Wednesday, April 02, 2014

No Holds Barred: Wallace Matthews on Boxing, Baseball, and the Media

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with longtime boxing and baseball journalist Wallace Matthews.

After being one of the most prominent and respected boxing writers for decades as well as covering other sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host, and TV commentator for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun, and ESPN New York 98.7 FM, he is now covering the New York Yankees for

We spoke with him by phone Tuesday.

"It's kind of like I'm doing my career backwards, because most people start out doing a team beat like I'm doing now, and then move on to write a column. I kind of did it the opposite way. I did boxing for a long time and I wrote a general column for about 15 years, and now I'm a beat man for ESPNNewYork on the Yankees," he said.

"They are a very interesting team, a team that keeps you busy, because there's never any shortage of storylines. And a very, very different world from covering boxing, I must tell you."

But he added, "I wouldn't say that it's a world I prefer, I must tell you. I really enjoyed covering boxing. I think it was the best time in my life and the best time in my career. But it does have its own challenges, and I'm never bored, I'll tell you that much. I'm never bored covering the Yankees."

We discussed why he enjoys boxing so much and sees it as the greatest test for an athlete in any sport, the difference in the athletes in boxing and baseball, the lack of adequate safety precautions for boxers by the political appointees on state commissions, the risks of brain damage in boxing, the failure of much of the boxing and general sports media to address the problems in the sport, and why he would go back to covering boxing if he had the opportunity.

We also discussed baseball and the New York Yankees, including some of the issues around the Biogenesis doping scandal and Alex Rodriguez, why he does not like doing predictions of a team's chances before the season but has to do so anyway, the failure of much of the baseball and general sports media to address the problems in the sport, and much more.

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The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

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