"If a guy used to be a neo-Nazi and has a big swastika on his back and can't take it off, what are they going to do, not let him fight?"
Thus rages Eric Amgar of GoldenPalace.com, an online casino that likes to etch its logo in henna tattoos on boxers' backs. The source of his indignation: the Nevada Athletic Commission's unanimous vote last week to ban such tattoos in NAC-sponsored bouts.
The NAC—the same group that won't let Mike Tyson fight again in Nevada—was none too pleased to see Golden Palace-inscribed boxers Leonard Dorin and Bernard Hopkins in the ring. NAC executive director Marc Ratner called the tattoos "demeaning to the sport" and "distracting" to the judges. NAC counsel Keith Kizer tells Shoptalk they violate state regulations requiring boxers to have "proper attire and proper costume."
Amgar, GoldenPalace's coordinator of live sports and promo tions, refrained from biting anyone over the ruling. But he's not content simply to compare his boxer-models to skin heads. "This is a sport in which two people beat each other to a pulp," he says. "It's hard to talk about taste. These [boxers] don't care about taste, they care about putting their kids through college."
Hopping-mad GoldenPalace.com will likely file for an injunction and take the case to court, Amgar says. "This is free speech, the First Amendment, and we plan to take it all the way."