Perfect Fight Night Media Team
By Sina Latif
There are dream boxing matches that fans from all over the world would love to see, such as Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua and Terence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr. The news alone that such bouts are official would be enough to leave boxing fans salivating in anticipation.
However, a significant boxing match should also need the perfect fight night media team to add even more glamour to the show and truly make it a huge event, and not just a huge fight.
Let’s have a look at my perfect media team to make it one to be remembered.
Who better to start with than Hall of Fame boxing analyst Al Bernstein to be the lead presenter on a memorable night of boxing.
His experience alone deserves the utmost respect. Bernstein began commentating for ESPN in 1980, and today, is a boxing analyst for Showtime. Bernstein is special, one of the truly good guys in boxing and is always fair towards the fighters, whilst still telling fans what they need to know and maintaining professionalism.
The evolution of boxing over time has resulted in fighters and reporters who are increasingly harsh and less respectful. Bernstein’s always maintained his gentlemanly qualities to strengthen the respectability of boxing. He has covered fights from Marvin Hagler vs Thomas Hearns to Diego Corrales vs Jose Luis Castillo to Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Manny Pacquiao.
Al Bernstein was there amongst the thick of the action during one of the greatest era’s of boxing in the 1980’s when boxing really shined, and has been involved in the best fights and biggest events since. Al would definitely rise to the occasion and feel right at home whilst being the lead presenter on the biggest night of boxing in recent memory.
Then there cannot be two better people to present the event alongside Al Bernstein than hall of famer, renowned trainer and broadcaster Teddy Atlas and retired unified super-middleweight and light-heavyweight pound-for-pound king, Andre Ward.
Atlas may get loud and go off on a tangent often whilst rambling, somewhat viewed as ‘off the rails’ and annoying to some. Some take issue with Atlas’ over-opinionated comments as a broadcaster and his methods as a trainer, using psychology on fighters between rounds. He definitely does not hold back and can be harsh in his assessments, somewhat different to Bernstein.
Atlas gets predictions wrong sometimes. Frankly, predictions are not necessarily an indication of one’s knowledge of boxing. Boxing is a sport which produces results that surprise the majority time and again. All this being said, Atlas’ character is due to the mans’ pure passion and enthusiasm for the sport which he has been around in some capacity for almost the entirety of his life.
Atlas likens boxing to everything in life. He recently said: “For me, boxing is life. It connects the dots of life, you fight everyday, it doesn’t have to be a physical fight, but you fight for something everyday.”
Couple his sincere passion with genuine knowledge of the sweet science and experience, having been the assistant to late legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, before training 18 world champions, including the likes of Wilfred Benitez, Michael Moorer, Shannon Briggs, Timothy Bradley Jr, Alexander Povetkin and Oleksandr Gvozdyk today amongst many others.
On the grandest of occasions when passion and knowledge are required on air for the biggest events of historical significance, Atlas can only add credibility to the event.
Ward is just brilliant. One of the best broadcasters around. Ward started his broadcasting career whilst he was still boxing. Retiring at the relatively young age of 33 with nothing more to prove as the pound-for-pound king indicates the smartness of a man who is so knowledgeable and always expresses his views and opinions on a sport which he has been so successful in as a fighter so eloquently and rationally.
Possibly the most crucial members of the media team are the commentators, as they embark on the journey of the fight with all that are watching and can really add effect to the experience, indelibly linked in history through association with the biggest moments in legendary fights.
When George Foreman defeated Michael Moorer in a huge upset to become the oldest heavyweight champion in history at 45, Jim Lampley yelled: “It happened! It happened!”
Lampley’s reaction was in relation to conversations between Foreman and Lampley prior to the fight in which Foreman had accurately predicted exactly how the outcome would unravel. The tone of Lampley’s voice really put into perspective the emotion and magnitude of what had just happened on this most memorable of nights.
When Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Pacquiao in their fourth fight to conclude their epic rivalry, if we needed clarification, Roy Jones Jr said: “He’s not getting up Jim! He’s not getting up Jim!” This quote from Jones has become associated with Marquez’s historic one-punch KO conclusion of his rivalry with Pacquiao.
Lampley covered fights for HBO for 30 years, and how great it would be to bring back the best in the business for one last historic night of boxing. He has covered many legendary fights including Riddick Bowe vs Evander Holyfield I, the Arturo Gatti vs Micky Ward trilogy in which he was clearly excited throughout, and Marco Antonio Barrera vs Erik Morales I, and is an International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee.
Lampley got inducted in the same year as fighters such as Prince Naseem Hamed and Bowe, boxers who have had some of their most crucial fights called by Lampley. This speaks volumes regarding Lampley’s vast experience in the sport. He has covered fights for some of the most exciting fighters in recent years and as far as boxing goes, he has seen it all, with many different styles and many historic moments.
Jones has undoubted passion for the sport he dominated for a whole decade as a fighter. He is able to provide exceptional analysis as he has stepped through the ropes himself many times, including at the highest level as the pound-for-pound best, and knows what the fighters are experiencing and thinking.
Jones can provide great insight as to what fighters should be doing and has done a fantastic job in covering big fights for HBO in the past with Lampley.
Lampley and Jones both have the passion for the sport to produce special moments during their commentary through their sheer affection for boxing.
Of course, the media team is not complete without the one and only Michael Buffer, the legendary ring announcer. He is another International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee who came up with the world-famous catchphrase “Let’s get ready to ruuuuumbllllle!” You know there is a major boxing event when Mr Buffer is in town!
There we have it, the perfect fight night media team who would unquestionably, as a collective, contribute to a memorable night of boxing. All of the aforementioned people are as different in their approach to broadcasting as they are in their personalities. That is what would make them so complementary on the night.
I had to mention Harold Lederman.
Lederman sadly passed away last year after his battle with cancer, but the memories and his impact will never be erased.
Without a doubt, if Harold was still with us, he would be the unofficial judge on the night, being asked by Lampley to give us his updates on how he views the fight thus far and share his scores.
Harold was a joyful, engaging personality who would provide insight for the many fans who would then attempt to imitate the high-pitched voice which exuded pure joy and delight to be sat ringside watching a sport which like many of the fans, he so obviously loved.