By Michael Gluckstadt
Tonight's HBO Boxing After Dark offers a triple header of action, starting at 9:45 PM. First, undefeated junior welterweights Jessie Vargas and Anton Novikov will kick things off at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Then, at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev takes on Australian southpaw Blake Caparello. The final fight of the evening will be between Brandon Rios and Diego Chaves, back in Las Vegas.
The HBO Boxing broadcasting team will be covering all the fights live from ringside. Jim Lampley and Andre Ward will be in Las Vegas, while in Atlantic City, Max Kellerman will be doing the blow-by-blow alongside analyst Roy Jones Jr. This will be Kellerman's second time in that role, which is usually performed by Lampley. Inside HBO Boxing caught up with him to find out how he's preparing for it:
Is this a departure from your usual role on the broadcast?
Max Kellerman: It's totally different. Everyone knows what Jim Lampley can do, it's ridiculous. You never have to worry about anything because you have the best captain steering the ship. You know Jim's going to take care of everything. Before I did my first one, I called Jim. He's an incredible mentor in that capacity. Both with moral encouragement and technical details.
Is the type of preparation different for blow-by-blow versus color commentary?
Absolutely. It's like if you're in a car and you're sitting in the back seat and someone else is driving, you may not know how you got there. But if you drive yourself you know exactly how you got there.
What Jim's amazing at, that I try to emulate as much as I can, isn't just one thing – like calling punches, asking Roy a question, conducting an interview, giving an opinion, directing traffic, reading a promo, tossing it to whomever—no one thing is difficult. But the integration of all those things is the art of it.
Is there anything specific you've picked up from sitting next to Jim all these years?
The number one thing is to keep the narrative in mind. Why are we here? What are we doing here? What's the story of the fighters? If you keep that in mind, you can always come back to that. That's the throughline; that's the thread that stitches it all together.
Do you ever review tape of your past performances?
I have, but the truth is, I'm a fight fan, so I just end up watching the fight again. I have to really concentrate to focus on what we're doing.