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Lampley In, Bernstein Out at Triller; A Fond Farewell to Keith Mullings

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  • Lampley In, Bernstein Out at Triller; A Fond Farewell to Keith Mullings

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    By Arne K. Lang

    Triller Fight Club was in the news yesterday for two reasons. The upstart firm, which meshes musical acts, professional fights, and boxing exhibitions into a smorgasbord of entertainment, announced that Jim Lampley was coming on board as its lead play-by-play man. And Roy Jones Jr said he was unhappy with Triller and would never fight for the company again, alleging that he didn’t receive all the money promised him for his Nov. 2020 exhibition with Mike Tyson.

    Lampley, who turned 72 in April, spent three decades as the anchor of the HBO Boxing broadcast team. Enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame with the class of 2015, the North Carolina native was widely regarded as the best in the business, the Vin Scully, so to speak, of boxing play-by-play men.

    Bernstein left quietly and apparently of his own volition. There was no formal announcement that he wouldn’t return for Triller’s next show and, never one to burn bridges, he wished everyone well as he was taking his leave.

    Lampley’s first assignment for Triller comes on June 19 in Miami on the show headlined by Teofimo Lopez’s world lightweight title defense against George Kambosos Jr. It will be interesting to see how Lampley adapts to sharing the mic with Snoop Dogg and others from the entertainment world. The classy 70-year-old Bernstein didn’t mesh seamlessly with the “frat boys” that surrounded him at the April 17 event in Atlanta. Hardly. He was the like the fellow that turns up at a formal affair wearing brown shoes with his black tuxedo.

    Roy Jones Jr. dissed Triller on Brian Custer’s “Last Stand Podcast.” His comments jibed with that of Tyson who went on social media in March and stated that he would never work with Triller again. Their exhibition in Los Angeles purportedly generated 1.8 million buys.

    For many, Triller evokes images of the Paul brothers, Logan and Jake. But the youtube stars are no longer with Triller, having defected to SHOWTIME. Logan Paul’s match with Floyd Mayweather Jr, -- a unique attraction in the Showtime vernacular -- goes this coming Sunday, June 6, at 8 p.m. ET at a PPV price of $49.99. The bout is scheduled for eight three-minute rounds with 12-ounce gloves. There will be no judges and no winner announced although a knockout is not prohibited (how’s that again?).

    As noted in a previous article, Hollywood hustler Ryan Kavanaugh, the face of Triller, has attracted scrutiny for some of his previous business dealings. Kavanaugh, 46, struck it big with Relativity Media which arranged financing for film projects, but the firm eventually went bankrupt, undoubtedly leaving many investors holding the bag. We’re not surprised that some of those that performed under the Triller umbrella are dissatisfied.

    Keith Mullings

    There are statistics and then there are raw statistics which reveal nothing without further digging. A boxer’s won-loss record, which to a handicapper is just another statistic, is an example of a raw statistic. It is often a misleading barometer of a boxer’s true level of skill.

    Which brings us to Keith Mullings who passed away on May 29 at age 53. A cursory glance at his page on boxrec informs us that Mullings retired with a record of 16-8-1. One would infer from this raw statistic that he was a second-rater, but Mullings was a solid pro, good enough to unseat a lineal junior middleweight champion during a run of five consecutive title fights.

    Born in Jamaica and raised in Brooklyn, Mullings served four years in the Army before turning pro at age 25. He participated in Operation Desert Storm as an artilleryman.

    During his early days as a pro, wrote Bernard Fernandez in the Philadelphia Daily News, “(Mullings) was rushed into bouts on short notice, without adequate time to prepare. He lost questionable decisions to fighters he knew were not as talented as he.”

    Mullings big break came when he was matched against defending IBF 154-pound champion Raul Marquez underneath Oscar De La Hoya vs Hector Camacho in Las Vegas. Marquez was 27-0. Mullings was 1-3-1 in his last five.

    Mullings came out on the wrong end of a split decision in a fight that most ringsiders thought that he had won. Top Rank executives and HBO honcho Lou DiBella felt that he deserved another chance and three months later he found himself in the ring with Terry Norris.

    History would show that Norris was on the downgrade, having stayed in the amateurs too long (purportedly 300 fights), but he was still only 30 years old and had won nine straight, boosting his record to 47-6, since back-to-back disqualifications vs Luis Santana.

    Mullings turned away Norris in one of the biggest upsets of the year. Trailing on the cards, he had a big eighth round and put him away in the next stanza, denying Norris a $4.5 million payday vs De La Hoya.

    Mullings made one successful defense before losing the belt to Javier Castillejo on a questionable decision on Castillejo’s turf in Spain. In his final bouts, Mullings was out-pointed by title-holders David Reid and Winky Wright and suffered his lone defeat inside the distance when he was stopped by talented British southpaw Steve Roberts in London. His match with David Reid was the first boxing match ever held at the Hard Rock (now Virgin) Hotel in Las Vegas.

    According to Robert Mladinich, who knew the fighter well, Mullings had bouts of paranoia after leaving boxing and was diagnosed with post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PST) at a VA hospital. In recent years, he toiled as an assistant coach at a boxing gym in Peekskill, NY, a community situated 40 miles north of New York City. His death was announced by the gym’s head trainer, Gary Pippa, who received the news from one of Mulling’s daughters. No cause of death was given.

    “Mullings was a class act, a friendly soul whose personality was at odds with his profession,” wrote Mladinich. We here at TSS send our condolences to his loved ones.

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    So pleased about Jim's return. He's a great friend and a great commentator. He gave me some new insights on my values. He's also very bright and studies well before his fights. Great to have him back.
    Last edited by Kid Blast; 06-03-2021, 01:30 PM.

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    • #3
      Mulling was a good man and a good American.

      May this soldier Rest In Peace. 🇺🇸

      Comment


      • Kid Blast
        Kid Blast commented
        Editing a comment
        yes he was....................
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