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Legendary boxing announcer invokes Broadway to make a point

Updated May 21, 2023 - 11:08 am

Life is a cabaret, they say. This is true even during championship boxing telecasts.

During a recent boxing card in Vegas, legendary broadcaster Al Bernstein landed an odd reference the same way a fighter lands a left hook. This verbal power punch scored during Showtime’s pay-per-view Ismael Barroso vs. Rolando Romero super-lightweight title card May 13 at the Cosmopolitan.

Between bouts, Bernstein referred to a controversial scoring decision from a bout last August.

“The only decision worse than the 117-111 scorecards favoring Alberto Puello versus Batyr Akhmedov is the egregious, years-long decision by the Kennedy Center not to give Liza Minnelli the Kennedy Center Honor.”

What?

Bernstein’s reference caused color man Abner Mares to snicker. But Bernstein had warned his broadcast partner there would be an off-kilter comment coming, without specifying.

The back story: Bernstein is a big musical-theater fan and a singer of standards from the Great American Songbook. During a dinner hang a few weeks ago with Don’t Tell Mama’s and Tuscany Suites showman Kenny Davidsen and yours truly, he mentioned that Minnelli had not been honored by the Kennedy Center.

“This is egregious!” said someone, probably Davidsen.

It was then suggested by someone — probably yours truly — that Bernstein should work the Minnelli comment into a boxing telecast.

It took a while, but the multiple hall-of-famer found the opening.

Afterward, Bernstein said, “I’ve gotten so many fun messages on Twitter and on my phone.” Bernstein has also referenced Randy Rainbow during a broadcast (he loves Rainbow’s act). Bernstein might be unorthodox, sometimes. But he is a champ.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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