Earlier this year we caught up with revered boxing writer and author of Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing David Greisman. That book contains 63 of Greisman’s best dispatches from the Sweet (and sometimes not so sweet) Science from 2007 through 2012, including nine articles that have been recognized for excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. Greisman is an award-winning boxing writer who has covered boxing since 2004. His articles have appeared on BoxingScene.com, FoxSports.com, MaxBoxing.com and in The Ring magazine. This entire interview is contained within the 2014 Irish Boxing Review.

Q: Who are your favourite fighters, active at the moment, and why do you enjoy watching them?

A:  I enjoy the fighters who compel us to watch, whether it is through demonstrations of superiority over other contenders and titleholders, or whether it is via toe-to-toe action. But beyond that, I enjoy storylines, and so the ascent of Ruslan Provodnikov (before his loss to Chris Algieri) had been great to watch, never mind the entertainment he brings in the ring. Sergio Martinez is someone I remember seeing go toe-to-toe with Archak TerMeliksetian on the non-televised undercard of a show in Connecticut, so it’s been interesting to see how much he’s accomplished so late in his career.

Q: Which websites or publications do you write for?

A: I’ve written for BoxingScene.com since 2004 and for “The Ring” magazine since 2012. I’ve also had my boxing writing published on MaxBoxing.com, USAToday.com, and a couple of other news outlets.

Q: When did you become a boxing fan and which fighters or fights helped lure you in?

A: I grew up, like many kids of my era, playing Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out on the Nintendo, and then whatever other boxing video games came out. Beyond that, my father watched boxing, which meant that I caught the fights on occasion as well. I remember coming home from work when I was younger and seeing guys like Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, Tito Trinidad, Bernard Hopkins, Lennox Lewis and the Klitschko brothers. I was reeled in by the big moments — Barrera’s fights with Morales, Hopkins dissecting Trinidad, Rahman knocking out Lewis and then Lewis getting his revenge, Ricardo Mayorga stunning Vernon Forrest, Corrie Sanders destroying Wladimir Klitschko. And then there were Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward. I don’t really have favorite fighters anymore in that there’s no one I root for; I root in favor of a good story. Gatti was the one guy for whom I had difficulty staying unbiased.

Q: We hear a lot about how boxing is in decline and not as good as it used to be. Do you have any sympathy for this point of view? Or is it just the same old rhetoric that comes around every so often, stemming from various factors including television coverage of the sport (or lack of), a dearth of crossover stars, a poor heavyweight division etc

A: I won’t speak to how fighters from past eras might stack up against those of this one. What we can acknowledge is that boxing (in the United States, at least) is far from as popular as it once was, or even watched by as many people as watched it a handful of years ago. There are a few factors that feed into each other. For one, there are fewer boxing gyms than there once were, as boxing is a sport that fewer people are competing in. The sport is no longer aired on wider platforms in the United States; Olympic boxing is relegated to a lesser channel, and the American team hasn’t been anywhere near as successful. And it is expensive to follow the sport, paying for cable, premium cable and then pay-per-view.

Q:  Last year you brought out your first book entitled Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing. The book is a compilation of 63 articles you have written over your years covering the sport. What made you decide to write and publish Fighting Words and how has it been received by readers and the boxing community?

A: I’ve been fortunate to cover boxing for the past decade. I love the stories that come from boxing, and I’m proud of several of the stories that I’ve been able to tell. Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing brings those stories together. Taken separately, they bring us back to phenomenal fights and pivotal people. Taken together, the book paints a picture of the highs and lows seen during five years of boxing.

Q: Do you have any plans to write further books on boxing?

A: I’ve got two books in mind.

Q: Who are your own personal favourite boxing writers past or present and why do you enjoy reading their work?

A: There are so many, and I’m afraid I’ll leave someone off. I enjoy the work of my BoxingScene and Ring Magazine colleagues, including Jake Donovan, Cliff Rold, Tom Gerbasi, Bart Barry, Bernard Fernandez, Thomas Hauser and Joe Santoliquito. There are the reporters you must follow, such as Rick Reeno, Kevin Iole, Dan Rafael and Chris Mannix. I wish Eric Raskin and T.K. Stewart still covered boxing as often as they used to, but I’m happy whenever I get to see their bylines. I have great respect for Doug Fischer of RingTV.com and Tim Starks of The Queensberry Rules. I’m proud of Ryan Songalia and the way he’s blossomed through the years. And the best boxing book I’ve ever read was Cut Time, by Carlo Rotella.

Q: Can you tell us some of the fights and shows you have been ringside for during your time covering the sport and maybe pick out some of the most memorable ones that come to mind and why they were so special?

A: By far, the most memorable fight I’ve been ringside for was one in which I wasn’t supposed to be ringside. I had bought a ticket to the Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez rematch in Atlantic City, doing so because I originally hadn’t been sure that I’d be able to attend and cover the bout. I ended up on press row as Martinez scored his amazing one-punch knockout of Williams.

I’ve been fortunate to be ringside for some exceptional nights: Marcos Maidana beating Adrien Broner, Carl Froch coming back to stop Jermain Taylor with just seconds to go, Miguel Cotto getting revenge on Antonio Margarito and bringing on the roars at Madison Square Garden, and Cotto’s crowd in New York City celebrating while he obliterated Sergio Martinez to become the middleweight champion.

Other notable nights: My first fight as a reporter was Mike Tyson’s last fight, when he lost to Kevin McBride; and Cotto’s fight with Yuri Foreman at Yankees Stadium. I love electric atmospheres, and the best ones have been at Cotto fights; in Montreal, which has a great boxing scene; in the New Jersey city of Newark, where the Polish fans filled the arena to see Tomasz Adamek.

Q: Can you tell us about some of the more memorable interviews you’ve had with boxers and which fighters you most enjoyed talking to?

A: Paulie Malignaggi is as good off-camera as he is on-camera. He also speaks so quickly that a three-minute interview can give you 10 minutes’ worth of material. Deontay Wilder is a good interview. Bernard Hopkins of course is excellent to chat with. But what I’ve really enjoyed is speaking with fighters right before they’re about to face each other. Randy Couture and James Toney both met with the press prior to their bout in the UFC, and I was able to play their commentary into my story of their brief fight. The same thing came before the fight between Ruslan Provodnikov and Chris Algieri. Their backgrounds were so different, and their quotes so insightful, and all of that fit perfectly into my column about Algieri’s upset decision over Provodnikov.

Beyond that? I’ve enjoyed chatting with former fighter Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, who now works as a trainer. Female fighter Kaliesha West was charismatic, had a great story and provided one of the longer conversations I’ve had with a boxer. Guys like B.J. Flores and Caleb Truax provide good quotes — Truax is such a fan of the sport that I sometimes feel like I’m talking with a buddy, the kind of buddy skilled enough to have your back in a bar fight.

Q: Please give us the names of some fighters that you think will become stars or more popular over the next few years that we may not have heard much about yet.

A: Demetrius Andrade is just beginning to get more recognition at 154, and I think he could have the physical tools to make a splash. Julian Williams appears promising at junior middleweight as well. Featherweight titleholder Nicholas Walters impressed me with his win over Vic Darchinyan. I’m also enjoying the rises of Carl Frampton in the U.K. and the Inoue brothers in Japan.

Taking away the politics of TV contracts and promotional wrangling which fights would you love to see made in the future if possible?

A: Adonis Stevenson vs. Sergey Kovalev at light heavyweight. Carl Froch vs. Sakio Bika at 168. Gennady Golovkin vs. Peter Quillin at 160. Canelo Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto somewhere between 154 and 160. Marcos Maidana vs. Ruslan Provodnikov at 147. Heck, Maidana against Brandon Rios/Mike Alvarado or Provodnikov against any Lamont Peteson/Danny Garcia. Pop Mikey Garcia or Abner Mares in with either of the 130-pound Takashis (Miura or Uchiyama). Mares vs. Evgeny Gradovich or Nonito Donaire would also be wonderful. Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton or Kiko Martinez at 122.

Q: What is your opinion of the Irish boxing scene or Irish fighters in general? Are there any current Irish professionals or amateurs that interest you?

A: I can’t say I’m overly familiar with the scene, though I know there isn’t much depth in Ireland right now, while there are some notable names in Northern Ireland. I think it’s important for boxing in general to build good boxing scenes in as many locales as possible. Hopefully success begets more interest not only from fans but also in local gyms, which then creates more future talent. I’m not sure who that’ll be south of the border, but I am keeping an eye on Carl Frampton of Belfast.

Q Away from boxing what else sparks your interest and keeps you busy?

A: I love boxing and writing about it, but anything that gets me away from the television and computer screens is welcome. That means I’ll go hiking, biking or exploring wherever and whenever possible. I like to travel and spend time with friends — though boxing actually provides for both of those. I live in Washington, D.C., and it’s a great city for good food, plenty of culture, and lots to take in.

Q: Where can boxing fans find your work, view your website or contact you via social media?

A: I have a weekly column, “Fighting Words,” that appears every Monday on BoxingScene.com. I also do news reporting for BoxingScene that shows up throughout the week. I have a monthly column, “Ready to Grumble,” for The Ring magazine, and I do occasional articles for them. My book is available on Amazon, Amazon U.K., and on other countries’ websites. And I can be found on Twitter (@FightingWords2) and on YouTube (youtube.com/fightingwords1). Please feel free to reach out — I love chatting with boxing fans!

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