Greetings boxing fans. It’s a big week. Any time a summit meeting is eminent there is a buzz in the boxing world. That buzz usually hits a fever pitch the week of the fight. I enjoy these times because of the mainstream attention boxing receives. TV spots during the NBA playoffs are among the tidbits I get a kick out of. What’s sad is this used to be the norm, and not to get nostalgic on everyone, but boxing used to be a staple of terrestrial television, a mainstream entity that had continued relevance to the American public. Those days are gone now, so all we can do is enjoy the flashes of mainstream appeal that come our way. I will address Manny Pacquaio/Tim Bradley at the end of the notebook and give my official prediction.
I would like to introduce my notebook. Every week I will publish a summary of my notes and the conversations I am having with folks in the industry. I am not always going to include people you know, consider that part of your education. I am going to do my best to bring insiders to this magazine, and I will admit that the hot topics of the day will influence my directive. If there is anyone that you would like to see in the notebook shoot me a tweet and I will see what I can do. A big factor in the research I do will be the opinion of our readers. Thanks again guys, were off and running.
Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of speaking with soon to be inducted Hall of Famer Al Bernstein. Kudos to Adie Zuckerman, my new favorite person on earth. I had met Al in the past, but it was purely in passing as he was calling a fight and I was covering it. I would see him at press conferences and ringside. He is one of the more graceful human beings in the sport. He is as influential as well. I cannot remember the last time that Al Bernstein took a position that I deemed unreasonable. He did not fail to disappoint in our interview. We tackled a lot of issues to say the least. Al had just arrived in New York to receive the “Good Guy” award from the Boxing Writers Association of America(BWAA).
Your impression of Austin Trout?
I would not call his performance a breakout type of situation. Good performance, not a great performance. He registered a solid win against a decent fighter. Delvin Rodriguez is certainly a decent opponent and I thoughtAustin Trout did what he had to do, which was to get the win. In a way, he may have set himself up for a fight with Canelo BECAUSE he did not look so impressive. The fight looks safe right now.
So you believe that Austin Trout is a front-runner for the Canelo fight? Many on the radio show disagreed citing fighters with lackluster records as more suitable entrants.
No I would agree with you CJ, Austin Trout is certainly a front-runner to face Canelo, and his so-so performance may actually work in his favor.
Totally agreed! Thank goodness, I was hung in effigy over this issue Sunday night. Of course I want to get your thoughts on the disgraceful, anti social machinations of Kaydoe. Were you offended? He called the integrity of the network into question, suggesting that Showtime tipped the scales in Tarver’s favor.
I was not offended at all. I think that Kaydoe is an emotional guy who was in a high stakes situation. The fight meant a lot to him, and he lost it. As far as his comments about our integrity as announcers, and the network by and large, I did not really invest that much into it. I spoke with his manager Steven Spader after the fight and I have every reason to believe that the kid just made a mistake. Lets not rush to judge.
Speaking of calling the fight. What was it like to call an Antonio Tarver fight? He works alongside you in a Showtime Championship boxing capacity. Was that strange?
It did not enhance the situation. The best word I can use to describe my feelings on the situation is uncomfortable. It was uncomfortable. I was not crazy about it while I was doing it.
Thoughts on Winky Wright falling to a hungry Peter Quillin
Well as we all know, Winky Wright retired earlier today, so I would like to wish him well. He had a fine career, one that could land him in the hall. I believe that Peter Qullin put together an impressive performance, but not an overwhelming one. The fight was much more competitive then everyone believed going in. Winky landed some meaningful punches, and put some pressure on Peter in the middle rounds. Peter is a good young fighter who fits in with anyone at 160 pounds. I am excited to see where he goes from here. Winky Wright deserves a measure of respect as well. He went out on his shield in this fight. He should get a lot of respect for his performance.
The HALL OF FAME AL! You are set to be inducted. How cool is that dude?
The boxing world is extremely generous to those that are not fighters. I believe that I am the 7th broadcaster to be inducted, and I am so thankful for the honor. It’s really hard to believe, you know? How far I have come, and the fact that such a great institution would like to have me as a member. Amazing, I cannot express how thankful I am to everyone for all support.
You’re a busy man. You have a new book! “30 Years, 30 Undeniable Truths About Boxing”. It coincides with your induction into the international boxing hall of fame. What a month! Tell us about the book.
The timing of the book makes it even more special. The book is highly amusing. It is a summary of the many conversations I have had in my time as a boxing journalist. I am excited about the book and from what I have been told, it is a good read. It is a happy time for me, with the induction into the Hall Of Fame, the “Good Guy” award, and of course my book, its an exciting time. I am very thankful for everything that is currently going on.
I concluded my interview with AL and headed out to practice. As I was driving to the gym my head was spinning. I have listened to this man’s voice for the better part of my life, and here I was talking to him about the sport we both love. I will be speaking with Al soon as we have agreed to trade books. I will be checking in with him time to time as he brings a next level perspective that all of us can benefit from.
As I was putting the finishing touches on this blog I received a text from the necessary Rick Glaser of upstate New York. I had been scheduled to speak with the boxing titan earlier in the day, but things did not end up working out. That happens a lot in this business so I figured I would catch up with Rick today. Rick was super professional about the situation, informing me he had simply been tied up. For those of you that are not aware of Rick Glaser, allow me to introduce him. Rick is one of those people that can only be described as a boxing gem. Two decades worth of excellence. Rick has served our sport in many capacities. Promoter, matchmaker, writer. He has worked hand in hand with Bob Arum, and has a close-knit relationship with Don King. Rick is a true insider, not only because of his work with Larry Holmes and Roberto Duran, but more so because he has seen the sport from both sides. Rick was a sensational interview and I am pleased to bring his insight toTha Boxing Voice.
Rick, what do you make of IBF World Champion Austin Trout? What would you do if you were handling him?
I would tell him that its time to take this thing to the next level. I would look for the biggest fight out there. The biggest fight we could make. Exposure is the biggest priority if I am calling the shots. Austin Trout is the best fighter that no one knows. He is a good fighter; he has been poorly marketed to some degree. I will admit that he got some exposure last week, but it’s hard to become an attraction on Showtime. Showtime quite simply is not the place to build yourself into an attraction. I have never seen a fighter develop into a PPV attraction on the Showtime network. They simply are not the best when it comes to marketing their fighters. HBO is where Trout must go, HBO does so much more then Showtime does, as evidenced by the fact that HBO does PPV’s continually and Showtime never does them. Before you tell me they just did one with Manny Pacquaio andBob Arum, Arum did that simply to piss HBO off. That was not a decision that was predicated upon competition. HBO does more in between their fights. They get into whom the fighters are, they have ringside interviews, they simply are a better platform. For example, how good was the Rafael Marquez/Israel Vazqueztrilogy? Awesome, right? Well how was that any better then Gatti/Ward? It wasn’t, but because it was on HBO more people saw it. HBO has 4 times the subscribers that Showtime has. Austin Trout will never develop into a PPV attraction, but he could be one heck of a B-side. For that to happen however, he needs to go to HBO.
The James Kirkland situation, through your work with Don King and others, you have seen mega fight after mega fight. Lived it, breathed it, and worked it. What do you think is going on here? First his shoulder is kaput, and then we hear it’s a monetary issue. What is going on here??
Everyone is jockeying for position, and I can understand that. James Kirkland wants more money and Golden Boy is not willing to give it to him, at least right now. But there are elements of James Kirkland’s position that I do not understand. The position that he should make 2.5 million dollars is strange, it’s as if his people are attempting to cash him out, no need for that. He is not the type of fighter that is going to be a long-standing champion, he is going to lose a lot of fights, but because of his compelling style he will be invited back for more paydays. That’s why there is no reason to get greedy now, especially for a guy that has gotten lucky in recent months, ask Carlos Molina.
You have a long-standing relationship with Don King, one that is alive to this day. Could you share a story with us about Don King that is not easily accessible?
Don King is a good friend; he makes me laugh every single day. I enjoy the man, and appreciate his friendship. One thing that gets lost in all the hype is Don’s sense of humor. He can make anyone laugh. One time we were in Phoenix, Arizona late at night, we were headed to the car when two guys, totally in the bag, wasted, approached us. These men were in full 3 piece suits. One of the men stops, and says “OMG LOOK! We just saw an Elvis impersonator and now there is a Don King Impersonator! Look at this, this guy looks just like Don King!” Don takes a puff of his cigar and does not really pay attention to the man. The man starts tugging on Don’s jacket saying “man this looks like the real thing, OMG this is amazing dude”. Don flips out telling us he is going to call his lawyers if there is someone out there impersonating him, it was a riot. The look on Don’s face was worth a million bucks.
I am going to publish more from my interview with Rick Glaser next week. I had a blast interviewing him; I could talk to that man for 10 hours, the pugilistic science. I appreciate him taking the time to visit with me, and I am quite sure we will all be hearing from him in short order.
It is my opinion that Manny Pacqauio knocks out an overconfident Tim Bradley. Manny is all wrong for Tim and the world is going to find out on Saturday night. I will take Manny by late rounds stoppage, but I will not be surprised if there is some drama early in the fight. Tim’s chin will be his downfall, and for all of those morons that think Kendall Holt is a bigger puncher then Manny Pacqauio, check back with me Sunday morning.
It is my opinion, based on a fruitful conversation with Al Bernstein, an interview with Rick Glaser, and aninterview set to be published next week, that Austin Trout is viable. Not great, but viable, and he will he blessed with a better than average purse the next time he suits up. This is prize-fighting gentlemen; the true definition of upward mobility in this sport is record, titles, exposure, and eventually dough. Austin is satisfying this prerequisite, and doing it amidst a massive amount of hate.
It is my opinion that the professionalism of certain athletes is disgraceful. Why tell us, and our listeners that you plan to spend with time with us, and then blow off the entire encounter completely. I am going to be taking note of this trend. I am going to make a point of contacting fighters personally to talk to them about it, this reformation started today, and I appreciate the apology that hit my inbox about 5 minutes ago. I do.
It is my opinion that we have some funny followers. People that care about boxing, and the truth. I am among friends.