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Biofile Fred Sternburg Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Long time boxing publicist will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June. Owner/President Sternburg Communications.

First memory of boxing: Watching the Floyd Patterson vs. Jimmy Ellis fight on TV with my dad in 1968.  Ellis got the decision and it was a robbery.  Patterson beat the hell out of Ellis, even broke his nose.  My dad, who boxed on the Georgetown University team in the late ’40s, was a big boxing fan.  He was irate at the decision, so naturally, I was too!  Patterson would have become the first three-time World Heavyweight Champion. Dad always rooted for the underdog.

How did you enter the boxing business: In November 1985, I was an unpaid intern for the legendary Charlie Brotman, who had the one of the leading public relations firms in  Washington, D.C. He specialized in sports and entertainment and one of his clients was Sugar Ray Leonard, who he had repped from his amateur days through his retirement in 1984.  In November 1986 Charlie and I staged a press conference to announce Hagler vs. Leonard at the new Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland.  That was my boxing baptism.  Media from around the world attended. I thought, “if this is boxing, sign me up!”  That was my total involvement in that promotion.  Little by little, I was assigned to work local boxing events, featuring IBF welterweight champion Simon Brown, heavyweight contender Riddick Bowe, and local attractions and future world title challengers Derrell “Too Sweet” Coley and Reggie “Showtime” Green.

First famous boxer you met or encountered: Not sure if it was Ray Leonard or Marvin Hagler, but it was during their November 1986 press conference in Bethesda, Maryland.

First job:  Making ice cream at a local Swensen’s.  My claim to fame was  that all my batches had a very low bacteria count.

Last book read: Jerry Izenberg’s Larry Doby In Black And White: The Story of a Baseball Pioneer

Childhood dreams:  To win professional golf’s Grand Slam.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t even break par on a Putt-Putt miniature golf course.

Greatest moment of your career:  There have been a few but I have a feeling it may be getting inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 9 (in Canastota, NY).

Most painful career moment:  Losing friends I’ve worked with who were dear friends or mentors, including Pat Putnam, Nick Charles, Jay Larkin. Dan Goossen, Mike Acri and Bill Gildea to name a few.

Funniest boxers encountered:  David Tua, Derrell Coley, Manny Pacquiao, and Riddick Bowe come to mind.

Funny boxing memory:  We were at The Beverly Hills Hotel and it was the end of the press conference announcing the Manny Pacquiao – Chris Algieri fight.  We pose Manny and Chris for a faceoff and Chris is just towering over Manny.  So, without thinking, I grabbed a chair from the stage and got Manny to stand on it so that now HE’s the one staring down at his opponent.  Only Manny would have the self confidence and sense of humor to do that.  The photo was a sensation and ran all over the world.

Embarrassing career memory:  Seriously?  I’m in boxing.  It’s impossible to embarrass me.

Why do you love boxing: The personalities involved are real characters, including the media, fighters, trainers, promoters, managers, et.al.  It’s the athletic version of Vaudeville.

Most memorable fights: The most memorable fights I have worked on include:  Tim Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov, Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez II and III, Pacquiao vs. Oscar De La Hoya, Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley vs. De la Hoya II.

Favorite boxers to watch:  Sugar Ray Leonard, Manny Pacquiao, Tim Bradley, Joe Calzaghe, Terence Crawford,

Favorite movies:  I’m a sucker for the classics, anything with Humphrey Bogart, the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Abbott and Costello, Martin and Lewis.  I love “My Favorite Year,” starring Peter O’Toole.

Favorite ice cream flavor:  Chocolate chip.

People qualities most admired:  Integrity, creativity,  and a good sense of humor.

Education:  Studied Advertsing at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. Studied Political Science-Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

About Scoop Malinowski

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