Sunday, June 18, 2023

Inside the Ringside with Frank Bartolini

By Frank Bartolini

As I traverse north on the New York Thruway to this year's International Boxing Hall of Fame inductions, the Hudson River runs alongside me moving in the opposite direction passing by New York City before dumping into the Atlantic Ocean. My mind began thinking about the great island of Manhattan. 

Who is Larry Goldberg? 

Larry is a Ventnor New Jersey native. During Atlantic City’s pugilism heyday Goldberg fell in love with the sport of boxing in grade school while attending fights at various casinos. By the time Goldberg graduated Atlantic City High School in 1996, Larry had been ringside to witness all-time greats Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones, Mike Tyson and the list goes on and on. 

Attending Hofstra University turned Larry into a New Yorker, and these days he calls Manhattan home. In 1998, during the early days of boxing websites when most fans were still receiving their timely reports from Boxing Flash and Boxing Update, Goldberg launched immediately became, and still is, one of the most popular boxing websites on the internet. 

In October 2022, Larry delved into promoting professional boxing club shows at the Sony Hall in Times Square NYC. Since then, Goldberg’s promotional company, Boxing Insider Promotions, has promoted an additional three more shows at the venue and each one is better than the last. Helping guide Larry is IBHOF inductee Lou DiBella and seasoned matchmaker Eric Bottjer. 

All of the Boxing Insider shows are scheduled on Thursday nights. Most recently on April 27th, Goldberg took a big step forward when DAZN aired this show globally on their streaming network. 

Boxing Insider Promotions returns to Sony Hall in Times square on June 29th. Sizzling hot prospect junior welterweight Kurt Scoby will face Philadelphian, and former world title challenger, Hank Lundy in a scheduled eight round main event. Back in February, Scoby stole the show on a ShoBox fight card with a stunning second round knockout. 

Nearly a half a millennium ago, legend tells us our forefathers purchased Manhattan Island from Lenape Indians for a few shekels and a pouch of beads. In 1626 when this deal was consummated, the world was full of mystics. Not one soothsayer foresaw what this islet would manifest into by February 4, 2023, when a sold-out HULU theater hosted undisputed world featherweight queen Amanda Serrano, Brooklyn, NY, duking it out with gloves against Erika Cruz of Mexico. 

Determined to attend the Serrano vs Cruz weigh-in on Friday morning, I came into the Big Apple Thursday night and lodged at The New Yorker Hotel. Located across the street from Madison Square Garden on Eighth Ave., The New Yorker Hotel opened in 1930. Nikola Tesla boarded there on the thirty-third floor for the last fifteen years of his life. Upon entering the lobby through the revolving door, you will discover an art deco masterpiece that still maintains an aesthetic appeal.

An exuberant, smiling Alycia Baumgardner captured everyone's heart at the weigh-in on Friday. Baumgardner has never relented in her pursuit of greatness. When Alycia disrobed to mount the scale the "oohs" and "aahs" could be heard. No longer a young prospect with her hair in braids and braces on her teeth, Baumgardner posed with her sculpted figure, head full of beautiful curly hair, and gorgeous smile in a gold bikini. She appeared to be a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model rather than a prizefighter. 

I lodged at the UN Millenium Hilton Hotel, situated on the corner of First Ave and Forty Fourth street with a street address of One UN Plaza, on Friday and Saturday. After having a cocktail at the hotel bar, aptly named the Ambassador Grill and returning to my room, I took in a view of the East River. Frigid temperatures broke all time lows and mighty whirlwinds whisking through the cavernous streets and avenues created a sub zero wind chill. Cutting arctic sting chills did not interfere on whether or not I was going to walk a block and a half up Forty Fourth street to a favorite haunt of Manhattanites titled the Overlook Bar. A unique cast of patrons can always be found there, including newsies who are employed by the various networks in the area. Upon entering, I knew it was going to be an entertaining evening when two friends, the bouncer Mike and the proprietor Mark, were both on the job. Making it back to the sanctity of my hotel bed before sunrise was an achieved goal. 

Since landing on United States soil Matchroom Boxing USA has consistently delivered quality fight cards. All in attendance at the sold-out Hulu Theater would agree as they roared their approval for Amanda Serrano's unanimous ten round decision win over a hard fighting Cruz. 

Matchroom Boxing's next show at the Hulu Theater is on June 24th. Headlining the show is super middleweight Edgar Berlanga, who squares off against Jason Quigley of Ireland in a twelve rounder. Matchroom signed Berlanga soon after he and Top Rank parted ways. Another interesting scrap set for ten rounds; heavyweight Adam Kownacki will be trying to snap a three-fight losing streak when he faces Joe Cusumano in the semi wind up.

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