"Colonel" Bob Sheridan, renowned blow-by-blow commentator for some of the most significant fights of the last forty years, has died at the age of 79.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1944 to Irish parents, he began his announcing career calling games for the University of Miami football team and later the Miami Dolphins, before attracting the attention of boxing promoter Chris Dundee (brother of Angelo, who trained Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard), who hired him to call his weekly cards. Sheridan’s first title fight was a WBA heavyweight bout between Jimmy Ellis and Jerry Quarry in April 1968; he would go on to announce a staggering 20,000 fights worldwide.
In the early 1970s, he began working with Don King, with whom he would enjoy a fruitful relationship fronting King's international broadcasts for much of the rest of his life. His big breakthrough came when, aged just 30, he hosted the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire as Muhammad Ali felled George Foreman.
A true polymath, Sheridan was also for a while a part-time rodeo rider, and the owner of a cattle farm in Ireland.
Sheridan battled health issues for many years, suffering several heart attacks and undergoing a dozen angioplasties. He suffered one of those heart attacks on the day of the “Bite Fight,” the infamous rematch between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield; refusing to be sidelined, he checked himself out of the hospital and made his way ringside to call the fight.
He won the Boxing Writers Association of America Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting in 1998 and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2015.