Like a fighter, just give me one round at a time and I'll eventually win. I have a positive attitude, a strong Christian faith, and an amazing support system especially within the boxing family.
Earlier this year I met Nick and his Showtime partner Steve Farhood at a boxing venue in Worcester, MA. I struck up a conversation with both prior to the fights and truly expected pomposity, because I have received that from far too many on the periphery of the sport who earn their living off boxers but act as if they are the real story. Heck, why should Nick and Steve be any different? Well, what I received was humility and a candid discussion of boxing. In fact, Steve said "I read your stuff all the time." Both guys were about as engaging and real as you could find.
I asked Nick if his name was a Greek one and he said it was, but that his mother was Italian and that he was a second generation American. I responded that I was Greek and Italian as well and was a first generation American. Then it turned out that he grew up in the same neighborhood as I did in Chicago and that we went to highs schools that were very close to one another. Long story short, we had a lot in common and hit it off immediately.
Later, I maintained an email relationship with Nick and then, when I heard he was battling bladder cancer (but more than holding his own), I was stunned, for it once again reminded me just how one's control (or the illusion of one's control), can be taken away at any time by the random, sudden and scary nature of things.
Nick, a class act, has been behind the microphone to call hundreds of fights. Now, he has his own tough fight and he warrants the prayers of every boxing fan and member of the boxing community, and our collective wishes for his full and complete recovery. Indeed, I fully expect and greatly look forward to to seeing Nick at ringside and behind the mike in 2010.