Mad Max

August 19, 2001

Flip to ESPN2 on a Tuesday or Friday night, and you'll
immediately hear him, rattling off the names of long-forgotten
boxers in his New York accent and sounding for all the world like
a sweat-stained veteran of the fight game. However, get a glimpse
of Max Kellerman, the network's voluble boxing analyst, and
you'll do a double take. No more than a light heavyweight, the
baby-faced, 28-year-old Kellerman looks as if he should be
hopping turnstiles in the subway, not trying to establish himself
as the signature voice of the sweet science.

Despite appearances, Kellerman has been a hard-core fight fan
since he read a biography of Muhammad Ali when he was eight. By
16 he was spouting opinions on his own New York cable-TV public
access show, Max on Boxing. In May 1998 Kellerman graduated from
Columbia with a degree in history; he joined ESPN that October.
"I love my job," he says. "Every time I have something to say,
all I have to do is wait a few days, turn to the camera and say
it."

Make no mistake about it, Kellerman has plenty to say. During his
ESPN2 tenure (he has been stationed at ringside and in the
studio), Kellerman has often suggested that a boxer was carrying
his opponent; has turned to the camera and asked, "Stupid or
corrupt?" in reference to a judge; and has been unsparing in his
criticism of countless boxers. He also has been an unabashed
booster of the sport (he thinks a major corporation should
underwrite and market a boxing league) and was recently the
subject of a New Yorker item describing his behavior during the
June 26 bout in New York City in which light heavyweight
Beethavean Scottland sustained brain injuries that led to his
death six days later. ("That's it!" Kellerman said on-air during
the sixth round. "This is how guys get seriously hurt.") "I
didn't have the courage at the time," Kellerman says, "but if I
could have done it again, I would have turned to the athletic
commission and told them they had to stop the fight or they'd get
skewered on TV, and believe me, I can do a hatchet job like
nobody else."

Such sentiments have led critics to label Kellerman a blowhard,
but he's helping bring a larger audience to boxing. Tuesday Night
Fights and Friday Night Fights are the two top-rated shows on
ESPN2. Fans appreciate his passion for a sport that he thinks
still has a future on network TV. "Boxing has a lot more going
for it than golf," says Kellerman. "I mean, golf! C'mon, if you
saw a guy putting on the street and then you saw two guys in a
fight, which would you watch?"

--C.B.

"Believe me," says ESPN2 boxing analyst Kellerman, "I can do a
hatchet job like nobody else."

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)