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The view from ringside

We go 12 rounds with prolific announcer Al Bernstein

Posted: Friday October 7, 2005 2:30PM; Updated: Friday October 7, 2005 4:26PM
Al Bernstein (left, pictured here interviewing Oscar De La Hoya in 1999), has been calling fights for ESPN and Showtime for 25 years.
Al Bernstein (left, pictured here interviewing Oscar De La Hoya in 1999), has been calling fights for ESPN and Showtime for 25 years.
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For broadcaster Al Bernstein, this month marks 25 years of calling fights at ringside.

The voice of ESPN's Top Rank Boxing series for almost two decades and the host of the long-running (and always edifying) Bernstein on Boxing series for ESPN Classic, an occasional cabaret singer between bouts and, basically, one of the most comfortable and authoritative voices in the sport, the Chicago-born Bernstein is currently the lead analyst for Showtime Boxing. He also hosts the daily Al Bernstein Sports Party on ESPN Radio out of his home in Las Vegas.

And somehow, he found time to go 12 rounds with SI.com.

1. After a quarter century of calling fights, which bouts stand out the most in your memory?

Bernstein: We had a fight in 1981 -- Bill (Caveman) Lee and John LoCicero. It was at the Twenty Grand Showroom in Detroit. There was no air-conditioning; it was sweltering. They fought the most amazing round -- it was the fourth or fifth. LoCicero gets knocked down and gets up and lands -- I swear I am not exaggerating -- 25 unanswered punches and so exhausted himself that Caveman Lee got through it and knocked him out.

Then, of course, there was Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns. That was pretty astonishing. And I'd also single out the first Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe fight. Finally, the most exciting bout -- and the one fought on the highest level of any fight I've done in 25 years -- has to be Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo. It was beyond anything.

2. How do you see the Corrales-Castillo rematch going?

Bernstein: It's fascinating on so many levels. One, that it's happening so soon after the first fight, only five months ago. We almost never get those rematches right away. A lot will depend on who left the most in the ring the first time. To me, it's all up to Corrales. If he decides to walk up to Castillo and plant himself there again, we're going to have exactly the same thing. But, even if he doesn't decide to do that, we're going to have a wildly exciting fight. And, of course, Castillo may be able to force him to do that again. Plus, it's a misconception to think that Castillo can't be effective from longer range.

Still, it's all going to depend on Corrales. The edge in a rematch usually goes to the guy who hurt the other the most at the end. But in this one, I'm not sure who had the most taken out of him in the first fight.