He can’t remember the first fight he ever broadcast, but after calling more than 10,000 fights, from Muhammad Ali to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Bob Sheridan can be forgiven if his memory fails him.
The 71-year-old broadcaster who lives in Henderson won’t forget Sunday when he is inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York. The man known throughout the boxing world as “Colonel Bob” goes in as an Observer with two other local residents, Marc Ratner and Jerry Izenberg, and he is grateful to have received the call from the Hall.
“I always hoped it would someday happen but some things are out of your control,” he said. “I’m just glad it happened.”
Sheridan was working as a soda vendor when he saw his first fight in 1964. Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, knocked out Sonny Liston at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
“I was 15 feet from the ring and I put down my cokes and watched the fight,” Sheridan said. “I was going to the University of Miami and Chris Dundee, who was promoting boxing then, needed kids to sell sodas at the fight. That’s how I got in.
“After watching the fight, I was hooked. I developed a friendship with Chris and he was the one who got me into broadcasting, calling the fights on the radio. That was in 1967. I was calling fights every week. That’s how I got to do so many. I was busy year-round.
“That led to television and when Don King took over promoting, he used me on his cards and that’s when things really took off.”
Born in Boston, which is how he became an honorary Colonel as an aide de camp of the Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, Sheridan spent some time as a rancher and a bull rider after moving to Ireland and getting into the cattle business. But after a couple of nasty spills, he hung up his spurs in 1981.
“I was a terrible bull rider,” he said. “I broke my back in 1979 and after riding in Madison Square Garden in ‘81, I said, ‘Enough.’ But I still go to the NFR and the Bull Riders in Vegas every year.”
After numerous visits to work fights or vacation, Sheridan moved to Las Vegas in 1992 and he was ringside for many of the great Vegas fights as well as some of the bizarre moments.
“I was there when the Fan Man flew into the ring at Caesars Palace,” he said, referring to the 1993 incident during the Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe heavyweight title fight. “And what I remember about that was how Marc (Ratner) performed as the executive director, sorting everything out so the fight could continue. He did an amazing job and I’ve always had so much respect for him.”
He does remember the first title fight he called, Jimmy Ellis vs. Jerry Quarry in 1968 after Ali had been stripped of his title for refusing induction into the army. Sheridan will call his 1,000th title fight July 23 at the MGM Grand Garden when Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol met in a junior welterweight unification title fight.
“I was going to work (Vasyl) Lomachenko’s fight Saturday at the Garden but I’ve got all my friends and family in Canastota coming to the ceremony Sunday and it would have been too much,” Sheridan said. “But I’m going to enjoy this honor and I’m grateful to those who elected me. It’s unbelievably humbling. And to go in and be on the same wall as Muhammad Ali is incomprehensible.”
Contact Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow on Twitter: @stevecarprj