In an exclusive interview with Saddoboxing ringside at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino, on Friday evening, November 14, 2014, Pennsylvania boxing promoter Joey Intrieri AKA ‘Joey Eye’ as he is professionally known, discussed his rise to prominence as a Philadelphia Pennsylvania boxing promoter, and the status of the Philadelphia area boxing scene today.
Pennsylvania boxing promoter Joey Eye is best known for his role as one of the top cut men in the corner, working with professional boxers in the Northeastern United States. He also ambitiously promotes his own local boxing shows in ‘The Room’ at Harrah’s Philadelphia, located in Chester, Pennsylvania (a Philadelphia suburb), showcasing local prospects on the way up in co-promotion with XFE and other Pennsylvania sports promoters.
Saddoboxing: “Joey, you are well-known in your role as a boxing cutman. How did you you come interested in boxing? Where did it all start?”
Joey Eye: “When I was ten years old, I got to appear in the Rocky II movie. I was one of the kids in the Rocky movie. From that point, I got involved in Pennsylvania mateur boxing, and then professional boxing, as a promoter, cutman and gym owner.”
Saddoboxing: “When did you becoming interest in promoting professional boxing shows on your own?”
Joey Eye: “I acquired an interest in promoting boxing around the year 2000. I was working a lot of shows as the cutman in the corner. I was being paid to work at horrible fights. I thought to myself, people are being paid. My being in the fight game myself, I thought, I thought I could (do a better job of) giving people their money’s worth, what people want to see, good old-fashioned old school boxing.”
Saddoboxing: “Why did you ultimately decide to use Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino as your venue? Its location in Chester (just outside of the Philadelphia city limits on the outskirts) in an inconvenient industrial area is kind of out of the way. Harrah’s Philadelphia has considerable following now after using publicity to establish itself over of years. A new casino may be approved soon downtown Philadelphia, which could impact Harrah’s Philadelphia economically by creating convenient casino competition in vicinity.”
Joey Eye: “Harrah’s happened in the Summer of 2000, right out the time the Blue Horizon went down (Philadelphia’s best known boxing venue, which suddenly closed). I kept getting contacted by the Entertainment Director of Harrah’s. I turned them down twice. I thought, who wants to go to Chester to a boxing match, at a place located behind a state prison? Harrah’s (finally) convinced me to come down and look at the place. Historically speaking, I became the first promoter to promote boxing at a casino in Pennsylvania.”
Saddoboxing: “Now reporters cover boxing matches at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Sands Bethlehem, and Valley Forge Casino in King-of-Prussia. So what was the first boxing match of the first show you promoted at Harrah’s Philadelphia?”
Joey Eye: “Good question. It was Victor Vasquez versus Osnel Charles. I was very nervous that day. I thought nobody would show up. The fighters did do very decent (they fought well on the first card I promoted). We had a good crowd.”
Saddoboxing: “When is your next card scheduled for? How many cards will you promote in 2015?”
Joey Eye:”Our first boxing card of 2015 is tentatively scheduled for January 23, 2015, and will feature Pennsylvania Cruiserweight champion Anthony Caputo Smith. Joey Eye Boxing currently promotes six shows a year at Harrah’s Philadelphia.”
Saddoboxing: “Joey, your boxing motto has always been ‘Keep on Punching’. What does your trademark expression mean to you, in terms of your involvement in the sport of boxing?”
Joey Eye: “My expression ‘keep on punching’ means to keep on trying, keep on moving, and as they said in the 1970’s, keep on trucking. The concept, it ain’t changed. If you want to get through life, you gotta keep on punching!”