“How Do You Like It? How DO YOU LIKE IT?!” Doghouse Boxing Goes In-Depth with Barry Tompkins
Interview by Sean Newman (May 28, 2005)
Boxing fans, being the fickle lot that they are, often like to argue over the virtues and deficiencies in various broadcasters. It’s not enough to debate the abilities of the fighters, we like to debate the abilities of those describing the fighters. Some enjoy Larry Merchant’s deliberate and often philosophical delivery, some are enraged by it. While fans here and there like the analysis brought to the table by Roy Jones, others think it’s idiotic. Teddy Atlas is a genius. No wait, Teddy goes too far. It’s almost always this way for commentators, they are loved or hated. However, at least one man behind the mic stands out as a favorite of the overwhelming majority. That would be Barry Tompkins.
Tompkins has been in the game for a long time, starting out by writing commentaries for a San Francisco radio station in 1965. Later, he became a sports director at a television station in the city, and then landed at NBC Sports as host of a weekly radio show and a television sports anchor in New York. After returning to San Francisco for a brief stint, he found boxing by becoming the blow-by-blow commentator for HBO, a position he would hold for eight years. Then it was on to ESPN, where he partnered with many to give descriptions and analysis on the popular “Top Rank Boxing” series. Since that show ended, Tompkins has moved on to Fox SportsNet’s Sunday Night Fights, and hasn’t missed a beat. In addition to his work in boxing, Tompkins has also been the voice for events such as Wimbledon tennis, NCAA Final Four, Super Bowls and World Series. He has won six CableACE awards, four Emmys, and was the recipient of 1992’s Sam Taub Award as boxing commentator of the year.
Like Al Bernstein, his partner of many years, Tompkins comes off as friendly and engaging, both on screen and in person, and seems like the type of guy who it would be a ball to watch a fight with. Tompkins recently spoke at length with Doghouse Boxing, and shared his thoughts on many of his past experiences and a host of recent issues in the boxing world.
SN: Getting started, how did you get into broadcasting?
BT: Gosh…it was kind of a fluke, actually. I was a writer, I actually started in the advertising business. I was really kind of disillusioned with the advertising business, I had a radio station in San Francisco as my client, KCBS radio. They asked me to go to work for them as promotion director, so I went to work for them, and it sort of evolved into my writing some commentaries for the guy who was then the sports director, and from there he let me do some interviews and gave me my own show, and it just kind of grew from there. Then I went to do local television for seven years here in San Francisco, and then I went to New York for five years to do local television at WNBC and on to the network at NBC. Then from NBC, to HBO, to ESPN, and then to FOX. I had never been in a television studio until I was hired at KPIX in San Francisco, kind of a fluke. That was a long time ago, and I’m always hesitant to tell that story to young people because it doesn’t happen that way anymore.
SN: Were you interested in boxing as a young person growing up?
BT: Yeah, my dad was a big boxing fan. San Francisco when I grew up was a pretty big boxing town, and I used to go watch Eddie Machen, who was a pretty hot guy here back then, and a guy named Casey, who was a middleweight. We used to go to fights, the golden gloves, so yeah, I don’t know if I can honestly say if I was a huge boxing fan, but my dad was, so I always went along with him.
SN: Did you have any favorite fights or fighters?
BT: The local guys. I grew up, kind of right at the end of Joe Louis’ time, and I remember listening to Don Dunphy doing all the fights on the radio, so I guess you could say that I was a Joe Louis fan, even though he was at the end of his career by the time that I started becoming interested. Sugar Ray Robinson was probably the first guy who made me sit up and take notice about what an art form it is.
SN: Like Jim Lampley, you were the voice of HBO Boxing. What are some of your memorable moments in that capacity?
BT: At the time that I was there, we only did about eight fights a year, but all eight of them were pretty good fights. So there were fewer fights, but I think they were probably on the whole, better fights. There were a lot of them. Obviously, both Leonard-Hearns fights, but the first one in particular really stands out to me. I always tell people that the best fight that I ever did just in terms of sheer excitement was Arguello-Pryor at the Orange Bowl of Miami. I mean really, that was an unbelievable fight.
SN: Really? Better than Hearns-Hagler?
BT: Well, yeah. Hearns-Hagler the first round was unbelievable, but the fight wasn’t unbelievable. That was the greatest ROUND of boxing I ever saw in my life, but just in terms of the fight itself, Pryor-Arguello was exciting from the opening bell to the end. It absolutely defined the term “war.” Plus the other thing that made it a great event was that there were 80,000 people in the Orange Bowl and it was at the time that the contras and the sandonistas were fighting in Nicaragua and there was some talk that Arguello was supporting the sandonistas. So there was an electric, almost a volatile environment there. They decided before the fight that they weren’t going to play any national anthems or have any fireworks, anything like that. I remember during the opening of the show, all of a sudden fireworks went off, and we were told that there weren’t going to be any fireworks, and a lot of us thought the place was coming down, that people were shooting! (laughs) So, it wasn’t only the fight, but the whole electric environment. But the fight was up to all the hype and way beyond…how either one of those guys remained standing at the end of that fight is beyond me…in fact, I guess you could say Arguello really didn’t because he wound up in the hospital.
SN: It was quite a brutal fight…
BT: Oh, it was unbelievable. Of course, Hearns-Hagler, the first round was the greatest round of boxing. From what I know, I can’t imagine there was ever a better one. But in terms of whether it was a great fight, no it wasn’t a great fight because the fight was over after the first round.
SN: It seems that every great commentator has that great call, for example Howard Cosell with “down Goes Frazier,” and Lampley with “It Happened!” with Foreman beating Moorer. Was there ever a time when you made a call, such as “How do you like it?” in Leonard-Hagler, that you thought it would be timeless?
BT: At the time, did I think it would be timeless? No. Did I plan those lines? No. I don’t think Jim Lampley did either. You just hope that in a great moment that you can come up with a phrase that capsulizes the moment. I would like to think that that line did capture the moment in that fight. When Tyson beat Berbick for the heavyweight championship, and even though it doesn’t seem like much of a line, I do think it captured the moment, as the referee was counting out Berbick, I said “and we have a new era in boxing.” I would say those two, probably. I’ve never thought of a line, it was just there. In any event, not just boxing, you just hope that you have the right words at the right time, and there are some that I think truly are timeless. For example, Al Michaels’ “do you believe in miracles,” was absolutely the right thing to say at the right time. I’d be lying to you if I told you that there weren’t guys out there who do that, I mean who write lines in the margin of their notes and think ‘maybe I’ll get to use this.’ There are guys who do that. I’ve never done that and I don’t think Lamps does that, and we’ve talked at length about that kind of stuff. The announcers that I respect don’t do that, and I can’t tell you why. You just hope that it’s there when the time comes.
SN: Okay, kind of an off the wall question here. Did you ever sense any animosity between fighter analysts and Larry Merchant? Larry seems to have butted heads at times with George Foreman and Roy Jones on-air. Why do you think that is?
BT: (laughs) Well, Larry is a curmudgeon. And I mean that in kind of a loving sense, to tell you the truth. He’s a very smart guy, he knows a lot, he really knows a lot about boxing. I think he feels that he probably knows as much or more about boxing than George Foreman and Roy Jones. And I will tell you this: the best color commentators I’ve ever had were not boxers. The two best guys I’ve ever worked with in my opinion are Al Bernstein and Rich Marotta, and they’re not boxers, but they know what they’re looking at. After you see so much of it, you really do know what you’re looking at. And I’ve worked with boxers who don’t know what they’re looking at, even though they’ve had all those fights. I’m not making an excuse for Larry, I like Larry and he’s a friend of mine, but to answer your question, I do think there is some animosity from some fighters, because Larry, Larry doesn’t hand you any flowers. He’s gonna go for the jugular. There is a technique of asking the tough questions, and a lot of people who do interviews might say that you have to throw a couple of softballs before you come to the tough questions. Well, Larry doesn’t bother with the softballs, he has his knockdown pitch coming right out of the box! (laughs) And it puts people right back on their heels. I think Larry would be the first to agree that yeah, there is a certain amount of animosity between him and some of the fighters.
SN: Larry does seem like a fiery type of a character…
BT: Yeah, when you get to know him, he is really a lovely guy, he really is. All that said, it takes time to get to know him. He’s very smart, and the one thing I can tell you is that he does know what he’s talking about.
SN: I’ll never forget the time he threw that guy down in the postfight interview with Daniel Zaragoza, after Zaragoza had decisioned Wayne McCullough. Do you remember that?
BT: (Laughs) That’s great. If he can do that, more power to him. (laughs) Larry’s a tough guy, and I mean that in a real positive way. He’s an old newspaper guy, a throwback newspaper guy, when they used to jostle for position, out-shout each other, be the first to ask the question, and that’s the school that Larry comes from, and there’s something to be said for that. Again, it’s not my style. Would I do it? No. Would I interview people the way Larry interviews people? No. But it’s Larry’s style, and who’s to argue with it? He’s been with HBO for 20 years.
SN: What happened with your departure from HBO?
BT: Nothing really. I was at HBO for ten years, and to be honest with you, I like doing boxing, but boxing is not my favorite sport by any stretch of the imagination. I really like doing different things, and I think my worth as a sportscaster is that I can do a lot of different sports. When I was at HBO, I was pretty limited in what I could do. They would let me go and do football or basketball over the air, but they wouldn’t let me go work for another cable network. ESPN kept knocking on my door, knocking on my door, and knocking on my door. I always had to say no, I couldn’t do anything for them because HBO wouldn’t let me do it. Now, all of that said, HBO paid a lot of money, the perks at HBO were unlike any I’ve had anywhere I’ve ever been, there was first class travel, they were very generous, and at the time I was there they were growing. The perks were really good, and that kind of stuff is hard to give up. But, I had pretty much decided that at the end of my contract we could sit down and talk with ESPN.
I had a clause in my contract with HBO that said I had first refusal with anything HBO did in terms of sports, because they weren’t doing much then. We had eight or nine boxing shows, Wimbledon, and the odd gymnastics or figure skating, etc. In my contract with HBO, it called for 24 shows a year. So, Seth Abraham and I had dinner, and I got along with Seth and still do to this day. Seth said to me, “look, I wanted to ask you, we’re thinking of using Jim Lampley on a figure skating show.” And I said, because I had the clause in my contract, and this has always been one of the problems in my career because my mouth goes off before my head engages, “why don’t you use Jim in all your shows and buy me out of the last two years of my contract?” And Seth says, “let me think about that.” And we go on and finish the dinner! (laughs) Then about three or four days later, Seth called me and said, “okay.” That’s how it happened. It happened a little sooner than I really wanted it to happen, but I went to ESPN about two months later and it worked out fine. In retrospect, I don’t have any regrets for it. I still have great relationships with the people at HBO. I think the world of people like Ross Greenburg and Rick Burstein. But again, I don’t hold a grudge against anyone there. Lamps and I are friends, and he’s been nothing but supportive. He’s always quick to say “it’s not just me at HBO, Barry Tompkins was here for 10 years.”
SN: Okay, so you go to ESPN. You have a great chemistry with Al Bernstein. Describe what you felt made you and Al such a great team on the air.
BT: You know, it’s really funny, I don’t know. I think we’re really kind of kindred spirits. One of the things that bothered me at HBO…what’s really important to me is who I’m working with, and is this any fun? And to be really honest with you is one of the things that started to wear thin with me at HBO, is every show they did was World War III. There was a director there named Marc Payton and he still works there and he’s a terrific director, and if it weren’t for him the fights at HBO would be no fun. Because it was all really serious business, and it was important for me to enjoy what I’m doing and enjoy who I’m working with. So when I hooked up with Al at ESPN, and we had known each other just from seeing each other around, there just seemed to be this instant chemistry, and I think we have the same twisted sense of humor. To ESPN’s credit, when we first started, they basically just said, “Go ahead!” They let us do what we wanted. Every week, it was in another place and we always thought of ourselves as mercenaries, riding into town, shooting up the town, and riding out of town. We just laughed and scratched all through the whole broadcast. Our whole philosophy was two guys sitting on a barstool watching the fights.
SN: That’s a perfect description, because that is the impression I got watching the old Top Rank Boxing shows, was that you two were just having a good time.
BT: Yeah, all that said, I think while ESPN said go ahead and do that, toward the end of our ten years at ESPN, I think they began thinking of us as loose cannons. It’s funny because Al and I were talking about this over this past weekend when we did the Golden Gloves, oddly enough for ESPN Classic, we were talking about all the stuff we did during all those years when they got to thinking of us as loose cannons, that’s exactly what they want now, that’s what they’re looking for. But I think we were a little bit too much off the wall. It was just fun, and not only that, but when it came time to really talk about the fight, Al was the most knowledgeable guy I’ve ever been around in boxing. He really is. He absolutely knows what he’s looking at, and we could laugh and scratch, but when it came time to really be serious about the fight, I think we could do that too because I think we both know what we’re talking about.
It’s really interesting in that boxing broadcasting is really different from other sports in that there’s really not a play-by-play and color analyst role because action is going on all the time. So, if Al happened to be talking and something happened, Al would just pick up the play-by-play. It’s the same thing with when I work with Rich Marotta at FOX, he can pick it up because he’s done play-by-play, he’s done it, he knows about it, so I don’t have to jump in, I don’t have to come in over the top of him. When I’m working with a fighter and he’s talking, and something happens, I have to jump in over him. I think that’s what makes the broadcast like with Al and Rich, so much smoother. I didn’t have to do that, I knew that if something happened, Al would just take it, and we always had that kind of understanding. And we’re very good friend outside the boxing arena, also, we hang out together, our wives are friends, we visit with each other. I haven’t been on ESPN since 1995, and we’re still friends. It’s really a special relationship. I’ve really been lucky in that I’ve had some really terrific color commentators to work with. It’s important to me who I work with. Especially in the last 10 or 12 years, I’ve really had good guys. I can honestly tell you I’ve never had a guy I would have put in that category of “jerk.” There are plenty of them out there, but I’ve really been lucky, and I don’t just mean in boxing. In basketball, football…I’ve always had guys that I like.
SN: You’ve always had a very quick wit, and have delivered some of the best one-liners I’ve ever heard. To what do you attribute your great sense of humor and what are some of your favorite jokes of your own?
BT: I have a friend of mine named Ron Majors who is an anchorman in Chicago, and he always had this line about what television is all about, “by the time it’s out of your mouth it’s on it’s way to Pluto.” I’ve really kind of lived by that. Like if I’m doing a football game and I don’t write the score down at the end of the game, by the time we go off the air I won’t remember the score. And it’s kind of that way with lines, I don’t plan any of that stuff. It’s there, and I don’t plan any of that stuff! (Laughs)
SN: I’ll never forget a line you had when my friend Tommy Morrison fought Bobby Quarry. Prior to the fight, you said, “Well, if bodies win fights, you know where this one’s going.” Then the camera focused on Quarry, and you quipped, “There’s the ‘before.’”
BT: That one I do remember, and I remember it only because it pissed Bob Arum off so much. (Laughs) Bob and I couldn’t be more opposite. We’re both Jewish, that’s where it stops. He’s the most serious guy I’ve ever been around in my life, I mean, I think he’s absolutely humorless. There were a lot of times, where we had to try and sell these fights for ESPN, to try and make people stick around and watch these fights. I’m telling you, it was ALL I could do. That was one in particular I really remember because Quarry had NO right to be there…he was fat, he hadn’t fought in six months. He was out of shape. And Bob got all over me for kidding about Quarry’s shape. I just can’t take it that seriously, especially the kinds of fights that we were doing at ESPN or we were doing at FOX. I mean, 98% of those guys are going to be asking if you want fries with that burger six months from now. (laughs) I couldn’t…it was very hard for me to stand there and, basically, lie to my audience. With HBO fights, that was something else, because there was something to sell, I didn’t have to get there and make a case for these guys. I have to say, that at least with the people at FOX, they don’t make me do that quite as much as Arum did.
I don’t remember most of my jokes, and I don’t want to use them twice! (laughs) I think it’s that I’ve never taken it very seriously. I mean, I think there are times when you need to take something seriously when someone gets hurt and when you don’t want to be kidding around. I would like to think that I have a very innate sense of when it’s time to play it straight and when it’s time to kid around. One of the things that hurt me when I went to New York is that the measure by which we are all judged, especially on the East Coast, is Marv Albert. I think Marv is wonderful, and we worked together at NBC. But he really cares, he cares about who wins the game, who scores what, and all that kinda stuff. I could care less. I absolutely don’t care who wins any game that I do, I don’t care who wins any fight that I do. That’s because first of all, I can’t have a rooting interest because it makes for a biased broadcast. It’s just, in the great scheme of life, it’s just not important. It’s just sports. I guess that’s always been my philosophy. I would hope that I don’t go to the extent of just making it completely flippant, but I just think there’s always room for having fun. Just going back to the analogy of two guys sitting on a barstool watching a game, you tell jokes on the barstool sometimes. I just think that’s my attitude about it, and I’m at that age now and that point in my career, I’m like, ‘if you don’t like it, don’t watch me.’
SN: Even though you’ve mentioned that boxing isn’t your favorite sport, is there anything that separates boxing for you and makes it special?
BT: The boxers. I really like boxers. It’s funny, my wife is a newspaper columnist and she used to write on sports for many, many years, and she always used to say that she’d rather interview boxers than anybody else, because they may not be Rhodes scholars, but if you ask them a question, they actually think about the question and give you a thoughtful answer. Almost to the number I find them to be gentle guys who are far less violent than football players. They’re victims really of the people who are handling them, but I think, without being too esoteric, one of the reasons for it is that they have nothing to prove. They’re out there with a pair of shorts and a pair of gloves. What they are is all out there in that 18 foot ring. That’s their whole persona, and it’s all wrapped up out there in that ring. They have nothing to hide, and I think that’s one of the reasons for it.
I think any other sport, whatever it may be with the possible exception of auto racing, for a given game, you can be 95% and still win. But I honestly don’t believe at the higher levels you can be 95% and still win a fight. I think you have to be 100%. And that’s one of the things that endears me to fighters. As a group of athletes there’s probably less of a drinking problem, less of a drug problem, than there is amongst fighters than there are amongst football players or basketball or baseball players at the professional level. There’s just something really endearing to me about fighters. Now, the people that run the sport, that’s another story altogether. (laughs)
SN: You’ve covered a lot of great fighters, but also great characters. Who are some of the great characters you’ve seen?
BT: Well, obviously Mike Tyson is a great character. I got to know him from fairly early on, and I maintain to this day that there is a really soft and fuzzy side to Mike Tyson. I’m not sure that he can find it in himself anymore, but there was a time when I really liked Mike Tyson. I had some really long, heart to heart talks with him. So he really goes down as one of those people that you shake your head and think ‘well, I hope he doesn’t wind up in an alley somewhere.’
This other guys pops into my mind, and he wasn’t even a great fighter, just mediocre, named “Mole Man Williams.” He used to spar in Philadelphia, he used to work with Hagler and all those guys in the south side of Philadelphia in the gyms. The reason he wasn’t such a great fighter is that he just got the sh*t kicked out of him in the gyms of Philadelphia. But he was a really good card player. And so, every time he’d go and spar with these guys, they’d pay him $100-$150 or whatever it was to spar, and he’d win thousands from them playing cards! (laughs) And I remember him telling me about that and I just thought ‘wow, that’s great, he’s making just as much as the fighters and he’s not getting hit!’ (Laughs) The biggest characters are usually the guys who don’t really make it.
Another guy I really liked a lot was Marvin Hagler. I think that Marvin is a guy who will never get his just due because of the Ray Leonard fight. I think he really has to be considered as one of the great middleweights of all time. I spent some time with him in Provincetown, and I forget who he was training for, but here was this tough guy who had a tough childhood, and there was a really big gay community there and blue-haired people there who have been there for ninety years and Portuguese fishermen. I went running with Marvin one morning, and there was this blue-haired lady who ran the local hair salon and came out and would say “Hi Marvin!” And he’d go in and chat up the blue-haired lady. Then some of the gay guys who owned a dance studio or whatever it was, I don’t know, he’d go in and have a cup of coffee with them, and then he’d end up sitting on the boats with the Portuguese fishermen drinking coffee with them. I always thought that’s just amazing. Here’s a guy who couldn’t be more removed from that lifestyle, and it’s like everybody knows him, everybody loves him, and he’s just a really simple guy, and I don’t mean stupid because he wasn’t stupid. Just a guy, a guy you’d want to talk to and visit with who had this image as a monster. I really liked him just because of that. And of course Ray Leonard was my color commentator for ten years and we had a really close relationship and I really think a lot of Ray too. I got to know him very well and I still consider him a good friend of mine.
SN: Who do you think won the fight? Hagler or Leonard?
BT: I think Ray won the fight. Let me put it this way: I think Ray won the fight, but I think he stole the fight. There’s a story that goes with that too. Ray and I were doing the Hagler-Duran fight, and at the end of the fight, I don’t know if people know this, but Ray and Duran had become pretty good friends after their fights and animosity. And at the end of the Hagler-Duran fight, Roberto came over to where we were sitting, and he bent through the ropes and said to Ray, ‘you can beat this guy.’ And I knew right then, that that fight was going to happen. Now it didn’t happen until about a year and a half after that, but about three or four months later, we were doing a fight in Miami, and so typical of Ray, he calls me up and tells me ‘hey, I chartered a boat, meet me at this dock.’ So I’m standing at this dock at 10 o’clock in the morning looking for some boat that Ray chartered, and of course he pulls up in a 120 foot cabin cruiser….(laughs) Anyway, we’re sitting in the boat, and out of the blue, Ray says to me, ‘you know how beat Marvin Hagler? Here’s how you beat Marvin Hagler…three times in every round, you get in, you throw about 10 punches, and you get out, and you ALWAYS finish every round with a rally.’ But ONLY three times a round, so basically you’re fighting about 45 seconds a round, and if you remember, that’s EXACTLY how he beat Hagler. So I thought he went in there with the idea of stealing the fight, and I thought he stole the fight.
SN: Just briefly, a couple of contemporary issues. Corrales-Castillo. All-time great, or not?
BT: I’ll tell you, I didn’t see the fight. BUT, Al Bernstein tells me it was an all-time great fight, so I’m going with what he said. Everything I’ve read about it just sounds like it was an unbelievable fight. I hearken back to Arguello-Pryor, and it sounded like that kind of fight. Give and take, give and take, both guys are down, both guys are up, both guys have a big heart, and in the end, Corrales’ heart was a little bigger.
SN: Next…Wright-Trinidad. Is Trinidad done? Even though he announced his retirement, after being shut out, is there any point in him going on?
BT: I don’t think so. I thought he was done when he came back in the first fight against Mayorga. I don’t think that was any kind of a test for him. I think Winky Wright is heckuva fighter, and I’m not saying that now that he’s beaten Trinidad, I thought Wright was a heckuva fighter before. He’s not a fighter that’s going to bring you out of your seat, but I think he’s gonna get people to pay a little more attention to defensive. He’s a complete package, I think he’s going to be awfully tough to beat no matter who he fights. I think he’s a way underrated fighter, and I think he’ll be underrated even now because people will say ‘well, he beat a shot fighter.’
SN: I know you were working last night with the Golden Gloves on ESPN2, but have you had a chance to see Lamon Brewster’s destruction of Andrew Golota?
BT: No, not yet, but I have been reading the clips. I’ve never been much of a Lamon Brewster fan, but it sounds like Brewster just went after him and took him out of there. I thought Golota might win that fight, like I said I never though too much about Brewster. Boy, I think there’s a real dearth in the heavyweight division right now, and I think it’s sitting there waiting for somebody, but we don’t know who the ‘somebody’ is, that’s the only thing! (laughs)
SN: If Brewster fights that aggressively in the future, Vitali Klitschko could be in trouble.
BT: I think any one of the guys at the top of the division can beat any other guy, which I guess is a good thing. I don’t know how good any of them are, but I think maybe what might be going on with Brewster, and I’ve seen this happen before, is that sometimes when a guy becomes a champion, all of a sudden he doesn’t really believe he can be beaten, and he gets better as a result of that. So I don’t know if the Golota fight was a real barometer of how good he might or might now be. It might make a good fight to fight Klitschko, and might do okay on pay per view, and they seem to be comparable types. I don’t know. I think Byrd might be the best boxer out there, but he can’t whack anybody. There’s just not much out there.
SN: What are your thoughts on James Toney’s positive steroid test?
BT: I don’t think he’s a stupid guy. I don’t think he would knowingly have done that. I really don’t. I think somewhere along the line he took something he shouldn’t have, that he probably should have checked out the legality of. He might be guilty of a little stupidity but I honestly don’t believe that he would do that.
SN: Are you saying you believe him when he says he didn’t know he was taking performance enhancing substances?
BT: I think his doctor probably gave him something for his shoulder. It could have been a steroid. I remember I had laryngitis one time and my doctor gave me this stuff and tells me I can only take it for two weeks. Come to find out it was a steroid! But I didn’t know that…obviously I’m not going to get tested for that (laughs). But, I don’t know. I don’t want to make excuses for Toney. If he knew he was going to get tested after the fight, why would he knowingly do that? I just don’t think he’s that stupid.
SN: Finally, how satisfied are you with job right now at FOX?
BT: Well, you know, right now I am pretty satisfied at FOX. There’s been a real changing of the guard at FOX and I will also tell you that two or three years ago I was not very happy there. But there’s been a management change, and there are two things that are very positive to me about the change in management. One is that there are people who like boxing, I think we are going to do more of it. I think that the caliber of fights are going to get better. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us get in the pay-per-view market. So that’s all good in my opinion. The one thing I’m hoping is that we get Rich Marotta back. I’m really high on Rich, and I really think the world of him and would like to have him sit next to me.
Writer’s Note: I would like to thank Al Bernstein for getting me in contact with the other half of boxing’s greatest boxing broadcast team ever, and also to Barry Tompkins for being so generous and open with his time. You guys are the best.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2005