By Keith Idec
The “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” segment on the Buffer brothers, which debuted Tuesday night, is hardly just about Michael Buffer bellowing out a catch phrase.
The piece, reported by correspondent Soledad O’Brien, explores how Michael Buffer grew up in foster care outside Philadelphia and finally met his biological father, Joe, and younger brother, Bruce, after Bruce noticed him announcing boxing on television in the 1980s. It also addresses the throat tumor that threatened Buffer’s career six years ago before it was surgically removed and how Bruce Buffer, UFC’s ring announcer, and his older brother have transformed five simple words, “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble,” into a trademarked empire.
Among those interviewed in the piece, which was screened by BoxingScene.com, is promoter Bob Arum, who laughed hard while recalling Buffer before he worked out the kinks and became famous.
“I was doing the ESPN weekly boxing show back in the 80s,” Arum recalled. “We tried Buffer and he was next to awful. His hand was shaking, he mixed up all the names. He was so bad.”
O’Brien then asked Arum if he felt even then that there was something special about the former fashion model, the International Boxing Hall of Fame promoter said, “Yeah, the women liked him. He’s a really handsome guy.”
The episode will debut Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET/PT and will air again numerous times over the course of the next few weeks. Check hbo.com for playdates.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.