Dylan Marer encountered even more skepticism than he was warned he’d need to endure after his group stunningly won a purse bid August 30 and earned the right to promote the Jose Zepeda-Regis Prograis 140-pound title fight.
The boxing industry is full of perpetual pessimists who’ve been burned by supposedly deep-pocketed players who enter this risky business with grand plans that typically don’t pan out. Marer – whose company, Legendz Entertainment, has partnered with promoter MarvNation on the Zepeda-Prograis event – has slowly but surely tried to convince them that he has the financial resources required to handle an event of this magnitude and that he intends to remain in the boxing business after his company produces Zepeda-Prograis on Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
“A lot of people were very skeptical as to whether we have the financial backing to do this or not,” Marer told BoxingScene.com. “They were worried because there are other companies out there, and I won’t mention any names, that have been stiffing a lot of people in the industry. And it’s horrible. But people have checked up on who I am, what my capabilities are and the relationships that I have in my side of the industry, and I think it’s opened up the doors. … I feel like the tide is turning through action.”
The Beverly Hills-based Marer has 35 years of experience in the event production and entertainment industries. One of his ventures, Legendz Entertainment, is handling the production aspect of a five-fight per-per-view show that’ll start at 9 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. PT.
A longtime boxing fan, Marer had been considering entering the business for quite some time. He didn’t take the seven-figure plunge until his friend, Roger Ruiz, a former manager of Ryan Garcia, convinced him to bid on the Zepeda-Prograis fight for the unclaimed WBC super lightweight title.
Marer contemplated getting his own promoter’s license, but he decided to remain on the production side and collaborate with a promoter. Thanks to Marer’s assistance, MarvNation – a small, Southern California company that lists just four fighters on its roster – submitted a winning bid of $2.4 million to secure the rights to Zepeda-Prograis.
MarvNation’s bid was twice as much as the second-highest offer, the $1,260,050 submission from TGB Promotions on behalf of Premier Boxing Champions. Probellum, Prograis’ promoter, bid $1,060,000, and Zanfer Promotions, Zepeda’s co-promoter, submitted an offer of $1,004,500.
As per WBC rules, 10 percent of the winning bid, $240,000, has been placed in escrow as a bonus for the winner. The remaining $2,160,000 has been split 50-50 between the number one-ranked Zepeda (36-2, 28 KOs, 2 NC) and the second-ranked Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs), who are guaranteed to earn $1,080,000 apiece.
“I know that we bid high,” Marer said. “We’re proud that we bid high because we feel these fighters are worth it. We want them to take it as seriously as we do, and we want people to know that we’re here to do this right and do this in a really serious way. We wanted to make a very serious statement as we launch Legendz into the boxing industry.”
Committing almost $2.5 million in purses for the main event alone assured that this event would be made available via pay-per-view. Its price point is $59.99, lower than many pay-per-view events in the United States, but still substantial for a fight that, while intriguing, ideally would be broadcast live on cable television or through a streaming service.
Nevertheless, bidding twice as much as any competitor hasn’t made Marer reluctant to move forward with another event in 2023.
“This is not a one-off,” Marer said. “We’re already in talks for looking at some future business. I don’t know if I would wanna do a purse bid again. A purse bid is sort of like a gun put to your head because you’ve got  days to put together what should be put together in about four months, six months. And that’s one thing that I didn’t anticipate. I was given some bad information as I came in. I was told I could get an extension and that didn’t happen.
“It was  days and [the WBC] meant it. That’s been the challenge, putting it all together, finding venues in the fourth quarter of the year. All the major venues were full, which was one of the reasons we pushed it into the holiday weekend. But because people are home and there’s nothing really going on, I think we have an opportunity to do really, really well.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.