So, how does Pat Holmes Sr. celebrate his induction into the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame?
By putting on another fight card.
Holmes has spent the past 20-plus years training boxers and helping promote fights in the state, and the fruits of his labor continue to produce. Such as when his friend and veteran ring announcer Mike Adams gave him a call Sept. 12 with good news: Holmes, 46, will be among a class of seven individuals to be honored Oct. 27 in Albuquerque.
“He wanted to be the one to call me because he was announcing it on his sports program,” Holmes said. “I was kinda stunned. I didn’t really expect it. I know they nominated me. I wasn’t thinking that I would get it at all.”
It wasn’t like he was waiting for “The Call” — Holmes was busy coordinating his latest fight card at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, titled Sound of Thunder, that is set for Saturday. The card will feature longtime Holmes boxer Antonio “Tone” Martinez of Española, Albuquerque phenom Matthew “Diamond Boy” Griego and Cordova’s Leanna Martinez in the main events.
That the card will likely be sold out yet again — only 47 tickets remained for the bout to solidify a 19th straight sellout at the casino — signifies Holmes’ acumen as a promoter in Northern New Mexico.
But the people who are in his camp say it’s more than that.
“He will take care of the people he takes care of first before himself,” said Rai Dominguez, who has handled security for Holmes for the past 17 years. “He’s a family man, and he’s with God. When he talks to you, you can count on his word.”
That’s because he built a career on learning the fight game and how to navigate it. He started off as a trainer in the mid-1990s, which led him to marketing smaller fights in Santa Fe. By 1999, he decided to make a career out of it, and caught his first break thanks to legendary Albuquerque boxers Johnny Tapia and Danny Romero.
Holmes met English promoter Frank Warren to work on a 2000 Cinco de Mayo fight card in Las Cruces that had Tapia and Romero on separate fights. Within a couple of months, Holmes coordinated with Showtime, which was broadcasting the event, and got one of the largest auto dealerships in Las Cruces to run a $50,000 advertising campaign
“And Frank Warren didn’t even get here,” Holmes said. “He sent some of his people here about a week before the fight, and I had that thing gift-wrapped for them.”
Holmes also managed to work in fight camps with Tapia, Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, honing his craft for what was yet to come — making the fight game a family business. He started training and promoting sons Pat Holmes Jr. and Brandon Holmes by 2013, and made a breakthrough on Brandon’s inaugural fight — getting him time on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights broadcast in January of 2013. Brandon scored a knockout despite battling the flu and began to build his career before retiring with a 10-0 mark.
Pat Holmes Jr. went 6-1 in his career before he, too, called it quits about two years ago after suffering hand injuries that kept setting back his next fight.
Meanwhile, Pat Sr. kept moving forward, developing Antonio Martinez into a strong marketing tool with his Española fan base and finding a burgeoning talent in Leanna Martinez, who also made her debut on TV in a 2017 fight card. Pat Sr. said he does not know when he’ll call it a career as a promoter and trainer, but he knows that his love for boxing has endured over the years.
“There are days in this sport where it feels like a crazy ex-girlfriend,” Pat Sr. said. “You’re in love with it so much one day, but the next, you’re ready to drop her. You end up forgiving her and take her back, then she forgives you and takes you back. Then, you’re together when you thought you’d break up a decade ago. I’m not sure how far I will go, but I’m very fortunate because it keeps giving me another year.”
Sound of Thunder tickets
Anyone interested in purchasing tickets for Saturday’s fight card can call 505-795-2772.