By George M. Phillips
They call her the premier female ring announcer in boxing. Amy Hayes broke through the male dominated field of ring announcing by landing several televised spots to announce fights on ESPN, Fox Sports and Showtime.
Her charm, good looks and unqiue announcing style, made her an instant hit with both male and female viewers. She is also the only boxing ring announcer to grace the pages of both Maxim and Playboy.
BoxingScene's George M. Phillips sat down with Hayes to discuss her career, her future and her life outside of the ring.
BoxingScene.com: When did your career in boxing begin?
Amy Hayes: My career in Boxing began one night while sitting ring side at the palace of Auburn Hills. Fight night inc. was in charge of promoting the shows and Jackie Kallen was a regular fixture as she strutted out in her high heels and pink galaxy boxing jacket. I always thought "That’s Hot" The crowds were electric the sweat and music were stimulating and I was captivated by live boxing. It was then I said out loud to the man sitting next to me "I am going to be the only female ring announcer" I mean really do it. Not just one time all the time and I am going to create publicity. And years later I did. I worked for Fight night for several years doing public relations, coordinating even the Ring card girls and that was after my first job had been being a ring card girl. Eventually they allowed me to do an amateur fight and Bobby Hitz from Chicago was there and they brought me out to Chicago. We still have a working relationship today and a friendship.
At some point Dean Chance came into the picture after meeting him at one of Bronco McKart's bouts in Monroe Michigan. Boxing Official Frank Garza who had been a friend and in my corner really talked to Dean about my potential and abilities as a public speaker and my way with people. He simply told Dean I was not being used to fullest potential that they just didn't get it!
Dean called long after that first meeting and the above conversation happened unbeknownst to me. Then one day I received this interesting message on my answering machine. One of the most memorable voices I'll ever hear. "Yeah Amy this is Dean Chance, I met you down at Bronco's meet" Give me a call" click
After that I was under his wing and things did start to happen. My first full card was at the Packard Music Hall in Warren Ohio. That night we inducted Ernie Shavers in to the Boxing Hall of Fame as the Centuries greatest puncher. I was finally a professional Ring announcer and I was a hit!
BoxingScene.com: Have you always been a boxing fan?
Amy Hayes: I have not always been a serious boxing fan but I have always been intrigued. I have a strong loyalty to the sport now and defend it very well when necessary.
BoxingScene.com: What are your thoughts on women's boxing?
Amy Hayes: Women are very good athletes who possess allot of heart and determination. I mean my god they can birth a child you know! we are pretty tough. I have seen many good women’s fights and some silly bout as well. Shame on the promoters and the women for not being realistic about what they are putting out there. They have every right to box no matter what you or I think. I personally think that a skilled well trained female boxer should fight.
BoxingScene.com: What are your ultimate goals in this sport?
Amy Hayes: I want to announce the Heavy weight Championship if the World and other weight classes as well. I would also like to be in the Boxing Hall of Fame with one of my little Tuxedo's Hanging in glass. I really want to work more as a reporter and interviewer as that is my more natural ability. Most of you have not been exposed to that part of me and I think more of the people would like it.
BoxingScene.com: What are your thoughts on all the various sanctioning bodies? Have they tainted the sport?
Amy Hayes: Maybe . I think people taint the sport. There seems to be a lot of two faced or maybe even four faced people in this sport. Sounds funny but we all know it's true. You have got to have secure order to have quality but you also have to have competition to make each other be better and fight for position. So perhaps if all the Sanctioning bodies were held accountable and all of the officials, promoters and other people in power things would be better.
Doing away with a few bodies wouldn't hurt. There does need to be clear cut Kings of the boxing world. Maybe the Sanctioning bodies could line up in an order similar to that of a ladder. One bodies belts are for beginner winners then as you win more and beat the appropriate opponents you are allowed to fight for the next highest belt? That would be the only reason to keep them around. Besides everyone likes to watch title fights and if we could give each Sanctioning body some significance that would work. It would almost be like climbing your way to the World Championship. Like I said you would be going up the ladder - you see. Any sanctioning body that can't obey the rules or that does not act professional good bye!
BoxingScene.com: What are your hobbies, interest outside of the squared circle?
Amy Hayes: I love Horses and my dream is to own my own. I am starting lessons again in the next few weeks and I plan on entering my first Western Show. I love to Dress all up like a cowgirl with my hat and chaps.
BoxingScene.com: Who are your role models and mentors?
Amy Hayes: Well there are many people that I look up to or that fascinate me.
Dolly Parton. She is dynamic business woman. Singer, song writer, actor, producer, business owner, wife, etc... She has one of the most magical personalities in the world. I like how she just tells it like it is and also has had to fight for her opportunities. She is her own woman and makes no excused for who she is.
Dasiy Duke - She was beautiful, smart, she could kick your ass in high heels, drive a race car, make fried chicken and smile the whole time! I watched the Dukes of Hazzard all the time growing up and we pretended to be them in Kentucky all the time (me and my cousin Lisa) and our friends and cousins around in the Appalachian Mountains of Floyd county Kentucky. We would roll down the windows and climb in and out of the Cars. My uncle Bub had CB radios so we would get on and talk like Rosco and stuff. Lisa even had the Board game which still has today. Now me and her daughter my little cousin Andrea play that. She had forgotten she had it and I mentioned it while I was down visiting my momaw. Sure enough it was locked up in the old store they use to run. I thought she should give it to me but no such luck. Ha !
My mom and Dad just because they are not perfect but they love me. I am lucky to know I will always be loved. They have many personal victories I admire. They both cam from The Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky to Detroit Michigan and made a real nice life for themselves and for me. Many people do not understand that when you come from somewhere in the Holler it can be quite intimidating to venture out. They did and they more then made it. My dad is now my manager and my mom work with me during promotional appearances. She has my whole life. We use to just rack up thousands of dollars in a weekend at Autorama in Detroit. Both are retired from General Motors where my dad worked for 30 years and Retired as one of the Top Union Chairman’s for UAW at the Saturn headquarters in Detroit. I find this to be incredible about my dad While at Gm he ran for over 15 positions maybe well over that but in 30 years he never lost an election! That’s pretty cool isn't it?
BoxingScene.com: Tell us about appearing in Maxim and Playboy.
Amy Hayes: It was awesome. Maxim is a great story because what I did was send a press kit about myself to them. I then put a name for contacting me and holly crap got a response several months later. So I pretended to be my own PR person. They flew me out to NYC to shoot for the day and put me up at the SO HO Grand with limo service and we had a ball. I remember the night before I had horrible back problem and didn't sleep all night.
Then I had the thing all women hate and it was the time of the month thing. So needless to say I felt awful. No sleep, cramps, and a bad back. Thank god for good genes or something because I loved what they were able to pull out of me for the photo shoot. It was a hot shot! I really liked the people and the hair and makeup very cool. It figures I would have had such a terrible day and night right before such a great opportunity you know? But that’s life and that’s how you learn to get through tough times.
Playboy - Sort dragged along for about two years. Believe it or not I turned it down for that long because I felt that I was not established as a ring announcer yet to be displayed that way. If I was going to draw that much attention to myself then I wanted to be more grounded and have a regular time and place people could tune in to see me.
I even ring announced the first ESPN 2 fight at the Playboy mansion for Top Rank, and was invited to stay the whole weekend to relax and discuss shooting the pictorial and I still had to turn it down. It was a fantastic weekend. Playboy does treat you very special indeed.
A year later I received my second call from a Sports agent who was on retainer for Playboy and he wanted to promote the idea to the head quarters in Chicago and I told him it had already been pitched and approved. But I felt like the timing was off. Eventually I negotiated a little extra for myself and I decided the time was right! We shot entire pictorial at Gleason Gym in Brooklyn and the opening shot actually working was taken at Vally's in Atlantic City for "ShoBox" That was their very first broadcast so that’s another interesting fact I have for me and that is I am the only Female to be the inaugural Ring announcer for a brand new series. Main Events thank you!
BoxingScene.com: I heard that you have a new radio gig in Dayton. Tell us about that and how that relationship develop.
Amy Hayes: I work 980 The Sports Animal WONE. Tom Archdeacon who is very well respected writer did a fine article on me and put it on the front page of the Dayton Daily news and the Sports section. Well several radio Stations wanted to do interviews so I obliged. One of them was the station I am now working for and after being on he air the asked if I would like to be co host for 3 days and then I said I would interested in working for you and helping build up our name and promotional ideas. So they wanted me and I wanted them. I signed on and am very excited about our future. Very soon I will be writing a column and doing a special feature each week.
BoxingScene.com: What is on tap for Amy in the future?
Amy Hayes: I have some Irons in the fire. I hope to be announcing in Australia soon via some conversations my agent Morris Hayes has had with some important people.
On October second 2005 you can see a show that you absolutely must see to believe! Hockey Enforcers "Black and Blue" fighting on ice. I was the Rink announcer and reporter. I loved it and we plan to do it again. It was not a vulgar or gruesome sport at all. It was just hockey players throwing down the gloves and going at it in one minute round. The winner took home over $60,000.00 dollars. The arena was sold out and the contestants treated each other with respect and win or lose took it like a man. The numbers came back from the live Canadian broadcast on pay per view and we beat Summer Slam of the WWE wrestling. Those are good numbers A !
Black and Blue was important to me because I not only announced the fighters but I did what I do more naturally and that is; interview people and do stand ups etc..
That’s what has been missing from my boxing career. I think if I get with the right promoter/prompters that we will change things up a bit. You know Michael and Jimmy are good announcers but I want to rise above them by multi tasking. I am so much more myself and more sparkly when I am talking off the cuff. Interviewing, doing bumpers, teasers, pre taped promos encouraging people to tune in and all that jazz will definitely help a TV boxing program. I need a savvy group that understands what boxing fans want and how to bring the best out in all talent they hire.
BoxingScene.com: How is married life? Will we see any little Amys soon?
Amy Hayes: Married Life is what it is! It's a lot like the heavyweight championship of the world ha ha ! Only there are no officials hmmmm! Seriously though I love my husband and plan on loving him the rest of my life. I take my commitments very seriously and this is the co- main event. The main event will be having Children that are a part of me and my husband. I'm not ready yet but I have these natural feelings that I want to have children. Actually I would like to have twins. So after I finish more of my goals in Boxing I'll think about my family. Shoot after working in boxing kids will be a piece of cake.
BoxingScene.com: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
Amy Hayes: I would like to say to my fans.... Wait a minute that feels so funny to think I have fans. I mean that implies I am higher up or something. How about supporters since I want to be on the level of everyone. May I say to everyone that I have had the time of my life and it is amazing getting letters and autograph requests. Sometimes I sit back and think about how fortunate I am that many of you think I am great, admire me or just think what I am doing is neat. Please continue to support my boxing career and if you want me to be apart of a show or work for someone- the best thing you can do to help is, to tell them or write letters to TV networks, people in power and magazines.
Most of all Thank you !