Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Good, Bad & Ugly

This is a long one. There's no show this week, so this would have been what I talked about during one of the segments.

This weekend, I went to a local boxing show that reminded me of all the good, bad and ugly things about the sport.

First the GOOD -- A guy I know made his pro debut. In fact, I sparred with him four years ago, when I was getting ready to spar with Kassim Ouma for an article. You can read it here. http://www.thesweetscience.com/boxing-article/1959/weekend-warrior-challenges-kassim-ouma/ (Sorry I can't link to it. Blogger doesn't support Mac).

Anyway, the boxer, Omar Brown, used to give me pointers in the gym all the time. Often, we were the only ones in the gym and though he was still learning, would teach me little things that he was working on.

One day, he asked me if I wanted to work. I was warned to be careful because sometimes these guys like to take advantage of a novice like me. I responded that I knew Omar would be cool. We went five rounds and the only time he took it to me was when I got tired. He'd make me fight him off. After I did, he'd back away and work on his defense again.

Omar disappeared a month or so later. I was told he had some personal problems to take care of. I didn't see him again until last summer. He said he was going back to the gym and was working toward his pro debut.

Saturday night, I was as pumped for his debut as I've been for anyone's fight in a while. I visited him in the dressing room and told him that after five rounds with me, what he was about to experience would be easy. He laughed heartily and agreed.

He was fighting Elliot Alvarado, a decent local fighter who was 3-0. Omar was clearly the opponent.

For four rounds, he outhustled and out punched Alvarado, knocking him down in the first. There were lots of things he did wrong, but the one thing he did right was that he wanted it more.

After he was announced the winner, he broke down and became emotional. Omar doesn't have management and will likely be an opponent during his career. But for at least one night, he knew that he had overcome some pretty difficult odds and obstacles. That all of his hard work in and out of the ring had paid off and he was a winner.

Those are the good lessons boxing teaches.

I also spoke with several boxers who were telling me various stories. What resonated with me was how many great experiences some of these guys had. We're talking with journeymen fighters who grew up or still live in the 'hood. Yet they've been to Finland, Russia, and various other countries. Places they likely would never have had the opportunity to see otherwise. Those kinds of experiences help people expand their horizons and grow as human beings.

Oh, the card was incredible -- including the main event in which Daniel Edouard won by first round TKO, but not after he had to climb off the deck to do it. The house was standing room only, vocal and everyone had a great time. It was everything that a club show should be. Nice work Moe Malacarne and Eventco Sports.

The BAD - Lots of people came up to me telling me how much they enjoy Through the Ropes, so I feel guilty taking this week off to go announce ShoXC on Friday night. But tune in to Showtime at 11:00 on Friday and watch your boy.

The UGLY -- A boxer did get hurt that night. The opening bout featured two boxers making their debuts. Isiah Thomas was in a different league than his opponent Tyronne Dicks. Thomas knocked Dicks out with a vicious three punch combination. Dicks fell face first and slammed into the canvass just inches from me. It was scary as he lay there motionless, with his eyes closed. After less than a minute I realized we had a problem and moved my chair so the paramedics would be able to get to work. The kid didn't move for about 10 minutes. He was taken out on a stretcher. The last report I heard was that he was doing well, thankfully.

Talk to you next week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What Happened?

That's what I was wondering when I tuned in to Showtime Saturday night.

Tonight, you'll find out exactly what happened when we talk to Nate Campbell and Showtime Sports Executive Producer David Dinkins, Jr. Nate and David will discuss what went down behind the scenes -- exactly when Nate found out, what the conversation was with Don King and Showtime, etc.

We also have an interview with Shane Mosley that I recorded yesterday. So no calls for Shane, but Nate and David will be happy to take your calls and emails.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Woe is Me

I'm interviewing Sugar Shane Mosley on Wednesday and will play the segment on Thursday's show. He'll be training during the live broadcast which is why we have to record it in advance. If you have any questions for Shane, post them in the comments section and I'll do my best to ask them.

On another topic -- Saturday, I was Mr. Mom and was out all day with my kids. I didn't check the internet or hear any news regarding the Campbell - Guzman fight. I knew I'd get the kiddies to bed late that night, so I set my DVR for the Showtime broadcast. Finally, at about 10:00 I cracked open an ice cold Moosehead (my beer of choice for those looking for holiday gift ideas) and settled in to watch what I expected to be a decent undercard fight followed by an exciting main event.

If you hadn't checked Fightnews either, I'm sure you were as stunned as I was to hear that Guzman pulled out at 6:00 that evening. I can't recall ever hearing about something like that in a major fight. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

To make matters worse, shortly after Bradley knocked Cherry down, my DVR quit. Too many Cartoon Network and Nick shows eating up all the memory.

With the wife away for a week, the house is a disaster, the kids are a mess (happy, but a mess), we're eating leftover leftovers, I'm dead tired and all I wanted to do was drink my fine Canadian lager and watch a fight that I was really amped up for -- especially after spending that time with Nate in the studio.

I ended up watching World Poker Tour reruns, going to bed early and throwing myself a pity party.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No Max

This week we've got Andre Berto and Fightnews' Flattop.

A quick look behind the scenes -- I book my own guests. I have never had any luck booking HBO talent, other than Jim Lampley, who I go to directly.

This week I put in a request to interview Max Kellerman. I wanted to talk to him about his comments at the end of last week's broadcast where he stated that the judging was so bad it had to be corrupt. Also, I figured he could comment on this weekend's Casamayor - Marquez PPV event, even though he's not working that show.

I emailed my request to HBO. But instead of forwarding my request to Max, the PR rep accidentally hit reply with the question, "Should we decline?" I responded, that they should not decline but should gladly accept. Failing to find the humor in the situation or the faux pas, I received a reply four minutes later saying there was a schedule conflict. That's it.

I've liked Max since I used to watch him on Manhattan Public Access when he was a 16 year old kid. However, unless I contact him directly (or he gets in touch with me), don't look for him on Through the Ropes any time soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Repeat Offenders

Actually, the headline is not an accurate description of Thursday's show as we have two of the nicest guys in the sport on with us -- though they may hold the record for most appearances on Through the Ropes.

Former lightweight champ Juan Diaz will be on for the 4th or 5th time. I'm positive no boxer has appeared more. Also, Showtime's Steve Farhood. He may be second to Joe Tessitore in the media category but it's got to be a close race by now.

By the way, how good was Nate Campbell last week? I had a blast talking with him. The cool part was it didn't stop at the commercials. Sometimes when we have a boxer in the studio with us, he'll be great on air but as soon as the mike is off, he's on his cell phone or talking to his entourage. Nate and I simply continued the conversation between commercials.

If he were on this coast of Florida, I would ask him to be permanent co-host.

In case you missed it, the podcast is available at www.sportsbyline.com.