It is safe to say that Al Bernstein has done it all. In the 1980’s he first joined ESPN as a boxing analyst for the Top Rank Boxing series. Over the next 20 years, he would become a SportsCenter reporter on a multitude of sports including MLB, NBA, NHL, and of course boxing. In 1990, he even starred in the not so great Rocky 5 as a fight announcer. He has dabbled in music and released his own album in 1988 although I must admit finding the music is a little difficult. During his time as a sports anchor in Las Vegas from 1999-2002, he did play in casinos such as Caesars Palace and Mandalay Bay. Since 2003, he has been a vital part of Showtime’s “Showtime Championship Boxing” series. In July of 2019, he joined hosts Sharp and Shapiro to talk boxing.
Bernstein had this to say in response to Maxim Dadashev’s tragic death after his fight with Subriel Matias:
“Yeah, it’s very sad, you know, in combat sports the byproduct sometimes is a situation like this. It’s tragic and terrible. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way, as much as the sport tries to put in more safety measures (stop matches quicker and making sure the testing is better in terms of a brain tests) to stop something like this from happening. Inevitably things like this are going to happen.”
I think Al covered this topic perfectly. No one wants to see someone die in a boxing ring but at the end of the day you can’t make boxing safe. The sport will always be one guy punching the other guy as hard as he can. I enjoy that Al is an advocate for better testing, but he also been around the game long enough to know the truth. Boxers go into every match knowing that they could die. I am glad he did not take to the streets demanding changes like so many other sports analysts do. I remember last baseball season when a foul struck a 2-year-old girl in the face. You would think the country was in literal flames. While I do not enjoy watching children being struck by high flying objects, that is the risk people take by going to games.
“Yeah that would indicate some form of complacency [in regards to whether or not Thurman took Pacquiao lightly] or feeling overconfident that you’re going to win the fight, and I have heard that from people as well [that he had been out partying late the night before the match].”
There was definitely a weird air about this fight form the very beginning. Everyone remembers Thurman coming out in public saying he wanted to fight Pacquiao following his win against Josesito López. It seemed to set a tone for a fight that was not really scheduled. The strange part of the arrangement came during the weeks leading up to the fight when Thurman began talking about how much he admired Manny. When the report came out that Thurman had been partying the entire night before, it sent even more mixed messages. I believe it was more of a case of having a big ego versus complacency. While the differences are slight, I believe he was in the mindset that he was always ready for this fight and it didn’t matter what happened prior to stepping into that ring once the fight became official. There is always the Vegas factor as well. If you get into the flow of a casino on the strip, it can be hard to remove yourself from it.
“I actually don’t think it’s going to happen [another fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather]. I don’t know if that is on the docket. I don’t think Mayweather feels comfortable coming back to this juncture with this long layoff. Manny Pacquiao, of course, is fighting very well.”
I will always remember the hype around that boxing match. The match labeled “The Fight of the Century” made nearly half a billion dollars. I think my parents made me facetime my screen when their stream went out. A second fight would certainly garner a lot of attention once again. It really feels like Manny Pacquiao is the only one who could give Mayweather his first loss after all these years. Mayweather has already cemented himself as the greatest boxer of all time and he knows he does not need this fight. His ego would not allow the possibility of losing and having the GOAT discussion being directed elsewhere. It is nothing more than a pipe dream.