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October 09, 2018

By Doveed Linder

RINGSIDE: INTERVIEWS WITH 24 FIGHTERS & BOXING INSIDERS is a trilogy of books that includes interviews with fighters, trainers, promoters, managers, officials, and others who have had an inside look into the sport.  Each interview in the RINGSIDE books is presented in Q & A format, featuring over 130 photographs of the people and events that are discussed.  The topics cover how each person got their start in boxing and some of the experiences they had along the way.  Readers will learn facts that have never been revealed and get a feel for the personalities that exist within the fight game.  Written by Boxingtalk’s Doveed Linder, the first edition of RINGSIDE is now available on  Below are highlights from all three RINGSIDE books, which came from interviews with Larry Merchant, Ray Rodgers, Cornelius Bundrage, Pat Lynch, and Chris Byrd.

LARRY MERCHANT, former HBO commentator

Topic: Comparing Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather (in 2011)

MERCHANT: “I don’t think there’s any doubt that Pacquiao has the more impressive resume.  In every division he’s fought, he fought virtually the best guy who was available.  Not only did he not duck any opponents, but he went out of his way to find guys to not duck.  For whatever reason, Mayweather, in my mind, wasn’t eager to make the fight with Pacquiao.  What would have happened if they both fought?  I think Mayweather would have been favored, because he is a defensive wizard in a style where he has been successful in turning every climactic event into an anti-climactic event.  But no matter what would happen in the fight, in my view, Pacquiao has had a greater career.  There are too many fighters Mayweather found a reason not to fight when he could have or should have fought them.”

RAY RODGERS, former president of the National Golden Gloves, Jermain Taylor’s cutman

Topic: Jermain Taylor’s career

RODGERS: “I don’t get involved in a fighter’s business affairs.  I got one job and that’s a cutman.  But if I had been Jermain Taylor’s manager, you might say that I would have done some things different.  Jermain’s first trainer was Pat Burns and he got him to 25-0.  But after Jermain beat Bernard Hopkins twice, they brought in Emanuel Steward to replace him.  May his soul rest in peace, but hiring Emanuel Steward was one of the worst things they did.  He brought nothing to the table.  I’m not diminishing his achievements as a trainer or saying anything negative about him, but he brought nothing.  They paid him a lot of money and I think that’s why he took the job.  I don’t think he was really interested in Jermain’s career.”

CORNELIUS BUNDRAGE, former two-time junior middleweight champion

Topic: The importance of being a champion

BUNDRAGE: “I used to talk to young people all the time about God.  A car would pass by, and it would have nice rims, and the radio would be bumpin’, and they would have no idea what I just said.  They were looking at the car.  God gave me something to keep their attention.  He gave me a championship belt.  Now when I talk to the kids, they say, “What did you say, Champ?  What did you say, K-9?”  A car could ride past and they don’t turn their heads like they did before.  God gave me this belt, because he knew I was gonna keep Him close to me.  He knew I was gonna speak the truth.  I’m not champion of the world because I’m the greatest fighter of all time.  I’m a champion because I’ve got Jesus.  That’s why I’m a world champion.”

PAT LYNCH, Arturo Gatti’s manager

Topic: Arturo Gatti vs Micky Ward I

LYNCH: “When I told Arturo that HBO was offering us Micky Ward, he said, “No problem.”  He had a good training camp, but we never could have expected what happened.  After the fight, Arturo said, “I’ve always said to myself that the toughest fight of my life would be if I fought somebody just like me.  Guess what?  I just fought somebody just like me.”  In that ninth round, I was just sinking into my seat and covering my face and peaking through my fingers.  Forget it!  I was so relieved when it was over.  That was done and all of a sudden they’re talking about a rematch.  I thought, oh my god!  We have to go through this again?  Jesus Christ!”

CHRIS BYRD, former two-time heavyweight champion

Topic: Chris Byrd vs Vitali Klitschko

BYRD: “All I knew about Vitali was that he was 28-0 with 28 knockouts.  When I was in Germany , I saw him, and I couldn’t believe how big he was.  I was used to fighting tall guys, but not 6’7”.  This was just crazy.  When we got in the middle of the ring, the crowd started laughing because of the size difference.  We started boxing, and I was getting hit with punches that I wasn’t used to getting hit with.  My brother came up after the second round, and he said, “Walk him down.  Make him miss and keep going forward.”  I couldn’t box him from the outside.  I couldn’t hit him, so I started making him miss and walking to him.  After a while, the crowd started chanting my name.”

Doveed Linder is the author of RINGSIDE: INTERVIEWS WITH 24 FIGHTERS AND BOXING INSIDERS, a collection of in depth interviews with various fighters, trainers, corner men, promoters, and officials, including “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Roy Jones, Jr., Angelo Dundee, Emanuel Steward, Larry Merchant, Bob Arum, Steve Smoger, and Jackie Kallen.  The foreword was written by Boxingtalk publisher Greg Leon.  This book is now available on

Ringside: Interviews With 24 Fighters and Boxing Insiders ...
RINGSIDE: INTERVIEWS WITH 24 FIGHTERS AND BOXING INSIDERS by Daveed Linder is a book that explores the sport of boxing, and the people who make this sport possible.

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