On the bottom floor of the Top Rank Boxing offices, there is an unlabeled white door. Beyond that, a steel door that resembles an oversized bank vault. Beyond that, a third door; and, finally, a room filled with thousands of tapes.
Of Top Rank’s dozens of employees, only a handful are allowed inside. They need a key fob, a safe combination and a key to gain entry. The tapes occupy a series of gray metal shelves in a cramped room with no windows. The room they enter has its own generator and is built to withstand natural disasters, fires, even bombs.
If that all seems excessive, consider the value of the contents stacked inside. Those tapes number over 10,000, date back to 1970 and contain, by conservative estimate, at least 25,000 fights. Muhammad Ali is in there. So are Roberto Duran, George Foreman, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
"If the building blew up, the vault survives," says Todd DuBoef, Top Rank’s president. "They told us we could rent out space in the vault to banks or casinos to stash valuables."
It’s hard to quantify just how much the collection is worth. It’s like art in that way, valuable only if someone is willing to pay for it. Still, one boxing archive sold to ESPN years ago for a reported $100 million.