp, for now - Mike Tyson. The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, convicted rapist and ex-con may be on the downside of his career, but he remains, as Goossen puts it, "the only guy who can bring in $100 million in a night for pay-per view."
And America Presents has Tinley, a soft-spoken man trying not be King even as he strives to become just as big. Tinley wants America Presents to be a different kind of boxing promoter.
"We run this business with a clear conscience," he says, speaking from his sunny comer office near the top of a Cherry Creek office building. An imported CD from the alternative band Radiohead hums quietly in the background. "I love boxing," he said. "I think it's a metaphor for life. I'm in here to try to generally help people ... achieve their dreams."
Those words almost echo another Denver promoter of boxing, the late Bill Daniels. And with good reason. Daniels practically raised Tinley, a Denver native, after Tinley's father died when his son was 7. Tinley still echoes his mentor in many ways. America Presents, for example, has been pretty successful. Revenues have doubled almost every year since the company started in 1996. "We're growing, and we're well on our way to having $100 million a year in turnover," Tinley said. America Presents has "more than" 20 full-time employees: matchmakers who help put fighters and bouts together, people who deal with television and Internet rights, production people, and those who handle public relations and logistics. And lawyers, too.
"Regrettably, they're on the payroll," Tinley said. "It's a very litigious business." America Presents has had legal issues with its fighters, and even the Tyson relationship hasn't turned out to be what Tinley and Goossen had hoped. Goossen said America Presents will be involved in just one more fight with...