Longtime boxing promoter Michael Acri, who helped e-book the late-career comebacks of hall of Famers Hector Camacho Sr. and Roberto Duran, and guided Paul Spadafora to a light-weight world title, died on Sunday at his home in Erie, Pennsylvania. He was 63. (image by way of Erie times-information)
Acri had battled pancreatic cancer for the past 2½ years however persisted to work unless shortly before his demise. His last primary task was as a co-producer on the seriously acclaimed documentary “Macho: The Hector Camacho Story,” which debuted on Showtime in December.
“Mike had a good run and he may still be on the corridor of fame ballot. He became totally a success in boxing and he was very sensible,” spoke of promoter Lou DiBella, a chum of Acri’s for some 30 years and company associate, who realized of his loss of life in a Tuesday morning mobilephone call with his sister, Marci Acri.
“Acri changed into likely some of the first people I grew to become pleasant with in boxing. He had an incredible boxing intellect. people who helped my boxing advantage have been guys like Eddie Futch, Emanuel Steward, Bruce Trampler and Russell Peltz. Acri is also on that record. His mind for boxing changed into staggering.”
Acri spent near forty years within the boxing company but changed into superior generic for his work with Camacho, Duran and Spadafora.
Acri labored with Camacho from 1994 to 2000 and saved him busy as he went 29-1-1 all through their time collectively and turned into a staple of the old “Tuesday night Fights” series on u . s . a . network. Acri additionally secured some of Camacho’s biggest fights, together with a fifth-round knockout win that despatched Sugar Ray Leonard into everlasting retirement in 1997 adopted by a call loss to Oscar De La Hoya in a welterweight world title fight later that year.
Acri additionally promoted Duran for a couple of decade, within the late Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Nineties, together with Duran’s upset win over Iran Barkley to trap the WBC middleweight title in 1989, a decision loss to Leonard in their rubber match later in 1989 and his pair of fights against Vinny Pazienza in 1994 and 1995.
“Mike and Camacho together was hilarious. It turned into the equal with Duran,” DiBella talked about. “I don’t recognize what number of dinners I had with them and they have been a rise up. It became at all times enjoyable being with them. Mike became a very underrated promoter. He turned into a extremely first rate promoter. He became a man I realized a whole lot from.”
all the way through the mid-Nineties, Acri begun promotion Spadafora, a young prospect from Pittsburgh, who he developed into an appeal. He ultimately guided Spadafora to the IBF lightweight world title in 1999 with a decision win over Israel “Pito” Cardona. Eight a success defenses followed between 1999 and 2003 and several appearances on ESPN2 and HBO.
Acri continued to work with Spadafora following his title run besides the fact that children the variety of events he became involved in diminished. The last card Acri promoted was in 2012 but he on no account lost his ardour for boxing and became sought out through many in the enterprise for his guidance in more contemporary years.
“whether he knew you or no longer, his door was always open to any person who turned into in the hunt for information,” said Fred Sternburg, who knew Acri for many years and worked as a publicist for him for many years. “He handled all and sundry the equal, with appreciate and honesty. There was in no way any pretense with Mike. He fell in love with boxing as a boy and regarded himself fortunate to work in a business he cherished. His fighters considered him family, and that was a feeling he always reciprocated.”
Acri grew up a boxing fan in Erie and started out within the enterprise doing public members of the family work for corridor of repute matchmaker and promoter Don Elbaum, a fellow Erie, native, in the early 1980s. He later worked with matchmaker Al Braverman before branching out into merchandising.
“Mike not ever handled boxing like a job. It turned into a love,” Sternburg referred to. “He by no means had a large solid and that was by design. He wanted to be competent give his undivided attention to every fighter he signed. He felt a responsibility to them.
“The superior word to describe Mike is ‘loyal.’ If he changed into your friend, he become your chum for life. He at all times kept a self belief, and in boxing, where gossip is king, it really is challenging forex.”
among other opponents Acri promoted had been former heavyweight contender Donovan “Razor” Ruddock and Robert Daniels right through his 1989 to 1991 cruiserweight world title reign.
In 2018, Acri became inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing corridor of reputation.
Dan Rafael became ESPN.com’s senior boxing author for fifteen years, and lined the activity for five years at u . s . a . these days. He become the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.