You do not have to look far to see the fascination celebrities have on the sport of boxing.
Actors and athletes from other sports sit ringside at major fights. Others visit gyms of well-known boxers, while there are those who put out fight predictions on their social media pages.
While not every actor was lucky enough to put on trunks or lace up gloves like Sylvester Stallone, some try to find other avenues to be as part of the sport they casually or religiously follow.
One actor will have the distinction of not only taking in the action, but stepping in the ring and becoming much more involved than most of his fellow colleagues.
Actor and comedian Kevin Pollak will be the master of ceremonies tonight of the inaugural King Sports Worldwide card at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA. The promotional company was started by entertainment entrepreneur Michael King.
Pollak began his career in stand-up before transitioning to the big screen and most recently on a network series. He has starred in such movies as Ricochet (1991), A Few Good Men (1992), The Usual Suspects (1995), Casino (1995), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), and The Wedding Planner (2001). He currently stars in the CBS comedy sitcom, "Mom."
While he is not filming or residing in his hometown of San Francisco, CA, Pollak follows the fight game very closely. He attends live shows when he can, whether they are big pay-per-view cards in Las Vegas or local club shows.
Michael King, head of King Sports Worldwide, wanted to tie in Hollywood with boxing for his first show and could not think of another person who has a passion for the sport to be his master of ceremonies.
"We want to bring together world-class, competitive boxing and entertainment to make 'Boxing at Barker' an event like no other," said King in a press release. "Kevin shares my passion for boxing and King Sports mission to re-think what fans come to expect when they attend a boxing event."
Like any die-hard or casual boxing fan, Pollak has wants to see the sport flourish for years to come. He believes in the vision of Michael King and his contribution to boxing.
"King Sports is building a foundation, which launches Wednesday, where they're putting out the future of world-class boxing," Pollak told Boxingscene.com in an interview on Monday afternoon. "There's world-class talent all over this card. There's evenly-matched fights with no predetermined outcome. Each one of these fights is spectacular and I totally stand behind what Michael is doing."
"Michael's idea of bringing glitz to a venue like this is great. There will be athletes and Hollywood show-biz people there."
The five-bout card will have four 10 round bouts. Unbeaten heavyweight prospects Alexander Flores and Charles Martin square off for Southern California bragging rights. Welterweights Chris Van Heerden fights Ray Nahr in a crossroads bout.
Rounding out the card is a super middleweight battle between Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam and Fernando Zuniga, including a cruiserweight bout between Yunier Dorticos and Eric Fields.
After a great 2013, fight fans have taken to social media to vent their frustrations from a lack of competitive fights or too many showcase fights, especially lately on HBO and Showtime. Pollak believes the fights taking place tonight could give the networks and other promoters a run for their money.
"This is an exciting game and the idea King Sports of discovering new talent with impressive records and bringing them to the fight fans is something that I believe in. We're refocusing on what boxing should be and that doesn't include showcase fights."
"In my opinion, boxing should be focusing more on newer talent. Networks should be focused on talented fighters at 29, not 49 like Bernard Hopkins."
As a master of ceremonies, Pollak does not want to take away from the fighters, but he wants to enhance the show through comedy.
Standing in the ring before a few thousand people will not phase Pollak, considering his years of stand-up and performing numerous times before live studio audiences.
"Being a fight fan for as long as I've been, I'm going to bring that spirit and passion to the fights. I even came up with my own slogan of 'Who came here to see a fight?' It's simplistic and respectful to the fight game and the fans."
While not everyone will agree with Pollak about his views on the sport, just like any other fan, those views should always be respected. Maybe there is another method to improve or enhance the sport from different people, whether it is a diehard or casual fight fan.
One thing is certain that Pollak will always stick by the sport he has loved since watching the first fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
There will always be celebrities that will continue tuning in or attend major fight cards just as your average fan. Whether it is Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Omar Epps, George Lopez, Mario Lopez or even those that buy the $25 nosebleed seats, they will always talk or eager to put in their two cents as ways to improve the fight game.
Pollak just so happens to be lucky enough as a fan to be affiliated with a promoter who believes in a product that could be successful to sell to the boxing public.
"Each one of these fights will be spectacular. There's no lack of talent and King Sports will continue to create opportunities in boxing."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing