Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Maskaev and This Time I Mean It

I've been assured that Oleg Maskaev will be on the show this week. In fact, I'm headed down to the gym in an hour to confirm it with him myself. Also, boxing promoter Scott Hirsch. He was the manager that got Shannon Briggs and Jameel McCline title shots. He's a fascinating character having made his fortune in spam (email, not the mystery meat) and online porn.

Also, if you ever have trouble with the podcast, you can always click on and it should work.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Two Champs and a Chump

Great show coming up tomorrow night. WBC Heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev and IBF Featherweight champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero will be on. In case you haven't figured it out, I'm the chump.

Regarding the podcast, I've been assured this week's show should be posted. There was a technical glitch with last week's.

Also, check out my story on about Emanuel Steward and Jeff Mayweather, the trainers of Klitschko and Ibragimov.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Three Morons Interview Wlad Klitschko

This title and video clip was originally posted by Don Steinberg on the Boxing Writer's Association of America website at

Click here to watch.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Podcast and Double S

First of all, good news. The podcast is back. Just go to click on podcast library and follow the instructions. The process a little different than the old one but it works fine. Let me know if you have problems.

This week we have referee "Double S" Steve Smoger. You'll recall that he was the ref for the first Taylor - Pavlik fight, so he should have some great insights. We'll also talk with NY Daily News columnist Tim Smith who is in Vegas for the fight and will also be at the Garden for next week's Klitschko - Ibragimov bout.

I hope you had the chance to listen to last week's show. Manny Steward is the best. If not, check out the podcast.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Rassen Frassen Rassen Frassen

The unusual title refers to a joke between my wife and I. Whenever we're in a situation that is particularly frustrating, we say that. It's supposed to sound like muttering to oneself. I have no idea how we started doing that.

Anyway, yesterday I found myself actually muttering real words of frustration. As great as Sports Byline has been to Through the Ropes, the technical difficulties have been maddening on my end.

It became apparent to me a few months ago, just how many people listen to the podcast. When the podcast went down, I received tons of email asking when it will be back up. I have inquired every week and was told it would be up and running this week. Well, it wasn't. When I expressed my frustration, I received a kurt email reply saying they were doing everything they could with limited resources. I'm not even sure what that means, but I have a feeling it's not good news.

Also, this past week, we had a phenomenal show. Manny Steward was in the studio and was tremendous. Andy Lee called in. Johnathon Banks and Aaron Pryor, Jr. were in the studio as well. Unfortunately, some people who tried to listen live had difficulty as the link on Fightnews was not working for everyone (not Fightnews' fault).

I do hope that you guys will stay with me despite some of our technical issues. I work hard every week to bring boxing fans a unique show that is designed with them in mind. I receive great feedback from people telling me how much they enjoy it, which is very satisfying.

I'll let everyone know when the podcast is up and running again. Until then, I hope you'll listen on Thursday nights between 9 - 10 p.m. ET.

Until next week, obey my commands and protect yourself at all times.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Behind the Scenes

When I started this blog, one of the things I wanted to share with you is what my glamorous life is really like on my way to boxing superstardom.

This entry might be kind of long but it details my travels last week to ring announce the ShoBox show in Hinckley, MN. If you don't care about that and are only here to see who is on the show this week -- Emanuel Steward will be in studio with me. He tells me Andy Lee will be coming in as well.

OK, on to Shobox:

I was supposed to fly out Thursday morning and arrive in Minneapolis around 4. The weigh in wasn't until the next morning. That would give me plenty of time to get all of my info, meet with some of the fighters, etc. I particularly wanted to speak with Mickey Bey, Jr. as I will be writing a story about him for Boxing Digest.

I had to connect in Chicago and before I boarded my flight in West Palm Beach, I found out all flights out of Chicago were canceled, so I rebooked for first thing in the morning and went home. I'd miss the weigh in but would still get there by 1:00 which would give me plenty of time to get ready.

When I tried to print out my boarding pass that evening, I saw my flight was canceled again. They rebooked me for an 11:00 flight that would get me into Minneapolis after 4:00. The venue was 90 minutes away and the doors opened at 6:00, so that was cutting it too close.

Got an different flight and arrived in Minneapolis at 1:15. I was supposed to have a ride waiting for me but no one was there to pick me up. A trainer and his fighter, who was a last minute replacement, were also waiting for a ride. The poor kid still had to weigh in and hadn't eaten since the night before. They were as agitated as I was about waiting for a ride. After many frantic phone calls to Gary Shaw's office and matchmaker John Beninati, John got the driver's number and told me to call him directly as John was being told the guy was there. I reached the driver and tell him we're waiting for him. He replies, "Oh, you're here?"

Of course he's slow as molasses getting us to the car. It's now 2:30. After driving for about 15 minutes, he gets a call that there is someone else at the airport waiting for him. He starts to turn around. The trainer and I both start yelling that there is no way he can turn back and to keep going. He really wanted to go get this other person but we were insistent. I thought the trainer was going to rip his head off if he turned around.

We finally pull up to the Grand Casino at 4:00. As I'm checking in, the fire alarms start going off and the lobby fills with smoke. I'm now thinking I'll be doing ShoBox unshowered, with 2 day old scruff in my sweatshirt and jeans. Luckily, we didn't have to evacuate.

I get my keys and meal tickets and run to the buffet. I hadn't eaten since 10:00 when I had a muffin. I see Showtime photog Tom Casino and ref Steve Smoger at the front of the very long line. I say hello to Tom, hoping he'll let me cut. He doesn't (he explained later he would have but he had just done that for Steve and the line went ballistic). I finally get in to the restaurant and inhale a plate of food. Run upstairs, shower, shave, get dressed and make it downstairs to the venue at 5:00, which is when Showtime wanted to go through some things.

By the time we went to air the stress was killing me. I had been up since 4 a.m. I get stupid when I'm tired and was concerned I would have a brain fart on the air. Plus my neck and back were in knots.

Maybe that's the recipe for success because I was very happy with my performance (one of the rare times). The house was packed with over 2,000 fans. Minnesota has some great boxing fans.

I met Smoger for the first time in the ring and spoke to him throughout the night. Great guy. He'll be on the show in the near future.

Andre Dirrell fought on the undercard. He blew out Shannon Miller in 3 rounds. He is gifted but needs to be less cautious. We spoke after the fight. He said his brother is now cancer free which is great news.

Hung out with Steve Farhood and Nick Charles before the fights started. They're both two of the nicest people in boxing. They also both absolutely love boxing and are happy to talk shop anytime.

I also finally got to speak to Mickey Bey, Jr., although it was only to set up the interview, not actually conduct it. We've known each other for a few months now since his brother was supposed to be on a ShoBox undercard last fall. He's an interesting story, so I'm looking forward to writing it.

I think Farhood nailed it on the broadcast by saying you can't judge him by that fight. Acevedo was awkward and only interested in surviving.

After the show, I hung out at the bar with some Showtime people. We couldn't get over the $3 beers. In NY, California and Florida you'll pay at least $5 for a beer at any halfway decent bar.

The van was leaving at 8:30 but my flight wasn't until 1:50 so I caught a ride with Gordon Hall who heads up Showtime's sports programming. He is a boxing junkie. He knows everything about everyone.

Luckily, my flights were uneventful. The last ShoBox I did, my plane had to make an emergency landing due to a cracked windshield. In fact, I gave Beninati shit all weekend about putting me on planes not fit to fly, having me check in to burning hotels. Got home at 10:00 and passed out.

I'm actually bummed I didn't get to spend a little more time at the hotel. I was there for a total of 16 hours and it seemed like a pretty nice place.

I'm still waiting for my back to go out now that the stress is gone. I worked out today in hopes of avoiding that. If I'm slurring my words on Thursday night, it's the painkillers.

Speak to you Thursday.