Interview: Colonel Bob Sheridan

By Ray Wheatley – World of Boxing

Colonel Bob Sheridan talks to Fightnews.com® about Jeff Horn’s victory over Manny Pacquiao and how promoter Dean Lonergan has established himself as one of the best in the world of promoting mega boxing events.

Photo: Sumio Yamada

The Colonel was inducted into the IBHOF in 2016 for outstanding contribution to boxing as a broadcaster for over fifty years of calling world championship bouts including the Rumble in the Jungle (Ali vs. Foreman) and the Thrilla in Manila (Ali vs. Frazier 3rd). He continues to travel the world calling major world title fights.

You called your 1,015th world title fight in Brisbane last weekend when Jeff Horn caused a major upset in defeating Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision by judges Waleska Roldan 117-111, Chris Flores 115-113, Ramon Cerdan 115-113. Could you give me your thoughts?

“I thought the scores were fair with the exception of the 117-111, but the three-judge panel got it right. The only reason the USA is up in arms is that the announcer in the studio back in the States went overboard against the score of the fight. The ringside announcer Teddy Atlas for ESPN was also in favor of Manny, as well. My experience tells me that every time a big fight has three or four very close rounds, there is bound to be controversy if the TV announce team sees the fight opposite from the judges.

“In the Philippines, the fans are such Manny Pacquiao fanatics that you could expect that reaction.

“The only other problem is the fact the judges didn’t score the ninth round 10-8 in favor of Manny. In spite of the fact there was no knockdown, Manny beat Jeff from pillar to post in that round and could have been rewarded for it with a 10-8 round. On the world telecast, I told my audience that I could see a draw, but with four close rounds, it could go either way by two points. As it worked out, the judges gave Jeff more of the close rounds than they gave Manny, so I really can’t take issue with the scoring.”

You have called several of Jeff Horn’s fights in New Zealand and Australia. Did you think he had the skills and power to defeat Manny Pacquiao who has wins over great boxers in Oscar de la Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton?

“I’ve done most of Jeff Horn’s fights on TV and he has continued to improve as a fighter. Jeff is not as skilled as the future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao – however; what he lacks in skills, he makes up for in his youth, his determination, his power and his almost uncanny ability to recover when he’s hurt. Jeff Horn is in the prime of his career and Manny is just past his prime. Going into the fight, I felt Jeff’s awkward style coupled with his accurate and powerful punch, gave him a puncher’s chance to win this fight. Both men were in the best possible shape they could be in and they put on a great action packed fight before 51,000 live fans and a worldwide audience. The fight was great for boxing. It’s just too bad about all of the controversy.”

The promoter Dean Lonergan had amazing confidence in Jeff Horn’s ability to win a world title and with Bob Arum staged a world class promotion attracting over 51,000 fans to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. You have worked with the best in Don King and Top Rank. How good in Dean Lonergan as a promoter on the world stage?

“I’ve worked with both Don King and Bob Arum, who are both Hall of Fame promoters. They are the best ever. I’ve also worked with almost every major promoter in boxing for the past 50 years. I’ve worked with most of Dean Lonergan’s promotions over the past decade or more, and he has absolutely blown me away with the success of his promotions.

“He was smart enough to bring in Bob Arum with both Joseph Parker and Jeff Horn. Just look at what happened (two world champions). In his first co-promotion with Top Rank Boxing, Jeff Horn gets a shot at Manny Pacquiao for a world title. Dean was confident he could pull this promotion off. He went to work with Australia and the city of Brisbane and convinced them to get behind this mega event. I’m sure it paid off ten-fold for the city of Brisbane. Dean Lonergan is the future. With the split with his former partner David Higgins, Australia is going to be the big benefactor of his genius and hard work.”

Manny Pacquiao said he wants a rematch with Jeff Horn. Will they need a bigger stadium for the rematch in November?

“You asked me about a rematch. If I were in charge, I would take the next fight to the Philippines in November, and come back to Brisbane next year at this time of year if a 3rd fight is necessary. The ball is in Manny’s court. How much longer will he fight? Bob Arum will sit down with Manny to discuss the next step. If Manny wants to continue fighting, Bob will determine, with Manny’s imput, what the best financial situation may be in the future. Remember this is professional boxing and it’s about making money.”

Jeff Horn has attracted amazing publicity in Australia being featured on the front pages of all the major newspapers around Australia. How big a star in boxing can Horn become? Could he defeat the elite welterweights in Kieth Thurman or Errol Spence?

“Most of the boxing world feels Jeff Horn would be in big trouble with Keith Thurman, Errol Spence or Shawn Porter and especially Terrance Crawford should he move up in weight. However, the same inside boxing experts gave Jeff no chance against Manny Pacquiao. Who knows? I think Jeff is special, and he could surprise more people as his career unfolds. He’s only 27 and he’s in his prime now. Making money is what it’s all about and he can do that. His legacy will unfold now with each fight, but he’s already made history. His style, power and work ethic should carry him a long way.”

Do you still get excited calling world championship bouts around the globe after being a broadcaster for over fifty years?

“You asked me about my continued love for the sport and does it still give me a thrill to call the big fights. I still have the same excitement I’ve had for every big fight. I’ll tell you last week, the hair was standing up on the back of my neck and the goose bumps were there when I was listening to the national anthems of the Philippines and Australia, and the fight had not even started yet. I love the sport and since being inducted into five boxing halls of fames, I can tell you, if I ever lose that desire and love for the sport, that’s when I’ll step down…as long as my mind and body can function, I’ll keep doing this. They’ll have to get a hook to drag me off because calling fights is oxygen for me.”

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