lupe_contreras

Ten Rounds With Lupe Contreras

Lupe Contreras is all set for "Skyfall."

The veteran ring announcer, whose query of “Quien es el mas macho?” is responded to by enthusiastic fans and eager fighters on a nearly weekly basis, considers 007 the embodiment of his inquiry. But he hasn’t ruled out "Twilight" fans as worthy competitors.

Contreras became a staple for eight years on Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo after he won a contest for aspiring announcers. Whether he’s performing at local fundraisers or for filled arenas, Contreras lives up to the moniker “la Voz del Box.”

For the majority of the last decade, Contreras has busied himself with between 40 and 50 shows a year. So it’s always a welcome reprieve to enjoy a day off. On Wednesday, his birthday, Contreras ate lunch with his parents before taking some time to chat with TQBR about sports fandom and "The Voice."

Among one of his favorite memories is Julio Cesar Chavez' penultimate bout against Ivan Robinson at the Staples Center in May 2005. Contreras recalled his teenage years when he would watch Chavez on pay-per-view.

“He was at the twilight of his career,” Contreras said, “but he kind of gave you a sense of what it might have been like during the late 80s, early 90s during the whole Chavez media thing.”

Though he’s often on the road for his job, Contreras is grateful to keep contact with friends who have moved and who he’d otherwise not be able to visit.

“There are a lot of fun aspects to (travel),” he said. “They’re not all fun destinations, but it’s all what you make of it.”

Seeing the best in a situation seems to be a defining quality of Contreras. Whether amazed by the unique personalities he has shared the ring with or his love for the sport, Contreras accepts the good with the jet lag.

“Everywhere I go now, there are no strangers,” he said.

His next event is on Saturday, the HBO card headlined by Vanes Martirosyan vs. Erislandy Lara.

Quien es el mas macho?

That is a good question. You know who looks pretty tough? Daniel Craig (as) James Bond. His suit is always impeccable. He’s maybe the scariest Bond ever. The other Bonds I wouldn’t be too afraid of, but this guy’s nothing to be tangled with. He looks great in a suit and looks like he can kick butt, too.

What was your fallback catchphrase?

You know what? I did not have a fallback catchphrase. That catchphrase occurred to me on the flight as I was looking out the window on my way to Miami to compete for that show. It might seem silly, but the silly stuff is what people remember. I had nothing else, so I went with it. It’s worked for me, and it can make me feel good. A lot of people don’t know my name, but they know that phrase.

Which celebrity would make the best ring announcer?

It has to be somebody loud. I’d go with John O’Hurley. He’s almost a spitting image of Michael Buffer. He has a very powerful voice. He also hosted Family Fuel for a while. He has perfectly coifed grey hair. He has impeccable diction, and with the way he would pronounce things and his grandiose language, I think he’d be an excellent ring announcer.

Who would win a bout between Michael Buffer and Jimmy Lennon, Jr.?

Buffer is kind of a big guy. He’s at least six feet. I know Jimmy’s a little bit smaller. I think the problem is that they’d be in different weight classes. If the fight were to ever happen, it’d have to be one of those fantasy fan matches.

How much restraint do you show to not pull a “Bruce Buffer 90?"

Everyone has his own little technique and is concerned about how well it goes over. Any time you draw away from the fighter and draw attention onto yourself, I don’t think is a good thing. I think, as an announcer, you’re like a garnish. You’re in there to bring attention to the fighter. If you’re drawing it away from a fighter, it could be a negative thing. It’s just not part of my personality, anyway. It may be something he developed over time but doesn’t come naturally to me, so no restraint.

How is your fantasy football team doing?

I don’t grasp the concept of fantasy football. It escapes me. I don’t have a fantasy football team. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become less of a sports fan. I still watch it and enjoy it, but it doesn’t affect my everyday life. I remember when I was a kid and the Astros or — and I’m dating myself — the Oilers would lose, it would just ruin my whole day. Then as I grew older I realized, “You know what? This has absolutely no impact on my everyday life whatsoever.”

When will the NHL lockout end?

When did it begin? I’ve gone to one hockey game, but within a couple minutes I didn’t know what the heck was going on. Not only that, I don’t know the rules. They keep talking about “icing,” and I had no clue what icing was. They were “offsides” and I wasn’t even sure what side I was on, let alone what side they were on. So hopefully soon for all those guys who have Ferrari and big house payments coming up.

Which “The Voice” coach would you choose if they all turned around for you?

I like Christina Aguilera just to see how far she’d go with the cleavage. Every show, I’m thinking that one of these days she’s just going to pop it all out. It seems like it’s going lower and lower every show. I think Cee-Lo is too deep for me and always talking in terms I just don’t understand. Adam is just too handsome, so I couldn’t be around that. The country guy is just too country for me. I like country, but I love rock’n’roll.

When does a line to see the “Breaking Dawn” sequel become too long?

I think it depends where you are in the line. If you’re next to the emo kid it would probably be too depressing, and if you’re around someone loud and shrieky it would be a problem as well. It all depends on whether you’re closer to Team Edward or Team Jacob. You don’t want to be wearing the wrong T-shirt. Some of those Twilight kids look pretty tough.

Do you respect the fact that CM Punk is “The Best in the World?"

I definitely would. Technically, he falls into the grey area of combat sports even though it’s combat entertainment or sports entertainment. But, yeah, I’d have to agree with that.

The hardest part about being a fan of boxing is that sometimes you don’t have the information made readily available for you. If you’re NFL, NBA or MLB, you've got various networks out there operating 24 hours a day giving you all the information that you can handle. If you’re a boxing fan you have to be active and search for some of this information, and it really shows how fast the fans are at seeking it out. I love the effort they put into it and love the fact that they support our sport.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C., where he is a staff writer for CQ Roll Call.

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