A wonderful announcer’s anecdote

I encountered this anecdote in a boxing magazine back in the mid ‘80s. Because I live knee deep in old boxing magazines I can’t find the particular article and must relate it from memory.

Zaire 1974 Foreman v. Ali

All week long, before the big fight, they were having great difficulty getting the sound uplink for the PPV audience up and running (it was 1974 and it was Africa), but on the day of the fight a Swedish technician approached the would-be announcer and told him that they had it working and everything was ready to go.

The night of the fight, as the announcer made his call, always concerned they might lose the uplink, the announcer, between rounds, kept looking over at the Swedish technician, (who was sitting with his equipment on the other side of the ring,) for conformation that the system was still working. Each time the announcer checked the Swedish technician would nod in the affirmative and give a thumps -up, confirming that all was copacetic, so the announcer continued making his call.

After the fight the Swedish technician approached announcer and once again reassured him that all had gone as planned, confirming that he had “heard every word loud and clear.”

The next morning when the dust settled the announcer came to realize that the only person who had actually heard his call “loud and clear” was the Swedish technician sitting across the ring from him, not a single round of his call had gone out to the PPV audiences; he had spent eight rounds enthusiastically calling the fight for an audience of exactly one, the Swedish technician sitting on the other side of the ring, who did in fact hear every word ‘loud and clear.’

Back in the States, at the venues where the sound had failed to accompany the visual image, riots broke out, leaving many a theater ransacked.