They aren’t the same crowds, but there are those who mix with both occasionally. Most doing it out of respect for the family that has been a staple on the combative sports scene in New England for a quarter of a century.

Boxing champ and legend Vinny Pazienza comes to watch MMA bouts from time to time. He’s still “getting used to a lot of it,” but appreciates a good battle, having been through so many en route to lightweight, light middleweight, and super middleweight titles in the 1980’s and 90’s.

That and, “Jimmy is such a great guy, that’s the main reason I come out,” Vinny Paz explains, “We go back a long ways. I’ve seen a lot of Jimmy’s promotions, both Jimmys now you can say.”

The “Jimmys” are Burchfield SR and JR. Anyone who has followed boxing in New England speaks in respectfully glowing terms of Jimmy Sr. He has started careers, revived careers, and simply put on consistently entertaining fights.

Four years ago Jimmy Jr took their Classic Sports and Entertainment company into another territory, MMA. The Burchfields’ CES has cornered the fight game, both ring and cage, from Maine to Rhode Island. They are clam chowder and lobster; the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox of fighting. If it sounds embellished, it isn’t. Ask a fight fan in Worchester, or Bangor, or New Haven about the fight game in the area, they’ll instinctively say CES. As Vinny Paz sums it up, “They know how to run a class show. Everyone who had dealt with them know that.”

“He thought it was a market with possibilities. He had done the research and all the success is his,” says Jimmy, Sr of his son.

“There were some good gyms in the area some good fighters like John “Doomsday” Howard had made a name for themselves and it seemed like a good time to expand our involvement in the fight business. The talent pool was there,” Jimmy Jr explains.

Much as CES boxing has done, CES MMA is following suit. Howard found a rebirth in the organization after three straight losses in the UFC. He moved from welterweight to middleweight and won the CES title and was so impressive he returned to the UFC welterweight ranks with the blessings and support of Burchfield and CES. Howard fights Brian Ebersole next month.

“The CES was my second chance. I was down after (first time around) the UFC and had lost my focus. The CES helped me to guide myself back In the right direction. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have been back in the UFC. The CES is the next best to the UFC,” Boston native Howard says.

It was the launching pad for one of the hottest bantamweights in the UFC, Rob Font who made a dazzling debut knocking out George Roop less than three minutes into the bout. The former CES champ fights for a second time next month against Chris Beal.

“This was the platform for me. I had six back-to-back fights, the CES kept me so busy, cameras, photographers at every fight. They gave me recognition and got me recognition from the UFC. The CES can do this for any of us with dreams,” Font proclaims.

The balance of boxing and MMA works for CES because of the Burchfields who have a keen eye for talent, an appreciation for what a fighter goes through, and the business acumen of knowing how to carve a deep niche within their fan base. They are proud of those who have gone on to the bigger time of their sports There aren’t delusions of trying to compete with the money loaded, nationally established groups. They do it perfectly where they are and it is appreciated by their fans and fighters and obviously known and well regarded by the bigger boys in the sports.

With the success in both realms is there a combination boxing and MMA event in the future? Maybe a cage and a ring set up side by side alternating bouts?

“We’ve talked about it. I don’t know if it would work as well as having them separately,” Jimmy Sr notes.

“It’s going well for each of us right now. That’s good enough at the moment.” Jimmy Jr adds.

And that is why it works so well. The Jimmys have it all under control.


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