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.