Tim Ryan – A Hall Of Fame-Worthy Commentator

The ballots have been sent out, and those privileged enough to do so will soon be putting pen to paper as they vote for the fighters/trainers/broadcasters, etc, they feel are worthy of going into the Hall of Fame (the deadline for voting being the end of the month). Yes, the esteemed yearly event – for many THE boxing event on the calendar not to be missed – will be here again, next June in Canastota. In this regard, publicist Fred Sternburg was kind enough to get in touch with the writer, asking my opinion – and yours – on whether or not boxing commentator and all-round good guy Tim Ryan should be enshrined in The Great Hall.

You bet he should!

Here is the message Fred sent me:

“Hey James

“I hope you will vote for sportscasting icon Tim Ryan into the International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot in the observer category. Wouldn’t it be great if he finally joined his legendary broadcasting partner Gil Clancy?

“Tim called over 300 championship fights around the world, many for NBC and CBS – and most with Gil. He called some of the biggest fights of the latter half of the 20th Century – including:

“Ali-Frazier I (Armed Forces Radio and New Zealand Public Radio) It was the only live English language radio broadcast to emanate from The Garden

“Arguello-Pryor/ Mancini-Kim on consecutive days

Leonard-Hearns

Leonard-Hearns II

Leonard-Hagler

Bowe-Holyfield II (the Fan Man fight)

Barry McGuigan’s historic world title fight in Belfast

James Scott’s fights in Rahway Prison

The historic fights in South Africa that broke the color barrier during apartheid.”

Indeed, Ryan’s C.V is an impressive one. But it isn’t merely Tim’s body of work that makes him Hall of Fame material – it’s the way he did his job. Cool, refined, and relaxed, Ryan never let his ego affect his work when calling a fight, no matter how big the fight was, the way some other boxing commentators are guilty of doing or have been guilty of doing. Tim was often happy to let Clancy do the talking, with Ryan never interrupting his esteemed colleague. You could argue Ryan’s job of calling a super-fight was made easier, easy even, due to the fact that he was working with the all-knowledgeable Clancy (this writer’s pick for THE finest boxing commentator of them all).

But Ryan added plenty to the fights he called; his calmed enthusiasm adding class to the event (Clancy, as has been pointed out before, was more akin to ‘a guy in a bar talking boxing;’ this a delight to experience). Ryan spoke well, he always did his homework before a fight, he was never biased. And Tim was also a great interviewer, one who didn’t always agree with the fighter he was talking to live and on the air (see his interview with a fortunate Ray Leonard after the Hearns rematch).

In short, Ryan was, for many years, a welcome guest in millions of homes whenever a big sporting event was taking place. Especially a big boxing match. He deserves his place in the Hall of Fame.