SPEAKING OUT: Bob Sheridan during the welterweight bout between Jeff Horn and Randall Bailey.
SPEAKING OUT: Bob Sheridan during the welterweight bout between Jeff Horn and Randall Bailey. Chris Hyde

Legendary commentator picks boxing favourites

Colonel Bob Sheridan - a Hall of Fame commentator who has called 999 world title fights - loves boxing so much he would die for it.

And that almost happened when the 71-year-old, in Brisbane to call Jeff Horn to a TKO victory over Randall Bailey, checked himself out of hospital back in 1997.

It was the night before the infamous Mike Tyson v Evander Holyfield ear-biting heavyweight title fight, and Sheridan had just suffered another of his multiple heart attacks.

But he wasn't going to miss what was about to be, at the time, the highest-grossing pay-per-view fight in boxing history.

So he checked himself out of hospital against the doctors' orders - with two important companions.

"The doctors said I couldn't do it, so I signed myself out," Sheridan told Australian Regional Media.

"My bodyguard was a seven-foot Mexican, and he said 'not only is the Colonel going, but you're coming too' - to the doctor.

"So the doctor came to the fight with me - he never saw anything like it in his life."

Sheridan admitted it was a crazy thing to do, but something he didn't regret - it ended up being one of the craziest fights of all time.

Of course Tyson was disqualified for his ear-biting antics, and Holyfield retained the world heavyweight title.

"In retrospect it was crazy," he said.

"But I had anxiety about staying in the hospital and missing out on calling that fight, because that was as big a fight as there was at that time."

Sheridan has seen all the best fighters in the world during his career, but surprisingly said the great Muhammed Ali was not the greatest.

Rather, it was Larry Holmes, who defended his heavyweight title 20 times, and was one of only five to beat Ali, who got his nod.

 

 

Ken Norton, right, and Larry Holmes battle for the WBC heavyweight championship at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Jun 9, 1978.
Ken Norton, right, and Larry Holmes battle for the WBC heavyweight championship at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Jun 9, 1978.

 

"I saw Larry Holmes do something that nobody did," Sheridan said.

"I saw him get knocked out three times - his eyes were rolling back into his head right in front of me (against Reynaldo Snipes).

"His leg was quivering. And he gets up and he wins the fight.

"He did it two other times - against Mike Weaver and against Ernie Shavers."

Sheridan rated the Rumble in the Jungle (Ali v George Foreman) and Thrilla in Manilla (Ali v Joe Frazier) as among the best fights he has called.

He also gave special mention to the Marvin Hagler v Thomas Hearns fight in 1985 - three rounds of furious action which a blood-soaked Hagler claimed.

"Hagler v Hearns is the most dramatic three rounds of boxing, maybe ever," he said.

Sheridan is a member of four boxing halls of fame around the world, and he will be inducted into a fifth - the International Hall of Fame - in June.

He has achieved everything as a commentator, but now, in his "seventh life" after suffering a handful of heart attacks, said there was no end in sight.

"I hope not. As long as they keep hiring me and I keep going and my voice stays strong and my mind stays sharp," he said.

"I'm 72 this year and I've been calling them for almost 50 years.

"I still get excited with it."



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