Boxing commentator and Hall Of Famer, Al Bernstein has been ringside for some of the biggest match ups that boxing has seen. He has called the fights of today’s most popular fighters including Floyd Mayweather, Tyson Fury and Manny Pacquiao and has seen many of the all-time greats in the sport come and go during his time as a broadcaster. His role with Showtime is one of the longest lasting in the sport and he’s showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches forty years covering boxing.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Al Bernstein, I talk to him about the two biggest stars in the sport, Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao. Bernstein speaks on Alvarez’s future and some of the fights he would like to see him in. Al also talks about Manny Pacquiao’s upcoming fight against Errol Spence and breaks down how Pacquaio can win. Additionally, Bernstein talks about his boxing podcast on YouTube called ‘Al Bernstein Unplugged.’ Here is what he had to say.
Jenna J: I want to get your thoughts on Canelo Alvarez. What do you think of the level of opposition that he has out there to face and the matchups that are available to him?
Al Bernstein: He has some good opposition that he can face. Caleb Plant is a very good fighter, obviously. Canelo could move up to 175lbs and face Bivol, which many people are talking about. That would be a spectacular fight, a truly challenging fight for Canelo Alvarez. There’s David Benavidez, who is in the 168lb weight class and is fantastic, he’s a terrific fighter. Plus, Golovkin is floating around, waiting for a third fight.
There are many fighters out there that Canelo could fight that would make for good fights. You hope he gets to all of them, but he’s thirty years of age and has been a long time veteran of the sport. He keeps himself in good condition and he’s still fighting at the top of his game, but he’s been in the sport a long time. How long will he fight? It could be five more years, it could just be a couple of years. We hope that he’ll be able to cram into that time some fights against some of these fighters that we want to see him in against.
Jenna J: Do you think it hurts Canelo at all that there aren’t any Floyd Mayweather type names for him to face to really draw a lot of attention to his upcoming fights?
Al Bernstein: The funny thing is, I don’t think Canelo needs that. He draws well anyway, and if you can promote correctly and appropriately sell people on the fact that David Benavidez or Bivol are a real challenge, I think you can add that extra five hundred thousand Pay-Per-View buys that maybe some big name would bring you. If these people can do the right job of letting people know that he’s fighting a really good fighter, I think it won’t be a problem for them to do good numbers in the Pay-Per-View.
Jenna J: Manny Pacquiao has a big upcoming fight against welterweight champion Errol Spence. What are your thoughts on Pacquiao taking this big of a challenge at this point in his career?
Al Bernstein: It speaks volumes about Manny Pacquiao, and I know there’s been controversies over the years. Some people have theories that he’s been using performance enhancing drugs over the years, and not everybody is a fan. You can say whatever you want about Manny Pacquiao but the fact that at forty-two he said, “I may have one more fight left in me, let’s make it against Errol Spence.” I think you have to extol his virtues for that and be impressed by that.
Of course his last performance against Keith Thurman was a fight that people didn’t think he would take and most people thought Thurman would win. It was a very close fight that could have gone either way but I don’t think anybody can yell that Pacquiao got the decision. He surprised the world by beating Thurman and here he is jumping in from the frying pan into the fire with Errol Spence. While Spence started out as a 4-1 favorite in this fight, the betting odds have moved a lot closer because people are showing confidence in Manny Pacquiao. There are a lot of people who believe that Pacquiao has an opportunity to win this fight.
Jenna J: From your perspective, how does Manny Pacquiao beat Errol Spence?
Al Bernstein: The way he’d have to beat Errol Spence is by doing a little bit of what Shawn Porter did. Pacquiao at his best is capable of this, he did it against Margarito and some of the other fighters he faced, where he darts in and out, throws combinations and doesn’t stand in the pocket constantly. He did it against Broner as well in their fight, because one of the things Broner is, is a stationary fighter.
Errol Spence is a little more multi dimensional but the way you have to beat Errol Spence is by doing that, punch a lot, move around a little bit, give him angles. Shawn Porter did a very good job at that, and that’s what Manny Pacquiao has to do. At forty-two, can he do that? We saw a lot of signs of that against Thurman, although it was already a while ago. The question is, can he achieve that?
Jenna J: Lets turn things to yourself Al. You have a podcast called Al Bernstein unplugged. Can you let the fans know about how you got started with that and some of the names you have on the show?
Al Bernstein: I was kind of late to the game in podcasting and of course visually it’s on Youtube so people can see it as well, but once I got involved with it I really enjoyed it. One of the things I have not been doing in recent years is interviewing people, I enjoy it, I love it. That is what this show kind of brought back to me and we’ve had a lot of boxing personalities on there, but I have also expanded it to interview people that are tangentially involved in boxing in some way. But it’s been fun to talk to them and have a chance to visit with them and for me to do what I have done so much in the past, but haven’t had a chance to do recently and we have had Larry Holmes and Lennox Lewis on, I love talking to the old champions as well.