By Ray Wheatley – World of Boxing
Former WBA lightweight champion Sean O’Grady (81-5, 70 KOs) and legendary broadcaster talks to Peter Maniatis about his career in boxing and some of the outstanding people he has met.
Born into a boxing family
“My father (Pat) was in boxing before I was born. The only job my father had was in boxing. He was a trainer, also a cutman, and eventually became a promoter. He promoted my world championship fights. My family business was every two weeks we would have a fight promotion. Before the promotion, I would call the fight fans and request they came to the fights. I would take their orders for the tickets and on the night of the fights, I was in charge of the gloves and many other things. I was like a stage manager – I would get the fighters ready to get in the ring and then get them out of the ring. That was our life – every two weeks.
The Bubble Gum Kid
“When I was running doing roadwork I would chew bubble gum and it would help moisten my mouth which was helpful. When I went to weigh-ins you don’t want people to think you are nervous, though I was frightened to be facing my opponent, and the bubble gum helped to calm my nerves. At the face-off with my opponent, it helped that I could blow bubbles to show my opponent I was not scared of him. I was, but he didn’t know that. The media gave me the name ‘The Bubble Gum Bomber’ because I was always trying to knock out my opponent.
“My cousin is Sean Gibbons and he could fight. (Gibbons had 20 fights and boxed Mickey Rourke), but he didn’t like to train. Sean does a great job working with Manny Pacquiao as the General Manager of Manny Pacquiao Promotions.
Boxer and Broadcaster
“The greatest time of my life was being a boxer. I was so proud to be a champion of the world. I wanted to be world champion since I was a little boy. But being a broadcaster on Tuesday Night Fights was spectacular too. I got to see some of the greatest fights in the world. I got to meet the boxers and their trainers and the people who came to the fights. I am still friends with many of them today. I have had a spectacular life.
Sugar Ray Robinson
“Sugar Ray Robinson was the best boxer I have seen. I met him when he was 65 years of age. I met him at the Main Street Gym in Los Angeles. He was terrific to talk to and he told me something I still carry with me today. He said boxers today don’t have balance. He then said ‘I want you to walk heel to toe, heel to toe, and walk everywhere you go. Don’t take the bus or your car – I want you to walk.’ Sugar Ray Robinson is unequivocally number one.
“My hero of all time is George Foreman. When my mother (Jean) died, George called me and said a prayer with me. That meant so much. To be that caring when your mother dies. Both my parents helped George in his career.
“When Joe Frazier died I cried. He was the neatest guy. Joe was so good to me. He would call me up to the ring at the fights. I interviewed him at Tuesday Night Fights. That was a big moment for me.
“Brad Jacobs was the Producer of Tuesday Night Fights and is now the Chief Operating Officer of Top Rank. A great businessman and a neat guy – a great person. He helps many people. Gives people opportunities. That to me is world championship material.”