You have seen him so many times at so many boxing shows live or over the air and wondered “who is this man?” Well if you don’t know his name allow me to introduce you to Lupe Contreras one of the world’s top ring announcers at age 43! Born in Reynosa, MX, he now lives in Houston, TX, where he arrived at the age of 5.
While covering shows this writer has met Contreras on several occasions he was working. He was always so gracious to take what little time he had to talk even though the show was running. “Lupe is a World Class Ring Announcer and a pleasure to work with. His smooth transition from English to Spanish is exceptional, and in my opinion, ~~his Trademark. He is always well prepared, pleasant to be around, yet very serious about his profession. He is definitely in the top echelon of Ring Announcers,” said Steve Smoger (top ref out of NJ).
With his powerful voice and flawless bilingual delivery, Contreras has quickly become one of the most recognizable figures in the sport of boxing. He is the official ring announcer for Top Rank Inc.’s “top Rank Live” & TV Azteca’s “Campeon Azteca”. In his 11 year career he has been featured on virtually every network that broadcasts boxing, including Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo Tecate, Galavision’s Boxeo en Esta Esquina, HBO’s World Championship Boxing, Boxing After Dark, HBO Latino’s Boxeo de Oro, Showtime’s SHOBox The New Generation, ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights, & FSN’s Sunday Night Fights and The Best Damn Sports Show Period.
The two biggest names in boxing ring announcing are HBO’s Michael Buffer and SHOWTIME’s Jimmy Lennon, Jr. The latter’s father was my first favorite announcer. But though both Buffer and the younger Lennon speak Spanish there is something more authentic when a Latino does the announcing in Spanish and being good looking doesn’t hurt. “I judged a ton of shows for Telemundo and in NY that Lupe was the announcer. It’s just amazing how he shifts gears from English to Spanish and back. He is one of the best voices in boxing,” said Joe Pasquale (top judge out of NJ).
A former radio personality in his current home of Houston, Lupe burst onto the boxing scene in 2001 as the winner of Top Rank Inc. and Univision’s “La Voz del Box” competition.
Contreras was hand-picked from among hundreds of entries by executives from both the legendary boxing promoter and the Spanish language media giant to become the next “Voice of Boxing”.
Lupe was kind enough to share some stories and answer questions.
KEN HISSNER: Lupe it’s an honor to be able to ask you some questions pertaining to your career in boxing. At what age do you first remember seeing your first boxing show?
LUPE CONTRERAS: The rematch between Ali and Spinks.
KEN HISSNER: Did you have any ring announcers that inspired you into considering taking a shot at this profession yourself?
LUPE CONTRERAS: Michael Buffer has molded the profession and has set the standard.
KEN HISSNER: What countries have you worked in so far?
LUPE CONTRERAS: Of course the US, Ireland, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Japan and recently China. I would like to work the Philippines. The most knowledgeable fans from 16-50 seem to be in Puerto Rico and Mexico next. They know who the champions are and are able to hold a conversation with you about boxing.
KEN HISSNER: How long were you a radio personality before you started doing ring announcing?
LUPE CONTRERAS: At 16 I sounded like a 30-year old woman. At 19 I sounded like a 40 year old man.
KEN HISSNER: Per your website I see you have a very busy schedule. How many shows do you normally work a year?
LUPE CONTRERAS: Around 40 or 50. Earlier in my career there were even more it seems.
KEN HISSNER: There are so many characters in boxing or who attend boxing shows. Who are some that stand out in your mind?
LUPE CONTRERAS: Jorge Arce is certainly one of them. He makes entrances on horses etc and loves to talk. I believe a fighter has to sell himself and he certainly does that.
KEN HISSNER: Without naming names I can tell you some funny instances that ring announcers had a blunder or two. Can you share one of your funnier one’s?
LUPE CONTRERAS: Yes, in trying to rev up the crowd one show and mentioning we were in Utah but we were in Idaho.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time to come into the Doghouse and be so approachable and an obvious fan of boxing.