Hall of fame boxing commentator, Al Bernstein, has been ringside calling some of the biggest events in the sport for over 40 years. I had the pleasure of speaking with Al Bernstein during the most recent edition of “On The Ropes” boxing radio to get his view on some of the biggest news going on in the sport. In part 1 of my interview, Al speaks on the rise & future of Jaron Ennis, talks about Canelo vs. Charlo, shares his thoughts on Jake Paul, and discusses the return of Manny Pacquiao. Here is what Al Bernstein had to say.
Jenna J: Al, you recently called a fight between Jaron “Boots” Ennis and Roiman Villa, what did you think of the performance from Ennis?
Al Bernstein: Ennis showed in spades what a great offensive performer he is and I don’t know if there is much offensively that you can do in a fight that he didn’t do. I said it during the broadcast and I don’t give into hyperbole, I said he is probably one of the most diverse offensively talented fighters I’ve announced in all my years.
Jenna J: Ennis is only 26 years old and he’s reached this elite level. What do you think of where he is at this point in his career?
Al Bernstein: That’s an age where you normally would already expect someone to have a shot at a world title, but has years ahead of him. His problem is the waiting game. Spence and Crawford of course are set to clash at the end of the month, they have a built in rematch clause that could be put into effect. As far as winning a title, he (Ennis) might be waiting for a little bit unless those fighters move up in weight but there is nothing preventing him from fighting top welterweights and continuing to show how terrific he is.
Jenna J: In recent boxing news, Canelo Alvarez announced his next fight and it surprised people that he is facing Jermell Charlo and not his undefeated twin brother Jermall. What did you think of this match up?
Al Bernstein: What a difference a vowel makes (laughs). You know, it’s intriguing, on the face of it would seem like a super daunting challenge for Jermell Charlo who is coming up from 154lbs to face a fighter who is now a 168lb pounder. The part that he hopes will make this fight a winning one for him is the fact he is a very skilled boxer and Canelo now at age 33 has been a pro a long time. It’s safe to say while he is still performing well, he is not quite as quick as he was, he still has power in both hands and that’s a big issue for Charlo coming up in weight and he has one of the best chins in boxing, so it’s unlikely that Jermell Charlo is going to hurt him or knock him out, but there is certainly a chance for Jermell Charlo to outbox him. It will be interesting, it was a switch on everybody, it surprised the whole boxing world I think.
Jenna J: Al in recent years we saw the rise of the YouTube fighters like Jake Paul being the biggest fighters in the sport and now we seem to be transitioning back to the mainstream big events like Crawford vs. Spence. Can you talk a little bit about that transition with Jake Paul and the retired fighters to where we are now?
Al Bernstein: It was pretty obvious that it was going to be a relatively short lived infatuation by some fans. I participated in a couple of those because Jake Paul was on Showtime PPV and my feeling during the whole thing was don’t overreact to this as it’s not really changing boxing, it’s just some kind of addition that seems to have captured some people’s imagination for the moment and that’s really what it turned out to be. It’s kind of waning and in its final stages and that’s not to suggest that we won’t see another incarnation of it but I don’t think it’s ever something that is going to alter the sport dramatically.
Jenna J: Manny Pacquiao recently announced a return to boxing. He is 44 years old right now, do you think he has anything left to show or prove in the ring?
Al Bernstein: He certainly has nothing left to prove, whether he has something left to show who knows. The final part of his career he was still performing fairly well. While he had some diminished skills he was still performing well. As for making an impact on the sport, it would be highly doubtful at this juncture whether he could make an impact on any of the top weight divisions. The problem with boxing that makes it different than other sports is that if you can pass a physical and you have enough name recognition some promoter will promote a fight involving you and that’s especially a problem because unlike baseball, boxing is a sport where people are hitting each other, so that makes it more problematic.
**Be sure to check back ONTHEROPESBOXING.COM for Part 2 of my Interview with Al Bernstein and also be sure to look below for more information about Al’s upcoming appearance at the Tuscany Hotel and Casino**
AL BERNSTEIN’S MUSICAL KICK-OFF TO THE BIG FIGHT WEEKEND
Al Bernstein will start off the big fight weekend of the Errol Spence-Terence Crawford super fight when the Tuscany Suites and Casino plays host to his music show on Thursday, July 27 at the Piazza Lounge.
Two shows at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. will feature Bernstein performing music from the Great American Songbook as well as Blues and Country selections. Each show will also include an audience participation/trivia segment where audience members can win prizes. There is no cover charge for admission.
Bernstein, who will also be on the Showtime Pay-Per-View announcing team for Spence-Crawford on July 29, will revive a tradition of doing music shows before major boxing matches in Las Vegas. He said, “This started back in 1987 when I did a show at Caesar’s palace for three nights before the Marvin Hagler-Sugar Ray Leonard fight and continued at Caesars and other locations during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Then in the 2000’s I performed at the Mandalay Bay on big fight weekends. I am absolutely delighted to be doing this show at the Tuscany where I have performed many times in recent years. The Tuscany is a musical gem in Las Vegas with many talented people performing there on a nightly basis. This is just the place to kick off this weekend with music and fun giveaways. It will be a music/boxing party.” Al performed at the Tuscany the night before the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner fight as host of the Kenny Davidsen Bowtie Cabaret. For more information on The Tuscany Suites and Casino go to www.tuscanylv.com.