I recently had a chance to speak with Hall Of Fame boxing announcer, Bob Sheridan. ‘The Colonel’ has been calling fights for four decades in a career that has seen him call legendary bouts featuring boxing stars Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran and Mike Tyson.
In part 1 of my interview with Sheridan, I talk with him about the last year in boxing and if he thinks we will see a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in 2015. I also talk to Bob about Manny Pacquiao’s last performance and if he think’s Pacquiao is a better fighter today. Additionally I get Sheridan’s views on Terence Crawford and bad judging in boxing. Here is what Bob Sheridan had to say.
Robert Brown: What were your impressions of boxing in 2014?
Bob Sheridan: During the year there were some terrific fighters that really shined, namely Gennady Golovkin was sensational over the course of the year. Sergey Kovalev and his tremendous victory over Bernard Hopkins, he totally dominated Bernard Hopkins in that, so we might be seeing the end of the Hopkins era — in fact we will be because he’s turning fifty in the next month. Of course the rising star, Canelo Alvarez, continues to be a terrific fighter.
Keith Thurman is there and Jermain Taylor, you talk about guys coming back, Taylor’s a guy who could come back and do something in 2015. Of course the big talk throughout the course of the year is Manny Pacquiao — will he as a matter of fact get an opportunity to fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr? That will be the talk throughout the course of the year, so we’ll see what happens with that.
Robert Brown: What fighters are you expecting to make a big impact in 2015?
Bob Sheridan: A guy that’s a rising star is Terence Crawford who just beat Ray Beltran. Crawford is an undefeated fighter from the United States, I think he’s 24-0 right now. He only has 17 KO’s in his 24 victories and I say “only” because he wins by accumulation of punches.
He’s a very clever, very good fighter who can box right handed or southpaw and I think you’re gonna hear a lot more in the coming years about Terence Crawford and his tremendous ability. We keep going back to Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez as rising stars and of course Gennady Golovkin, but this guy Terence Crawford is a really good fighter and I just think boxing is in a very healthy position right now. There’s a lot of good fights that will come up in the next year.
Robert Brown: The fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao seems closer. Do you think both fighters are concerned about their legacies or do you think it’s more about the Pay-Per-View numbers not being what they were in the past?
Bob Sheridan: The problem is Mayweather. If he wants to have the fight, the fight will happen. The PPV numbers will be there, there’s no question about that, but he doesn’t seem to care about that because he can generate PPV numbers on his own and so can Manny Pacquiao, although Pacquiao’s aren’t as high as Floyd Mayweather’s.
The public wants to see that fight and meanwhile in the welterweight division you got Tim Bradley still active, you got the undefeated kid from the UK, Kell Brook, he’s a terrific fighter.
Shawn Porter is another guy that’s good in the division and Keith Thurman is undefeated. It’s a good division. Amir Khan I think proved that he’s worthy of a shot at Floyd Mayweather and I think that may happen before a Pacquiao fight. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens there.
Robert Brown: After Pacquiao’s performance against Chris Algieri, which was a very dominant performance, does that change your opinion on who may win a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight?
Bob Sheridan: No it wouldn’t change my mind because I think Pacquiao is a sensational fighter. He’s lost some credibility with the public when he got hit with that one punch by Juan Manuel Marquez, but that can happen in boxing — it hasn’t happened to Floyd Mayweather but it has happened to Pacquiao.
Pacquiao came back, he beat Tim Bradley and controlled Tim Bradley in the last fight. I think that this guy is a sensational fighter, in spite of the fact that the Mayweather fight probably should have taken place three or four years ago when they were both at their absolute peak. They’re both super athletes and stay in great shape all the time, so the fight that we’re talking about right now is the fight that everybody is talking about in the welterweight division.
Robert Brown: I want to talk to you about judging in the sport, recently Timothy Bradley fought Diego Chaves and I gave Chaves two rounds myself. There were two controversial calls on that card, what are your thoughts and how can we get more consistency in judging?
Bob Sheridan: The only problem with the judging is that any of us can score the easy 10-9 round, we can all do that. The problem comes when there are a lot of rounds that are very close and up in the air. If you hear me on the air, sometimes I’ll do something the judges don’t do, I’ll give 10-10 round, and the reason I do that is because I think there’s a possibility in that round that the judges would be split on it.
When my score comes down, it’s only an indication of the way I think it may be, as opposed to actually scoring that round. If I had full concentration — which it takes for a judge — I would score the rounds 10-9 one way or the other, as opposed to 10-10.
I’ve learned that half of the judges disagree on the close 10-9 rounds, so therefore it’s a very big possibility that you could have a fight with four to five close rounds, you could have a fight that’s four points one way or the other. That’s where the controversy comes and what I always say when I’m calling a fight is, the fighter has the responsibility not to leave it in the judges hands, to make sure that he wins. Of course both guys are trying the best they can in the close 10-9 rounds to make a statement.
Ali used to finish very strong in the last ten or fifteen seconds, that was an Angelo Dundee strategy. Angelo did the same thing with Ali and with ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard where in rounds where they may have lost, they put on a big flurry at the end of the round and they would go ahead and win the round when in some cases they had lost two minutes of the round.
The other factor in judging fights is that some judges like the accumulation of punches and other judges think that if a guy scores in professional boxing two or three good punches where he inflicted some damage, that’s good enough to give him the round. That’s where the controversy is because it’s subjective, how an individual judge would score an individual round.
The way Tim Bradley fights, he’s involved in a lot of close rounds so he’s gonna be involved in controversial fights. The last fight, I thought he won the fight and it ended up a draw and I pointed out in that fight that there had been some very close rounds in that fight. I didn’t agree with the draw but I could understand how it would happen.