Letter from Benny: Firsthand coverage of Amir Khan vs Paul McCloskey fight

Amir Khan (left) TKOs Paul McCloskey at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England , April 16, 2011

Once again, Benny Ricardo from San Marcos, the former NFL kicker, stand-up comic, boxing and football color commentator writes to keep us abreast of his worldwide travels. He opened by describing his feelings about traveling abroad:


The Illegal Alien (right) and his commentating partner, three Division World Champ Duke McKenzie did the live broadcast. "Duke is a delightful man," stated Ricardo. "And great to work with. He had to work with my accent and energy. Poor guy...but we pulled it off and I even had him laughing during the telecast."

“After crossing the big pond and being ringside in England, I felt like an illegal alien. It was great to be a part of such a mega spectacle on the return of the King, Amir “King” Khan to England. Back now as the WBA Light Welterweight Champion and fighting the European Champion from Ireland, Paul McCloskey. The Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester was packed to the rafters and the noise was deafening not only for Khan but McCloskey as well who brought over around 8,000 people from Ireland to pack the largest indoor arena in Europe to 18,000 plus.






These are my quotes that appeared in the British Media:

Primetime caught up with the lead commentator Benny Ricardo ahead of tomorrow night’s fight, here’s what he had to say,

On Khan:

“The King is back in England and that’s a great thing. It’s great for all his fans to get the chance to see him back here.”

“What makes Khan so intriguing is that, as great as he is, he’s also very vulnerable. Here is a guy that can knock you out in 55 seconds or get knocked out in 54. For me that’s what makes great TV! You’re going to have to watch every second as this could go either way!”

Some guy named Ricky, who acted like he owned the M.E.N. Arena...sat down to read the program on the apron of the ring...the nerve of some people. Photo: Benny Ricardo


On McCloskey:

“For McCloskey, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. When you’re unbeaten, you feel invincible and he takes that into this fight. What I really like about him is he will do anything to win. I’m interested to see how clean he keeps it as the dirtier he makes it the better chance he has.”

“I really like McCloskey’s right hooks. I’ve also never seen a fighter throw as many uppercuts. He throws them with bad intentions. He doesn’t have one punch power but the accumulation of shots can bring him the KO.”



The man who is very much golden, Oscar "The Golden Boy" De La Hoya joined Khan in the ring after his victory. It was Khan’s first trip back to England since December of 2009 when he destroyed Dimitri Salita at 1:16 seconds of the opening round.

On Khan’s standing Stateside:

“Following the Breidis Prescott KO there was a lot of concern about his chin, but the Maidana fight really got our attention. Eric Morales had 3 wins on the bounce in his comeback but only really got respect following the loss to Maidana, he’s that big a puncher.”

The hottest trainer on the Planet, Freddie Roach patiently waits to be interviewed by Andy Kerr of Primetime after the fight. Photo: Benny Ricardo

Freddie Roach is doing all the right things with Khan and it really speaks volumes about Khan’s team. They’ve got him in with the best in the world and are developing him properly. He hits down the middle now, he’s sitting down on those punches and understanding the angles better. Before he was a wickedly gifted fighter but now he’s technically doing all the right things.”

“Mentally, being in with Roach and Pacquiao has done wonders for Khan. Being around Pacquiao, he’s learnt about the psyche of a champion and he has that air of invincibility now. At 24 he’s in great shape for years to come. Down the line I see a fight with Mayweather in his future. Even moving up to Welterweight for fights with Berto, and all the other great match-up’s in that division.”



Fight Prediction:

“I see Khan winning this in 7, I think he’ll come out with a wicked body attack and wear him down for the KO.”

Note well: The fight was stopped with just 30 seconds left in round six after an accidental head butt opened a cut above the inside of McCloskey’s left eye. The referee, Luis Pavon, brought in the ringside physician who looked at the cut and then talked to McCloskey, who did not protest the stoppage, he just headed to his corner. It wasn’t one of the worst cuts I’ve seen, but it was going to be if the fight would have continued. The scorecards were read and across the board the judges Terry O’Connor, Dave Parris and Howard John Foster all had it 60-54 for Khan.

I stayed at the Hilton Hotel in the heart of Manchester's Dudley Street...not too shabby. Here’s my view of the city from the 23rd floor. Photo: Benny Ricardo

The British Press’ review of the fight included a critique of Ricardo’s work:

“I was strangely impressed by Ricardo as the commentator. I thought he did really well with Duke last night — and Duke warmed up as the evening went on. It may have been that a ‘change is as good as a rest’ thing regarding Ricardo, because I always seem to know what the Sky team will say before they say it. I find them very predictable, whereas Ricardo, being American, brought a different and enjoyable perspective to it.

All in all, very, very well done at Primetime. They put that together at virtually the last moment, had never handled their own outside broadcast before, and came through with flying colors as far as I’m concerned. It was a little rough around the edges at times, but that was exactly the sort of busy, fast moving boxing show that I believe does the sport massive favors. Compared to a Sky show, it was a crystal meth versus valium broadcast — and no bloody advertisements between rounds, which is the ultimate insult to any PPV buyer.

Good work Primetime, I hope you go from strength to strength and that last night’s show is the start of something big.”

Benny Ricardo also took photos of some historical sights in Manchester, like this one of the Manchester Cathedral on Victoria Street in central Manchester. This medieval church is the seat of the Bishop of Manchester and known worldwide for it’s famous choir.


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