Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No New Year's Miracle

I worked on Christmas Eve, you didn't expect a New Year's Eve show too, did you?

Besides, I've never liked those "Best of 2009" shows or columns. I never read them and don't do them. I don't care what someone else thinks is the KO of the year or the upset of the year. It doesn't really matter. I enjoyed the fights when they happened and don't need to measure one great performance against another. In fact, I don't enjoy this time of year because of all of those top XYZ of 2009 lists. Not just in boxing. In business, entertainment, everything. Bah humbug.

2010 will be another great year for Through the Ropes. I've confirmed Andre Ward as special in studio co-host on January 14th. I'll do my best to continue to bring you the biggest names in boxing and the most entertaining guests each and every week.

Thanks for listening.

By the way, if you want updates pushed to you, become a fan of Through the Ropes on Facebook by visiting You can also follow us on Twitter @ttropes.

Have a happy and safe new year. I'll see you in 2010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's a Christmas Miracle!

Through the Ropes will be on the air Christmas eve, with a live show.

We'll have Sugar Shane Mosley and Fightnews publisher Karl Freitag. Shane has some pretty strong opinions about the Pacquiao - Mayweather blood test controversy. While you're wrapping presents and putting toys together, tune in to hear what he has to say, Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET 6 p.m. PT

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Walk the Walk

A guy who doesn't do a lot of talking but does a great job in the ring is Timothy Bradley. He'll be on the show this week along with Jim Jeffries biographer Jim Carney.

As you know, I picked Kevin Johnson to beat Vitali Klitschko last week. I still think he could have had he bothered to throw a punch. When Klitschko's eye was bleeding and swelling in the 5th round, I thought if Johnson just popped the jab at the eye for the next few rounds, it could have caused enough damage to stop the fight.

However, he refused to throw a damn punch. He wasn't getting hurt, was able to avoid most of Klitshcko's punches, but just wouldn't let his hands go.

To make matters worse he was talking for weeks in advance. Even in private, he was talking talking talking. He told me, "this is going to be easy."

If you talk like that you need to throw a punch now and then. If you're going to talk the talk, you better walk the walk.

I haven't seen any statements from him so I emailed him to ask him what happened. I haven't heard back.

It doesn't surprise me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Back Next Week

I'm on the road again this week, so we'll be running a Best of Through the Ropes on Thursday night.

When I get back we'll have a lot to talk about, including the huge upset in Switzerland, Diaz- Malignaggi, Bradley - Peterson and I suspect people will still be burning up over that 119-110 scorecard in the Williams - Martinez fight.

To make up for all the absences, I will be having a show Christmas Eve. So you'll be able to tune in while you're wrapping presents and drinking egg nog.

Maybe I'll have some egg nog too. It certainly couldn't hurt my predictions track record.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kingpin will be the New King

I said it on the show last night, so I'm putting it in print. Kevin Johnson will beat Vitali Klitschko.

I'm sure I'll get a lot of people calling me crazy, but Johnson is an excellent boxer. He's got exceptional vision in the ring. That's not just my assessment but Manny Steward's as well. He got a good look at Johnson when he was a sparring partner for Wlad.

Vitali is fighting as well as he ever has, but Johnson's tremendous jab and ring generalship will prevent Klitschko from getting off and connecting with big power shots.

Additionally, I see parallels between this fight and Clay - Liston. Not that I'm comparing Kevin Johnson to Muhammad Ali in the talent department. But it's a very similar situation where you have a big powerful dominant champion against a loud, slick boxer, who everyone thinks will get destroyed. Johnson is a 10-1 dog. Ali was 8-1.

If you want to make some money, put it on Johnson to win. You can thank me next Sunday.

And for all of you who think I'm crazy, feel free to unleash your wrath below.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Quiet Ones

No, not John Ruiz. This week we've got Paulie Malignaggi and Champions Forever Filmmaker Craig Glazer. Craig is one of the few guys that can give Paulie a run for his money in the talking department.

I'll have to get all my words out in the opening segment because it's going to be all Craig and Paulie from there.

We'll also give away a copy of Champions Forever with special lost interviews with Muhammad Ali.

Tune in tomorrow night.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


No, these aren't military veterans we're talking with, these are veterans of the sweet science.

This week we've got over a century worth of boxing experience and stories to tell. HBO's Harold Lederman, legendary trainer Angelo Dundee and Florida Boxing Hall of Fame President Butch Flansberg

Thanks for all of the kind words on the blog and in your emails regarding my HBO debut on Saturday. It was an incredible experience. Most importantly, my hair was perfect.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On the Road Again

Good show this week. If you don't know Harry Joe Yorgey, you should. He is undefeated and this weekend takes on Alfredo Angulo. By the way, this fight is for the WBO Interim Junior Middleweight title. Forget the fact that Paul Williams is already the interim champion and Sergei Dzindziruk is the regular champion. I guess 2 champions weren't enough for the WBO, so they will have 3 champions in the division.

And don't forget, the same night Dawson and Johnson compete for the IBO and WBC Interim title. Forget the fact that Jean Pascal is the WBC regular champion and is active, so there's no reason for an interim title.

We'll also talk with Fightnews Publisher Karl Freitag. Karl is our resident expert on the European scene, so he'll break down Haye - Valuev for us.

I'll be in Hartford working as a ring announcer. This will be the third week in a row for me on the road.

Last week I was in Vegas doing the undercard of Agbeko - Perez, which was a sensational fight. If it looked good on TV, I promise you it looked better from the first row.

While in Vegas, I met Tyson, Tanya Tucker and a super model. The super model looked air brushed even in person.Just like Agbeko - Perez, you think it looks good on TV, a super model is even more impressive in person.

Talk to you tonight.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Olympians, Borders & Guns

Seem like whenever I have to take a week off, we come back with a tremendous show. This week we've got IBO light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson and Freddie Roach.

I'm also going to talk about the Hall of Fame ballot. It was an incredibly weak field this year. One of the nominees is Naseem Hamed. I've already sent my ballot in so you won't affect my vote. But I want to hear your thoughts. Is Hamed a Hall of Famer? Vote and leave your comments.

As I've mentioned before this blog is also meant to give you a peek at my life in boxing.

Last week, I was in Laredo, TX announcing ShoBox. If any of you saw it, feel free to leave the snarky comments about my hair below. I deserve it. In my defense, I had to plaster my hair down with gel because I got the worst haircut of my life, right before I left. I looked like Balloon Boy's dad. Seriously.

Anyway, the problem has been solved and those of you watching DonKingTV this weekend will see my repaired coif back in all its glory.

Laredo was a weird place. Our hotel was literally a 30 second walk from the border crossing. The area around the hotel did not feel like the United States. From the merchandise in the stores, to the service in the hotel (and it was a nice place), I felt like I was already in Mexico.

The day before I arrived there was a big shootout between the Federales and the drug cartel, right at the border on the other side. Five people were killed.

The highlight of the trip was hanging out with Gary Russell Jr. You'll recall that he was the Olympian that passed out the day before his fight and wasn't able to box in the tournament. Even before that night, he was not too happy with his Olympic experience. From his standpoint, the coaches did more harm than good.

We walked around the town and at one point stopped in a store that sold guns and hunting equipment. Gary is an avid hunter. At that point, my phone rang. It was my wife. I told her I was hanging out with an Olympian in a gun store in Laredo.

At no point in my life did I expect that to be the answer to the question, "What are you doing right now?"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Super 6 Comments

Dan Rafael is reporting that Jermain Taylor was taken to the hospital with a concussion and short term memory loss. Taylor has now suffered bad knockouts in 3 of his last 5 fights. Allan Green get ready. Your services are going to be needed.

I'll be surprised if Taylor finishes the tournament. If he still has his money, there is no reason for him to fight again. He had a career he can be more than proud of. But he's clearly on the downswing and the likelihood of him getting hurt again has increased substantially.

As far as Dirrell - Froch, I recorded it because I was out to dinner with friends. With 30 seconds to go in the 12th, my DVR stopped recording. I almost screamed at the TV, but it was 1:15 in the a.m. and if I woke the kids, I'd have had a worse night than Jermain.

Luckily Fightnews was on the job. Unfortunately the judges in England weren't. There is no way Carl Froch won 7 rounds of that fight. Dirrell didn't do himself any favors with all of the holding, but you can't convince me that Froch was more effective in 7 rounds of that fight.

When Dirrell was on the show last week, he said he could win a decision in England. He was wrong. He got screwed and so did I as I had Dirrell +145.

Reminder -- next week we'll be running a Best of Through the Ropes as I'll be on the road ring announcing ShoBox. Tune in to Showtime Friday night and Ropes will be back on the 30th.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pretty in Pink

We've got former light heavy champ Glen Johnson booked for this week. I'm trying to convince him to live up to his Road Warrior nickname and get on 95 to come to the studio to co-host. We'll see if he feels like making the journey. Even if he doesn't, we'll have him for the last segment.

I'm also looking forward to speaking with former heavyweight champ Pinklon Thomas. He was on with us about 2 years ago and is great to talk to. He's got a rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-redemption story. Blew everything he had, including his career on drugs. Got sober and is now launching Project P.I.N.K. (Pride In Neighborhood Kids) to help at risk youth.

Pink is one of the good guys and considering all he's been through, is a perfect candidate to help kids stay off the streets and do something positive.

In fact, there are quite a few boxers and former fighters working with kids and for different causes that we'll talk about. Boxers get a bad rep, but guys like Andre Berto work with the Boys and Girls Club, Oscar De La Hoya has donated tons of cash and built a youth center, etc.

Pink and Glen will take your questions so call or email in.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Love My Chin

No, the title is not my response to Gus Johnson calling me good looking, it was Andre Dirrell's response to my question as to whether he has a good enough chin to win the tournament.

Igor, a listener, disagrees. Here's why.

I believe this is the only time Dirrell has been down as a pro. He won every round of the fight other than the one in which he was floored.

Thanks to Igor for proving the link.

Super 6 UPDATE

Just confirmed Andre Dirrell for the first segment.

Super 6

It always sucks when you have a personal relationship with an athlete but the gatekeepers get in the way. I have no doubt that had I been able to reach Andre Dirrell personally, he'd be on the show tonight. I've ring announced Andre and his brother several times. We always talk at the fights and he said he'd be happy to be on the show anytime.

I wanted to have him on before he leaves for Europe next week to take on Carl Froch on the 18th. However, I had to go through the proper channels, which didn't work out.

No worries, it will still be a great show. Showtime's Gus Johnson will make his Through the Ropes debut to talk about the tournament. He's the consummate professional and I know he'll have some strong opinions. Speaking of strong opinions, we'll check in with IBO President Ed Levine who will discuss ways in which boxing can be fixed as well as his thoughts on the new boxing promoters group.

Tune in tonight at 9 ET

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Best of...

This week we're running a Best Of Through the Ropes show as I am traveling. I'll be back next week with more great guests.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Official Prediction

Vitali Klitschko was great on the show last night. Unfortunately, I'm once again having problems with the podcasts in that they're not being posted in a timely fashion. Nothing like having an A list guy on the show two days before his fight and the podcast goes up two weeks later.

The official prediction: Klitschko TKO 8.

Those of you who have been listening to the show for a while now, know that that means bet the house on Arreola.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Big Men

This week, I'm pleased to welcome to the show for the first time Vitali Klitschko. We've had Wlad on, but never Vitali. Long time listeners know that I think the Brothers Klitschko represent everything the heavyweight championship should be about. They are truly global champions, are excellent ambassadors of the sport and do tons of charitable work. And while some fans will criticize their performance or style in the ring, you never -- and I mean never - see them come in out of shape and phoning it in.

We'll also talk with Jim Carney, whose book Ultimate Tough Guy is a good look at a forgotten heavyweight champ, Jim Jeffries. Today's boxing fans might be surprised to know that Jeffries was Mike Tyson and Sonny Liston, decades before those guys were born. While he wasn't a thug, he was considered indestructible in the ring.

We'll give a copy of the book away, so start studying your Jim Jeffries trivia.

It's going to be a great night. Tune in.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Green is in the House

Super middleweight contender Allan Green will be my special in studio co-host tomorrow. Green always has a lot to say and after being left out of the super six tournament, you can be sure he's going to do some talking.

We'll also talk with heavyweight prospect Travis Kaufman about his bout on ShoBox Friday night. Travis has an interesting story in that his life was nearly derailed by a rape accusation. After being arrested and brought to trial, Travis was acquitted and is back on track.

And of course we'll talk some Mayweather - Marquez.

Tune in Thursday night.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Past and Present

Should be a great show this week as we talk to trainer Freddie Roach. There's a lot of controversy brewing in Pacman's camp and Freddie always speaks his mind, so we'll get to the bottom of just who is running things in Pacland.

We'll also look back about 100 years when we talk with Bill Paxton, the author of The Fearless Harry Greb. If you've never read about Greb, he's simply one of the greatest pound for pound fighters of all time. He was a dominant middleweight whose career and life were cut way too short.

Call in to talk to Freddie and Bill. We'll also be giving away a copy of the book so start studying your Harry Greb trivia.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Iron Boy and Golden Boy

The title was a bit of a tease. No Oscar on the show. He remains my white whale. However, filmmaker Leigh Simons will join us. Leigh is putting the final touches on a documentary about Oscar's move from boxer to promoter. The preview looks very good.

Speaking of very good -- undefeated junior flyweight champ Ivan Calderon will be on as well. He's a great interview, so be sure to tune in tonight.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Tonight should be fun. We've got Paulie Malignaggi coming on to talk about the asinine scoring of his fight with Diaz. Also Ed Levine of the IBO will discuss the ridiculous moves by the WBC lately.

Tune in tonight at 9.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Are You Freakin' Kidding Me?

Gale Van Hoy should never be allowed to judge another fight. 118-110 for Diaz? 10 rounds to 2? Are you freakin' kidding me?

I'm wondering if anyone actually saw Van Hoy in the building or did he send in an absentee ballot?

"Let's see, Diaz is the hometown kid, plus Malignaggi talked all that junk about me earlier in the week. I think 10 rounds to 2 sounds about right... fill it out.. sign it... Honey, would you put a stamp on this and send it over to the commission?"

I scored the bout even. 115-113 for Diaz is a little hard for me to swallow but I can accept it. 116-112 is wrong and 118-110 is simply not the fight that took place last night.

There are a lot of problems that need to be fixed in boxing. Bad and hometown scoring have been going on for years. But when a score is that way off, like Gale Van Hoy's, measures need to be taken to ensure he can't screw up the outcome of a big fight again until he proves his competence in 4 and 6 rounders.

Texas commission, if you do nothing (which I'm sure will be the case), shame on you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nick Charles

Sad news to report -- Nick Charles is taking a leave of absence from ShoBox to undergo treatment for cancer. I've been in touch with Nick and he has a great attitude. If anyone can beat this thing, it's Nick.

He feels very connected to the boxing community and I'm sure he'd appreciate your well wishes.

Feel free to leave comments below and I will send them on to him.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Ghost and the Baby Bull

Incredible show coming up this week. Juan Diaz and Robert Guerrero will be on.

Interesting mindsets -- I contacted Paul Malignaggi to come on. He said not while he's trying to make weight. He was in the studio 2 years ago while trying to make weight and he looked awful. He has to work real hard. I contacted him a second time to appeal his decision and he sent me a very curt "after the fight". He and I get along great, so I didn't take it personally. It must be the hunger talking.

Diaz on the other hand called me back about an hour after I left a message for him. He greeted me like an old friend and we chatted for a bit after I booked him. He seems completely relaxed. He's coming up in weight and never looked like he struggled to make 135. Could the difference in mindset be a factor in the fight? I think it's very possible.

This week's "Are You Kidding Me?" item is once again the WBC. It's bad enough that they're creating multiple champions in each division. Now they're creating champions in divisions that don't exist. Cotto and Pacquiao will fight for what they call the Diamond Championship at their catchweight. Will there now be a belt (and sanctioning fee) for every possible weight?

I can picture myself one day announcing, "The winner by unanimous decision and new WBC 143 3/4 pound world champion..."

Tune in Thursday.

Follow Ropes on Twitter @TTRopes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Are You Kidding Me?

On last night's show, I revealed a new segment called, "Are You Kidding Me?" where I discussed the most absurd thing I heard in boxing that week.

Tonight, I heard two things about Mike Tyson that qualify.

On ESPN's Friday Night Fights, Brian Kenny raved about the Tyson documentary and how much new material was in there. Maybe he got a different version than I did, because I certainly didn't come across anything new.

It was interesting to hear Tyson open up about some of these things, but nothing was revealed that you haven't heard before if you've followed Tyson closely throughout the years.

But the real Are You Kidding Me moment came when Dan Rafael said that when Tyson was at his peak, after he beat Spinks, he could have beaten any heavyweight in history.

At his peak, Tyson was a hell of a fighter. He obviously had the great punch, but he also had movement, threw combinations and had very good skills. But when he was blowing people away, it was because they were intimidated. Spinks was scared to death.

It's hard to imagine, Ali, Frazier, Liston, Louis, Marciano, Dempsey, Tunney, Johnson or many others being intimidated. As soon as his opponents were no longer scared they had a lot more success against him.

Tyson beating any heavyweight in history -- Are you kidding me?

Be sure to leave comments for your own are you kidding me moments.

Also, follow us on Twitter @TTRopes

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Greatest Amateur?

UPDATE 2: Grady Brewer is replacing Tyrell Biggs as tonight's guest. Biggs cancelled after the 1984 team celebration event was 86'd when a sponsor pulled out. Why do our Olympic boxers, even the great ones, no longer get respect for their accomplishments?

UPDATE: Tyrell Biggs will be joining us instead of Breland. Biggs is the only American to win a gold medal at Super Heavyweight, beating Lennox Lewis en route to capturing Olympic glory.

Some consider Mark Breland to be the greatest amateur boxer the U.S. ever produced. He took home gold in the 1984 Olympics (although from a watered down field because the Soviets and Cubans weren't there). Breland then went on to win the welterweight title as a pro.

This summer marks the 25th anniversary of the 1984 Olympics that featured Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, and Tyrell Biggs among others.

Anyone who has followed Through the Ropes knows I'm a big fan of Olympic boxing. So to honor the 1984 team, we will talk with Mark Breland on Thursday night.

Also on the show is Scoop Malinowski, who wrote Heavyweight Armageddon, about the Tyson - Lewis fight. Scoop and I will go toe-to-toe as I disagree with the very premise of his book -- that the fight was a historically important one.

Tyson was washed up and anyone who thought he had any chance other than landing a lucky punch was naive or too much of a Tyson fan to have thought clearly. As a result, Tyson was no longer an important figure.

Tune in Thursday night.

By the way, you can now follow Through the Ropes on Twitter @ttropes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I've been offered interviews with Panama Lewis several times in the past. I always turned them down because I didn't want to give him any publicity. I believe that what he did is a cardinal sin in boxing and I agree with his banishment from the sport.

The film Assault in the Ring on HBO did nothing to change my opinion, though I'm sure that Resto knew what was happening. Assault has received a ton of media attention and when Panama was offered to me again because he wanted to comment on the film, I agreed.

I was offered the exclusive interview because our mutual friend knew I would be fair. And I will be. But I told my friend this will not be a feel good interview. Lewis was convicted by a jury and I believe the conviction was just. He said that's fine, but Panama has some real problems with the film and wants to get his side of the story out.

I also invited the filmmaker Eric Drath to go head to head with Lewis. He declined, saying that he's not Lewis' accuser and didn't want to debate him. Drath was on with us about a year ago when he was still trying to get the film picked up.

Tune in Thursday night for some real fireworks.

Also, on the show, a boxer who is one of the real good guys in the sport and a newly crowned champ, Devon Alexander.

A couple of funny moments from the road this weekend:

My kids came to watch me ring announce for the first time. I announced ShoBox Friday night and the undercard of Bradley - Campbell Saturday night. They attended the Friday night show.

The hotel was promoting the show and "special guest ring announcer Sugar Ray Leonard". That was news to me and wouldn't be the first time that I've traveled to an event to find out someone else was doing my job. Turns out SRL was simply a VIP guest.

In the elevator where one of the Sugar Ray posters was prominently featured, I said to my son, "Shouldn't it say, special guest ring announcer Marc Lichtenfeld?" He replied, "No, you're not special." Thanks kid. Thanks a lot. I'll remember that when the college tuition is due.

During the show, both my 8 year old son and 5 year old daughter noticed the ring card girls. After getting an eyeful, my son proclaimed rather innocently, "Some people look good in bikinis."

My daughter was perplexed. She asked my wife why the girls were doing that. Rule #1 with kids is when asked a simple question, give a simple answer. The correct response would have been, "so that everyone knows what round it is." I'm 100% certain that would have satisfied her curiosity.

Instead, my wife goes on a sociological rant about how the girls weren't raised right and never went to college and this was the only way they could make money, etc, etc.

Good wholesome family entertainment at the fights in the casino.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Put me in, Coach

We’re running a “Best of Through the Ropes” this week. I had a great show planned. Andre Ward was scheduled to come to the studio to co-host with me. Every summer that I visit San Francisco, I make my calls to book Ward and it never happens. This time, publicist Marylyn Aceves worked her magic and got him for me.

However, when the coach taps you on the shoulder and says get in the game, you get in the game. So when Gary Shaw Productions told me that I’d be ring announcing Shobox Friday night and the undercard of Bradley – Campbell the following evening, I said I’d be there.

But in order to do that, I have to make the 8 hour drive to Temecula from San Francisco on Thursday. Make that at least a 10 hour drive since I’ve got two kids who will certainly need to stop to eat and go to the bathroom. Kids are annoying that way.

So Mr. Ward and I will have to dance next year when I’m in town. Hopefully we’ll have him on the show remotely before he fights Mikkel Kessler in Showtime’s tournament this fall.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's Showtime

This week we have the always entertaining Nate Campbell. Also, Showtime boxing chief Ken Hershman will be on to talk about how he put together the upcoming Super Middleweight tournament.

Next week, Andre Ward will be in the studio with us.

Talk to you tonight.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tribute to Arturo Gatti

This week Through the Ropes pays tribute to Arturo Gatti. His promoter Kathy Duva will join us as will HBO's Jim Lampley, who called most of his fights over the past decade, including the trilogy with Mickey Ward.

I hope that you'll call in or email with your thoughts or favorite memories of Arturo. If you met him, I especially want to hear from you.

A recurring theme on Through the Ropes is how we love fighters that don't quit. Arturo didn't know the meaning of the word and is one of the reasons why he was so beloved by boxing fans. He was everything that boxing fans want in a fighter. Bravery, toughness, power and skill. And he was a good interview as well.

It will be an honor to pay tribute to him and his legacy on Thursday night.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fast Eddie

In addition to Donaire in the studio, Fast Eddie Chambers will be on with us as well talking about the Dimitrenko fight and his plans for the future.

FYI -- check us out on Twitter @ TTRopes

Monday, July 6, 2009

Filipino Flash

Just talked with Nonito Donaire. He's going to come to the studio Thursday night to sit in as co-host. It was almost two years to the day that he knocked out Vic Darchinyan. Five days later, he came to the studio to co-host with me. He was extraordinarily nice and humble. I'd even call him a little green. Nonito still seemed wowed by his newfound stardom.

Two years later his star has fallen quite a bit as he has not been seen by US audiences. There have been reports of him acting like a prima donna.

We'll see which Filipino Flash shows up Thursday night.

I'm still working on guest #2. Possibilities include Gary Shaw matchmaker John Beninati (which could be interesting considering the bad blood between Donaire and Shaw) and Don King. I'll update the blog when the guest is booked.

On another front, I've been told I'm ring announcing the Darchinyan - Agbeko fight on Showtime this weekend. It will be my first Showtime World Championship Boxing. Don't know why Jimmy isn't doing it. I actually expect to show up Saturday night and see him there, relegating me to undercard status.

If I do get the main event, it should be interesting considering that Don King would like to make the event the east coast tribute to Michael Jackson.

The question is do I moonwalk on Showtime?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

This Week's Show

Sorry to be brief, but I'm still recovering from a 17 hour traveling day with 2 kids. Tonight we've got light heavy contender Shaun George and IBO President Ed Levine.

Back to my nap so I can be somewhat articulate tonight.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

King Kong

Joseph King Kong Agbeko, IBF Bantamweight champ will be on Through the Ropes this week. By the way, King Kong is not a nickname. It's his given birth name. We'll find out what the story is behind that.

Also, Through the Ropes is now on Twitter. Follow us @TTRopes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Classy & Karl

This week we've got ring announcing legend, "The Classy" Jimmy Lennon, Jr. I've been fortunate to work with Jimmy many times and he's got a lot of great stories to tell. He's worked some of the biggest fights of the last 20 years including the Tyson ear biting bout. Hear what he has to say about some of those great events.

Fightnews' Karl Freitag will also join us. You'll need to hear what our German boxing expert has to say about this weekend's Klitschko - Chagaev fight.

Tune in Thursday night.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Big & Little 2

Another combination of big and little this week.

The big man is NY Daily News columnist Tim Smith who will be on hand at Madison Square Garden this week covering Cotto - Clottey.

The little guy is one of the best American boxers in the lower weight classes that we've had in years -- Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson.

We'll talk with Too Sharp about his great career and his plans for the future.

By the way, how good was Lennox Lewis last week? I wish he was that open and relaxed during the HBO telecasts.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Big and Little

It doesn't get bigger than Lennox Lewis in the sport of boxing. He'll be joining us tomorrow night from Jamaica to discuss his career and upcoming induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

I met Lennox this weekend at the Berto - Urango fight. He is enormous. His hands are the size of my head.

On the other end of the physical spectrum, we'll have 108 pound king Ivan Calderon.

Both fighters will be available for calls and emails.

Talk you to Thursday night.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kermit and Clay

This week we've got Kermit Cintron and author Clay Moyle.

Cintron faces the very tough Alfredo Angulo Saturday night. Cintron may be one loss from being a stepping stone. Find out how he plans on beating the unbeaten El Perro.

History buffs will love hearing from Clay Moyle, author of "Sam Langford, Boxing's Greatest Uncrowned Champion". I'm about halfway through the book and it's sensational. It is thoroughly researched but very readable. There are some who believe Langford may be one of the greatest fighters who ever lived. Tune in Thursday night to find out why.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Friends

I'm glad to announce that Through the Ropes has a new title sponsor. While I would gladly take Budweiser's money, what makes me even happier is that the sponsor isn't a consumer product that promises to help you satisfy your partner, get more girls, look cool or get you drunk. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those things. Sounds like my typical Saturday night, circa 1991.

Rather it is a group that is genuinely trying to improve the world of boxing -- The International Boxing Organization. The IBO is the only sanctioning body that has unbiased computerized rankings. Champions aren't stripped because they refuse to fight a favored promoter's kid. Nor are there any interim, super or emeritus champions. I've been a fan of these guys for over a decade.

This week IBO President Ed Levine will be on the show to introduce his organization.

Later in the show we'll hear from promoter/manager Luis De Cubas, who has been instrumental in bringing over Cuban fighters such as Joel Casamayor, Diosbelys Hurtado and more recently Yuriorkis Gamboa and Guillermo Rigondiaux. You'll recall that last week Teddy Atlas said Rigondiaux was the best amateur he'd ever seen.

Considering the international intrigue that goes on in helping Cuban national heroes defect, I'm expecting the conversation with De Cubas to be fascinating.

Lastly, how can you not be a Paulie Malignaggi fan after watching this?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Big Stars of the Little Screen

I was shocked when I realized it has been nearly a year since I've had Teddy Atlas on the show. I had to rectify that situation immediately, so he'll join us from Atlantic City where he'll be preparing to call a very good heavyweight fight on Friday Night Fights.

Also, Nick Charles will attempt to get back in my good graces after missing his scheduled appearance. He'll be in Oakland also getting ready to call a terrific fight in Ward - Miranda.

Talk to you Thursday night.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Greatest and the Baddest

This week we're going to focus on "The Greatest" and someone who was perhaps the last baddest man on the planet.

Author Michael Ezra, whose book "Muhammad Ali, The Making of an Idol" will be with us. We're also going to talk to filmmaker James Toback, whose documentary "Tyson" will be released nationwide on Friday.

We'll also discuss the PacMan's incredible performance last weekend.

On another note -- the inside scoop on my glamours life in the world of boxing:

I was hired to do color commentary on this weekend's Hector Camacho - Yory Boy Campas fight in Atlantic City. I would be working with the legendary Col. Bob Sheridan which would be a treat. On the other hand I'd have to call the Camacho - Campas fight.

It was scheduled to be on PPV. I can't imagine anyone and I do mean any one single person, shelling out money to see this fight.

Camacho is going to be 47 later this month. I saw him in February and he looked like he hadn't seen a gym in 3 years. Yory Boy has seen better days but he's still competitive at a fairly high level. The NJ boxing commission refused to sanction the fight after watching Camacho spar.

There's talk that the fight may wind up in Tampa but no word on if they'll still do TV. Although the money would be nice, I hope it doesn't happen. I'm not sure how to put enough lipstick on that pig.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I always enter the week with a plan of who I'd like to have on the show. The list usually is 4 or 5 names deep. On weeks, such as this, where I can't get my A list names, I'm often left scrambling to find guests. Even when they're not the biggest stars in the sport, the guests are usually very good.

As of early Thursday afternoon, I still hadn't filled one of the slots with a top name guest. As I was going through my contact list, my phone rang. Could we put Bernard Hopkins on tonight? Umm, yeah I think I can squeeze him in.

So tonight we've got B-Hop and Fighnews/Fightwriter's Graham Houston.

Also, I'm going to talk about my harrowing experience announcing the Spinks - Latimore fight.

Tune in tonight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Some weeks I've got all my guests lined up by Monday afternoon. Others, like this week, I won't know who's on the show until Thursday afternoon (if I'm lucky).

Some weeks I put out two requests and get positive answers immediately. Others, like this week, I cast a wide net and get nothing.

I really should have someone booking guests for me but when the show first started 3 years ago, I had a booker and still ended up having to make calls on Wednesday nights and Thursday mornings to land guests, so I decided to do it my damn self.

This week, I requested interviews from the following people: Ricky Hatton, Wlad Klitshcko, David Haye, Jermain Taylor, Paulie Malignaggi, Carl Froch and Nick Charles. To make matters worse, Shane Mosley was pitched to me, I agreed and then it took an email and phone call from me to find out he couldn't make it.

I was told on Monday, we had a good shot at Hatton. Today I was told that Golden Boy booked interviews with him already on several radio stations. Yes, I can see why you'd want to talk to one market at a time when you can reach 75 stations plus the entire boxing community on Fightnews and iTunes in one 10 minute interview. Plus, let's face it, how many local radio sports talk hosts have a clue about boxing? OK, I'll stop being a sore loser. It's not becoming of a man of my stature.

I never heard back from Klitschko's, Haye's or Froch's people. Taylor doesn't like to do radio (which I knew). Paulie hasn't responded yet (3 days before the fight, he might not be checking voice or email). Showtime's Nick Charles graciously agreed to do the show despite the likelihood that he'll be in the middle of dinner. Nick is one of the nicest guys in the business (not because he's on the show). He truly loves boxing and always enjoys talking about it, whether to me or to a fan that approaches him after the fights.

Keep an eye on Fightnews tomorrow for the official lineup.

While today was frustrating, last Friday was a great day. I got the call from Don King Productions that I'll be ring announcing Friday''s ShoBox show in St. Louis. I like Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander. Plus, it's a world title fight. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pumped for it. I'll be doing one off TV bout too. I always like to announce boxers that I'm friends with. While his star has fallen a bit, DaVarryl Williamson is also one of the nicest guys in the sport. I've known him for about 5 years now. He's good people. When I found out he was on the card, I requested his bout.

Lastly, I sparred on Friday. It was the first time in 5 years. I didn't get in too deep. I swapped leather with Lou Martinez, who runs Palm Beach Boxing. Because I know and completely trust Lou, I wasn't at all nervous. The fact that I was so relaxed definitely helped my game. I was able to think in the ring for probably the first time in 18 rounds that I've sparred.

I still took way too many punches, but left feeling pretty good about it. Especially for a guy old enough to remember watching Cory Spinks' dad on TV.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Glad to be Back

We're back with a vengeance this week and we have a packed show scheduled.

We'll kick it off with Fightnews Managing Editor Flattop, who will express his opinion on Oscar De La Hoya's retirement. Not surprisingly, I think Flattop is dead wrong.

Next we'll check in with Cory Spinks. He takes on Deandre Latimore next Friday for the IBF Jr. Middleweight title. Besides being a skilled boxer, Cory comes from boxing royalty. Tune in to hear his thoughts about his fight, father Leon and uncle Michael.

In the last segment will talk with Freddy Roach who is currently training Manny Pacquiao for the Hatton fight. He and Floyd Mayweather, Sr. have engaged in a war of words as of late. The exchange should continue on Thursday night.

On a separate note, it looks like I'll be doing color commentary for the Macho Camacho - Yory Boy Campas fight on may 9th. I'm thrilled to be partnered with the legendary Col. Bob Sheridan. I'll let you know when I have more details about the broadcast. The highlight of the weekend will no doubt be attending Angelo Dundee's 88th birthday party.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fan Friendly

Boxing is different from other sports for a whole host of reasons. One of the key factors is it is just much more fan friendly than other sports. Boxers are accessible while baseball, basketball and football players are not.

If you go to your local batting cages or basketball court, the chances of seeing A-Rod or Dwayne Wayde practicing are slim to none. However, go into your local boxing gym and there's a decent chance you'll see some pros.

This has happened to me time and again. Of course, I live in South Florida where many top fighters come to train. I used to work out at the same time as Zab Judah, when he was in his prime. If you like a boxing workout, I can't even begin to tell you how much fun it is to work out next to a world champion.

Yesterday, instead of lunch, I ran over to Palm Beach Boxing to work out. Bermane Stiverne, a heavyweight prospect who I have written about before was finishing his training for the day. This is a guy who will be a top 10 contender in two years and has a legitimate shot at winning a title. We talked for a while (he said Jameel McCline is the hardest puncher he's ever been in with and that includes both Klitschkos and Sam Peter).

Then as I was skipping rope, Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander walked in. I talked with those guys for a few minutes and let them start training.

I tailored my work out to try and emulate what they were doing. It's like getting free coaching from top pros. As I was working the heavy bag, I told Cory to pay attention, he might learn something.

The best part of encountering these guys in the gym is that it's their office. It's where they're comfortable. They're much more relaxed than when being interviewed. I've met Bermane several times and always got one or two word answers from him. At the gym, he was talkative and we had a normal conversation.

The highlight of yesterday's session was watching Cory shadow box. As soon as the round ended, he'd spend his minute of rest, practicing dance moves. I didn't get the impression this was something done for his ring walk. I think he just likes to get his groove on.

I all of my years covering boxing and watching fighters train, I've never seen anyone do that.

If you haven't already, check out your local boxing gym. You never know what or who you'll see.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Missed it by That Much

No live show this week. Sports Byline will run a "Best of..." show in its place. I'll be back live the following week.

Now, two quick stories.

Thursday, Jimmy Lennon, Jr. called me and asked me if Roy Jones' people had called me. I told him they hadn't. "That's strange, he said, I told them to call you." Jimmy was sick and didn't think he could do the show. He said he'd talk to Square Ring and they would call me shortly.

I stared at the phone for 2 hours before it finally rang. It was Jimmy. "I'm feeling better," he said. "I think I'm going to do the show."

I've never been so disappointed to NOT be in Pensacola.

My 7 year old has career day coming up at school. I asked him if I should come in and talk about being on the radio and TV. My son rejected my offer. I asked him why. "I don't think the kids will think it's very interesting," he answered. "Would it be more interesting if I worked in a bank?" I replied. After a minute of thinking, "Yeah, probably."

The glamorous life continues...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

El Gato in the Casa

We're in for a treat this week. Francisco "El Gato" Figueroa will be in studio with me. Gato faces Randall Bailey in a WBC junior welterweight title eliminator on April 3 on Friday Night Fights.

El Gato is 20-2 (13). He is very entertaining to watch and even more fun to listen to. We're working on trying to get Timothy Bradley as well, but don't have him confirmed.

By the way, I received some emails asking whether last week's explosion in the studio while I was on the air was real. It absolutely was. The computer that sits right at my feet literally blew up. Acrid smoke was pouring out of it. Luckily, there was no fire, which I didn't know until my board operator Colin came in and confirmed my very life wasn't in immediate danger. Though breathing in that smoke for the next 45 minutes couldn't have been good for me.

But they don't call me "The Weekend Warrior" for nothing. I toughed it out through stinging eyes and burning lungs in order to deliver the best boxing show on the air.

Hopefully this week, we'll be explosion free.

Talk to you tomorrow night.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This week, "Sugar" Shane Mosley returns to Through the Ropes. I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say about the Margarito fight. Practically no one (other than yours truly) thought he could win. I also can't wait to ask him about his thoughts on Margarito's hand wraps. Should be a classic interview.

Also joining us is Showtime's Steve Farhood. Steve will call the Bute - Zuniga fight on ShoBox. Bute doesn't get a lot of press in the U.S., but he's an exciting fighter who has a lot of potential. Zuniga has heavy hands and we know how Bute's last bout ended. I know where I'll be Friday night at 11:00.

Talk to you Thursday night.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fan Favorites

This week we've got two fan favorites.

The Pocket Rocket Wayne McCullough is making a comeback attempt next week. His last outing did not go well as he was forced to quit on his stool. Find out why he'll be back in the ring again.

Also, power punching James Kirkland is always in exciting fights. He's not afraid to take a punch and lord knows he can deliver one. Hear what he has to say about his upcoming match with Joel Julio.

By the way, I'm hearing that Wlad Klitschko - Chris Arreola will not happen and that instead Arreola will face Jameel McCline. Big Time is one of hte biggest underachievers in the sport. He should have been heavyweight champ several times already. Don't take him lightly. If he's in shape and focused he is very capable of the upset.

I train at the same gym so I'll let you know just how focused he is.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Berto - Cotto?

Last night I was in Tampa calling Real Fighting Championships 16. The show was broadcast all over the Carribean and Central and South America. I hear I'm big in Trinidad.

Anyway, Edson Berto was in the main event. I went into his locker room to talk to Andre. He told me he's scheduled for May 30th and that the opponent might be Miguel Cotto. I asked him how likely that was. Andre said he and his promoter want it and he has heard Cotto does too. I hope it happens.

After his last bout, I'm not sure Berto can handle Cotto but it's time for him to try.

By the way, during the show last night, Hector Macho Camacho came out to hype a potential fight with Yory Boy Campas. I probably shouldn't go off too much about this fight since I might be the blow by blow announcer. But Macho came out in his usual boxing garb. It looked like he enjoyed penitentiary cuisine.

He looked like a 40 something year old guy that hasn't been to the gym in ages, which is probably the case. The six pack was gone replaced by layers of middle age flab. It was kind of pathetic for him to be strutting his stuff like that while "Macho Man" blared from the speakers.

If they fight, Campas will destroy him.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Take it to the Bank

This week we've got undefeated cruiserweight contender Jonathon Banks and ESPN's Joe Tessitore.

Banks is a highly touted prospect who takes on Tomasz Adamek, Friday night on ShoBox. It should be a war as Adamek is extremely tough. This is Banks' time to either shine or get back in line. He can bang, he's personable and is handled by Manny Steward, so it's not hard to picture him as a star. But he's got a very tough test Friday night.

ESPN's Joe Tessitore is a long-time friend of the show and he'll talk about this season's Friday Night Fights and this week's Glen Johnson - Daniel Judah main event.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Getting Your Money's Worth

This week, we've got two fighters who always give fans their money's worth -- IBO lightweight champ Juan Diaz and former light heavyweight king Glen Johnson. Both boxers let their hands fly for 12 straight rounds if necessary. In addition, both are great guys out of the ring. It's hard to find two people more well liked and respected in the sport.

Speaking of getting your money's worth, that's what you get when you go to a Don King show. This weekend's Boxing After Dark undercard featured 9 fights! Heavyweight prospect Bermane Stiverne looked ordinary beating Robert Hawkins. Stiverne was someone I thought had the potential to be heavyweight champ some day. Now I'm not so sure.

I was the undercard announcer and I can tell you that Don got his money's worth out of me.

After all this time, I finally met Michael Buffer. I've talked to him on the phone before and had him on the show, but never spoke to him in person. He couldn't have been nicer. I also talked with Max Kellerman who confirmed my theory that he never received all of my interview requests for the past two years. Now that he's been on once, hopefully that log jam has been eliminated.

Also, I was threatened for refusing to write a story about Owen Beck. Seriously. After being asked to write the story, I replied that no one cared about Beck when he was a fringe contender. Boxing fans certainly don't care about him now. That led to threats that I'd be paid a visit within 48 hours to change my mind. So if there's dead air Thursday at 9:06, you know what happened.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let Me Entertain You

This week on the show, we've got two of the most entertaining people that I know in the sport. Lightweight champ Nate Campbell will join us. He is always outspoken and he and I often go toe to toe on various subjects.

You're also in for a treat with matchmaker John Beninati. He currently works for Gary Shaw Productions and has worked for Don King in the past. John has hilarious stories to tell including his experience of making the big time with Don. He'll also talk about his experience over the past week in trying to find an opponent for Alfredo Angulo after Ricardo Mayorga pulled out of the fight.

By the way, if you're interested in what went on in Margarito's dressing room, this is the best story I've come across that describes those moments.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Packed House

This week's show will be jam packed with guests.

Kermit Cintron will talk about his upcoming fight with Sergio Martinez. And you know I'm going to ask him if he thinks Antonio Margarito had anything illegal in his gloves when he handed Kermit a beating last April.

Andre Ward is the last American to win gold at the Olympics. That was nearly 5 years ago. Boxing fans have been waiting for this talented fighter to make his move to the top of the division. Will he do it in 2009?

And Mike Silver, author of "The Arc of Boxing, The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science" will discuss his book and why today's fighters couldn't carry the spit buckets of the greats from yesteryear. We'll also give away a copy of the book as a prize for trivia.

On a personal note, I'll be working the undercard of the HBO show next weekend for Don King. I really enjoy introducing fighters that I know. Heavyweight prospect Bermane Stiverne is a guy I've written about before. He's incredibly exciting to watch. Cruiser prospect Francisco Palacios is a guy I've known for years and Olympian Gary Russell, Jr, whose pro debut I announced on ShoBox will all be on that card.

Even better, my wife and my parents will be at the show, all watching me for the first time. I asked my 7 year old son, who couldn't care less about sports, if he wanted to go. Without looking up from his computer game he strongly declared, "No." I walked away muttering, "It's OK. It's only your father announcing in a big arena in front of thousands of people on a Don King card."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It Ain't Braggin if You Can Back it Up

Shane Mosley told us that he's been fighting rough and tough Mexican fighters his whole life and that he could more than handle Antonio Margarito. I believed him, which is why I picked him to win the fight. I must admit I never suspected he had the power to knock him out.

Another guy who is the first to tell you how he is going to win is Vic Darchinyan. Other than a poor performance against Nonito Donaire, Vic has backed up all of his talking - most recently in an upset win over Christian Mijares.

This week, Vic will tell us all about how he is going to dismantle Jorge Arce.

We'll also check in with Fightnews' Karl Freitag, our resident expert on the European boxing scene. He'll break down the upcoming Chagaev - Drummond fight. As the publisher of Fightnews, he's also got his finger on the pulse of the business of boxing. Karl will offer his insight on the business during these tough economic times.

Tune in and call in on Thursday.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Two Ghosts

This week we'll have Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero. He fights Saturday night for the first time in over a year.

The second ghost we'll have is Max Kellerman. I call him a ghost because I've been trying to get him on the show for a long long time. I don't know if it's been my constant bashing of HBO's PR team or if they're starting to feel the heat of Showtime's competition, but they finally came through for me.

I'm really looking forward to speaking with Max because I used to watch him on public access cable when he was a 16 year old kid and I was a fan with no involvement in the sport. I used to call him up and try to stump him and was never able to. I plan on coming clean that I was "94th St. Marc" who used to ask him questions about Saoul Mamby.

Should be a lot of fun. Be sure to tune in.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In the Air, Not On the Air

No show tonight as I will be in the air on my way to Tulsa to ring announce ShoBox on Friday night. Sports Byline will run a "best of" Through the Ropes, so you can listen at if you need a fix.

We'll be back live next week.

By the way, I can't wait to get to Tulsa. It's going to be 14 degrees and I didn't take a winter coat. Good times.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Something Old Something New

No, no one is getting married on Through the Ropes tomorrow night, unless Gina Carrano makes a surprise guest appearance in the studio.

I'm referring to the 37 year old Sugar Shane Mosley and the youngster Andre Berto, who both have fights coming up this month. They'll be on the show to discuss their fights, careers and plans for the future.

Be sure to tune in.