Friday, May 30, 2008


Another look into the glamorous life I lead:

Late last night, I received a call from EliteXC. I had been expecting to cage announce the undercard of their big CBS show in Newark, NJ tomorrow night. However, no one ever got in touch with me, so I assumed they found someone else. I was disappointed, but it wasn't a big deal because I have to leave for California on Sunday anyway, so I was looking forward to being home with the family for the weekend.

EliteXC asked if I could be on a plane today to cage announce tomorrow night. Because of my pending trip to California, the travel arrangements were complicated. We had to change my flights and try to avoid the costly fees. I was up until 1:00 a.m. with their travel coordinator, figuring it all out.

I arrived in beautiful downtown Newark and checked into my hotel. It's your typical New York hotel in that the rooms are tiny and poorly lit. A little depressing actually. But there's nowhere else to go. We're in the middle of the hood. I was warned not to venture out after sundown.

Now, I get a call saying there was a mixup and I may not be announcing. The NJ State Athletic Commission demanded a name last night and since EliteXC didn't know for sure if I was coming, they got some chick. Now the commission is insisting that because they have her name already, she has to work the show.

This commission is a huge pain in the ass to deal with. I had to jump through hoops to get my license from them a few months ago. Meanwhile, why they care so much about who announces the undercard and whether it's the person in their paperwork is beyond me. I mean, really --- who gives a flying...?

So it looks like I have a two day stay in Newark and won't even be working the show.

Does it get any better than this?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The White Whale

Like Captain Ahab's quest for the white whale that took his leg, my white whale has been Kelly Pavlik -- although thankfully he hasn't caused me any bodily harm (yet).

We had Pavlik scheduled the night before the weigh in for the first Taylor fight but when we called he was in the sauna, sweating off the remaining pounds. That was the closes we've ever been to getting him on the show.

Hopefully, after tomorrow night I'll be able to say I caught my white whale as he is scheduled to appear on Through the Ropes. Also scheduled is boxing writer Eric Raskin of and former Editor in Chief of Ring Magazine.

Lastly, there's a chance we'll have Paulie Malignaggi. Here's some breaking news -- he had surgery on his fractured right hand today. No one else is reporting this. How do I know? Because I spoke to him as he was on his way to the hospital. He told me to give him a call tomorrow and if he's up for it, he'll spend some time with us on the air. I wouldn't count on it as I suspect he'll be on pain killers, but he's a warrior, so you never know. He's an entertaining interview under regular conditions. It could be a lot of fun if he's under the influence of heavy narcotics.

Also, please vote in the poll to the right. We want to gauge Ropes listeners interest in MMA. Should we expand coverage to MMA. Vote and feel free to leave comments.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Euros are Coming!

This week we have Jr. Middle prospect James Moore. I know we had him on not too long ago, but being that he's the only Irish prospect left who hasn't let his fans down recently, I figured we'd get him back on. He's got a fight coming up in two weeks.

Also, Fightnews and Fightwriter's Graham Houston will handicap this weekend's fights in England (Hatton - Lazcano and Malignaggi - N'Dou) along with Pavlik- Lockett. I wonder if Graham is tired of only being invited on when there's a british fighter involved?

A peek behind the scenes -- I thought I was going to have Pavlik. As of yesterday I was told it was basically a done deal. Today his rep sounded as if he barely remembered talking to me. We're shooting for next week. He assured me his schedule is much easier then and we should be able to get him on.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Two Heavyweight Champs

This week we've got two former heavyweight champions on the show -- Chris Byrd, who fights the following evening on Friday Night Fights. Byrd will be fighting as a light heavyweight. Also on the show is Shannon Briggs. The Cannon will be calling Byrd's fight with Joe Tess, as he fills in for Teddy Atlas.

I know that Briggs is not the most popular fighter due to his lackluster performances. However, the guy is a terrific storyteller. I've gotten to know him over the past few years and he really is quite interesting.

Here's my Shannon Briggs story:

We were calling the Joan Guzman - Antonio Davis fight in the Dominican Republic. On the way to the arena we were stopped by military personnel who wouldn't let us go further. We tried to explain that we were with television calling the fight. Except none of us spoke Spanish. Finally I pointed at Shannon and said, "el grande campeon" Not having any idea as to whether that actually meant he was a champion, but they recognized us and waved us through.

The arena was packed with 12,000 Guzmaniacs. When the fight was over, it seemed as if all 12,000 rushed the ring. Before I was finished saying, "Good night from Santo Domingo" Shannon had his earphones off and was heading for the exits. I asked him where he was going. Without turning around, he replied, "I don't know but I'm getting the f&%$ out of here!" Since I considered being with the baddest man on the planet my best shot at survival, I ran after him.

We had no idea how we were getting back to the hotel as the arena was located in a terrible neighborhood. On the way to the exit, he found his publicist Michael Marley. Michael told us Guzman had a bus and we should follow him.

We waited outside Guzman's dressing room for about an hour. The President of the D.R. came to visit Joan in the dressing room. Finally someone mentioned the bus was outside and we could get on. After a long night, all any of us wanted was a cold beer. But there is a law against selling alcohol after midnight during the week. Since it was 11:30 and Guzman was nowhere to be seen it would be a while before we got back.

Luckily, Shannon saw that the door to the concession stand was still open. He offered the guy $20 and came back to the bus with a few six packs of ice cold Presidente beer.

We waited for Guzman in comfort as we downed cerveza and listened to Shannon's stories of life as an amateur, being chased through the streets of Poland by skinheads and other wild tales.

Looking forward to having him on.

Talk to you Thursday.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I've been performing for most of my life. It all started when I got the lead in the 6th grade play and Donna Fuhst paid attention to me for the first (and only) time. She walked past me after the show, patted me on the back and said, "Good job, Marc." After that I was hooked on show biz.

As a kid and even early in my acting career as an adult, I would get so nervous before a performance that I would pace the floor incessantly. At home, backstage, anywhere I happened to be, I'd pace... until the curtain rose and then I'd be fine.

Those nerves calmed quite a bit as I grew more experienced.

Then, when I started ring announcing, they returned. My first gig was an ESPN Friday Night Fights show. I was so nervous before hand that I barely ate and spend most of the day with a bad stomach. Not butterflies, but outright distress. Of course, once the bell rang, I was calm and gave a solid performance.

Whether I was doing a club show or ShoBox, I'd still get antsy, although not to the degree mentioned above. Then a few weeks ago, I worked a ShoXC card. I'm very critical of my own performance, but thought that show was one of my best. I realized why. I wasn't nervous. It was the first time I can remember going on stage and being completely relaxed.

This week, I did the undercard for ShoBox. The day of the show, my stomach was all a flutter. It was ridiculous. I wasn't going to be on TV and the venue is fairly small. I've played arenas, ten times the size. I had a slight cold, so maybe I was concerned my voice would give out, but still, I only had to make it through 5 fights.

It drove me nuts all day. There was no logical reason to be nervous, but nevertheless I was. Once the fighters were in the ring I was fine and gave a performance I was proud of -- especially because the last two fights had to be rushed in order to get them in before TV. I made my announcements very efficiently and told the fighters and their corners to get out of the ring. One decision, we didn't even tabulate and read the scores, the commission simply said, "unanimous decision, Avalos."

The show went great and as usual, I had nothing to be nervous about.

If I'm that anxious and/or pumped before a show, I can only imagine what a boxer is feeling before a fight.

This week's Through the Ropes will feature Mike Arnaoutis, who will be on Friday Night Fights the following evening. We're still working on a second guest. Any suggestions, leave a comment here.