Ex-C.B. 3 Chair McWater not pulling any punches in new career

Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin won by T.K.O. on the undercard of Saturday night’s big fight at Madison Square Garden. He is represented by David McWater’s Split-T Management. Photo by Damien Acevedo

Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin won by T.K.O. on the undercard of Saturday night’s big fight at Madison Square Garden. He is represented by David McWater’s Split-T Management. Photo by Damien Acevedo

BY JACK BROWN | David McWater, the former four-time chairperson of Community Board 3 and an East Village bar owner, has taken his new show on the road. McWater’s Split-T Management is a rising star in the world of boxing.

Following his resignation from C.B. 3 in September 2013, McWater discovered a new passion as a manager and agent for boxers.

Using tactical thinking and personal diplomacy that he honed in the rough and tumble of community board politics, he is now innovating in the sport of boxing. Specifically, McWater has developed a proprietary software that uses statistical analysis to determine which prospects are most likely to become world champions. This is where most of the money is made.

In short, he is becoming the “Moneyball” Billy Beane of boxing.

“D-MAC” believes his approach is seven times as efficient as that of Bob’s Top Rank. This will create a profit-making machine as Split-T develops its stable of talent.

However, statistics tell only part of the story. The essential component is McWater’s ability to recruit a prospect — in other words, personal rapport.

McWater says he won’t be satisfied until Split-T represents half the ranked fighters. It’s clearly an ambitious goal, but not impossible given D-MAC’s accomplishments.

After Charles Conwell, second from left, won a bout to secure a spot on the 2016 Olympic boxing team, he was joined by, from left, Soul City coach Roshawn Jones, coach Leroy Carter Jr., David McWater and coach Otha Jones.

In December 2015, after Charles Conwell, second from right, won a bout to secure a spot on the 2016 Olympic boxing team, he was joined by, from left, Soul City coach Roshawn Jones, coach Leroy Carter Jr., David McWater and coach Otha Jones.

He caught boxing fever from his mentor, the colorful boxing lifer / promoter Don Elbaum.

“I always sat ringside and got so much blood on my suits,” McWater recalled.

He was headed in that direction but his East Village bar business, Fly Catcher, was taking off. Eventually, McWater amassed 16 taverns, making him the largest single bar owner in the city.

As he built up his bar business, he also became a civic leader. He joined C.B. 3 and quickly rose to chairperson. One of his crowning achievements was spearheading the Seward Park Urban Redevelopment Area negotiations with the Bloomberg administration.

Ultimately, this initiated the development of 9 acres of land below Houston St. that had lain fallow amid contention for nearly 50 years. Today, the Essex Crossing project — a mix of affordable and market-rate housing — is currently underway on the SPURA site.

In addition, McWater played a leading role in negotiating the rezoning of 96 square blocks of the East Village and Lower East Side, which will help to ensure that the low-scale, residential character of the community is preserved.

Some would say this places McWater right up there among the city’s “rezoning czars,” sort of like an East Village Robert Moses, if you will — and that he set a high-water mark for a community board chairperson.

However, some might argue that McWater’s C.B. 3 legacy is mixed, in that he was accused of being too pro-bar. And, in fact, it was when community activist groups, like the LES Dwellers, began to fight back most stridently against bar proliferation that McWater ultimately threw in the towel and resigned from the board.

At any rate, McWater’s “ring” nowadays is boxing, not community activism.

Split-T uses national-level boxing tournaments — the sport’s “minor leagues” — as its recruiting ground.

He holds meet-and-greets in hotel suites.

“We show that we’re regular people and we do what we say,” he explained. This genuine, personal approach is proving effective. Split-T has signed a healthy percentage of the boxers who have competed for or made the last two U.S. Olympic boxing teams.

Teofimo Lopez, a lightweight who grew up in Brooklyn but fought for Honduras in the Rio Games last year, is among the boxers represented by McWater.

“I love David. He’s like a father,” said Lopez’s father, who is also his trainer.

This past Friday night, Lopez won by knockout at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. He is now 3-0 with three knockouts as a pro.

Another Split-T fighter, Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin, a 5-foot-11 lightweight, who is now 18-0, won by T.K.O. on the pay-per-view undercard of the Golovkin vs. Jacobs middleweight bout on Saturday night. It was a big weekend for Split-T.

McWater and promoter Lou DiBella are eyeing a championship fight for Martin in late 2017.

When McWater came to New York to attend New York University, he aspired to become “the white Malcom X — fighting for justice.” As a young basketball player in Norman Oklahoma, he traveled to area inner cities to sharpen his basketball chops. Many of the boxers he signs are from the inner cities of Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia.

McWater is continuing his self-appointed role as “a sentry” — sticking up for and defending those who can’t defend themselves. Ironically, in working with boxers, he is representing those who attack and defend for a living.

“I travel constantly and I’m on the phone 24/7,” McWater said. “But I’m having the time of my life.”

Can Split-T really rise to be an equal to Top Rank and represent half of the ranked fighters? Knowing McWater, he’s definitely got way more than a puncher’s chance.

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