In the ring, boxers are forced to look tough. With a career, reputation and oftentimes money on the line, it’s a necessity. But, according to Bristol Borough native Michelle Rosado, founder of the boxing promotion business Raging Babe, one thing never fails to turn these guys into big softies outside the ring – their moms.
“They’re animalistic. But when you talk to them about their mother, they become babies. They melt for their mom because the facts are, most of these kids, these fighters, didn’t have a father. Most of them come from the inner city, broken home, broken family,” Rosado explained. “It was the mom mainly making the sacrifices, working two or three jobs so he could go to his amateur tournament, so he could buy boxing shoes, so he could pursue his dream of being a boxer. The mother, she’s the core.”
In order to spotlight these unsung heroes, Rosado is set to launch Boxing Moms – a web series on YouTube and IGTV that chronicles the pain and glory of the mothers of boxing’s toughest athletes, both professional and up-and-coming.
“For the past few years, I have worked on the promotional side and I have to deal with all of the fighters. But I find that I end up dealing with the mother. The moms are the real backbone, from hustling the tickets to getting the paperwork done, the licensing, signing the contract, faxing it in,” said Rosado. “The mom is really in charge and she’s really, really involved in her son’s career a lot more than most people would think.”
Filming for Boxing Moms begins this week in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with the first episode of the series airing at a TBD date at the end of the month. Each episode will feature a different mother, and provide a behind-the-scenes look at their lives as they balance countless demands.
“These moms have to navigate motherhood, boxing life and then their own family and romantic relationships. So the boxing mom is juggling everything. And it can be really tough because their sons are in a brutal sport. They’re watching their son get hit in the head for a living,” Rosado said. “Some of them have been taken advantage of and the mom, she notices everything – the highs, the lows. She’s on it.”
When Rosado began tossing around the idea for Boxing Moms, she was met with resistance.
“A lot of people were pushing me to do boxing wives, boxing girlfriends. And I said, ‘No, man. I think it’s the boxing moms that have the story.’”
Even when Rosado had the opportunity to work on a show about women in boxing for VH1, she refused to dramatically alter her concept.
“They wanted to turn it into Basketball Wives. They wanted it to be Love & Hip Hop, those real popular shows you see on VH1. I said, ‘We don’t need groupies. We don’t need to fabricate drama,’ ” she reflected. “It’s real. It’s there. There’s nothing harder than boxing. There’s nothing more drama-filled than boxing, in the business, in the family, with the fighters, with the girls. But that’s the direction they wanted to go in, and I gracefully bowed out. There’s no amount of money that was going to let me take my idea and turn it into something ratchet.”
Rosado wants Boxing Moms to be “tasteful” and “classy,” all while inciting emotion in viewers.
“Hopefully, we’ll get enough good, authentic material that everybody loves it. I want them to laugh, I want them to cry, I want them to understand the glory and the agony that these moms go through with their sons,” Rosado said. “A lot of them don’t make money in the beginning. Some of these guys, it takes them 20 fights before they even see decent money. Well, guess what? The mom is still working a 9-5. She’s still pulling double shifts. She’s still supporting her son and his career and his dreams. They don’t have money. Some of them are living in the projects.”
The series is being produced by award-winning sports agency Break Media Group, which Rosado praised for embracing her vision.
“Boxing Moms will bring back some of my signature emotional storytelling that I’m recognized for,” said Break Media co-founder Jay Chaudhry. “It will share stories from the heart, and really show what it’s like being in the shoes of some of the real influential women in boxing – mothers.”
Boxing Moms is a passion project for Rosado, who is using her own money to make it a reality. Still, she believes its unique take on the boxing world will be attractive, and she hopes to have it picked up by a network such as ESPN, Fox or HBO.
“I just really want to tell their stories. Being a boxing promoter, I’ve met so many boxing moms. I have cheered with them, I have cried with them, I have argued with them,” Rosado said. “They’re fierce, they’re fighters and they’re the unsung heroes in the ring.” ••
Search “Raging Babe” on YouTube and Instagram for updates on Boxing Moms.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org