Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Where have you been Ed Derian?
When it comes to iconic voices of announcers, there are many from different realms. There were microphone legends you heard in basketball arenas like John Condon at Madison Square Garden and Dave Zinkoff at the old Spectrum in Philadelphia.
Then there were the classic football and basketball announcers on TV such as Lindsey Nelson, Keith Jackson and Brent Musburger in College Football; along with colorful analysts like Al McGuire, Billy Packer and Dick Vitale in College Basketball.
Combat sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts and pro wrestling are no different. Sure, Jimmy Lennon Sr. came before all of them, but before there was Michael Buffer, Bruce Buffer and Jimmy Lennon, Jr., there was a legend based here on the east coast; Philadelphia to be exact. His name is Ed Derian.
I've never had the pleasure of meeting Ed Derian, at least not yet, but I remember him fondly. Just as all the aforementioned figures have individual unmistakable styles of their own, so did Derian; his style in a word, classy. He did not scream or yell and his voice wasn't the kind that boomed. On the contrary, his was a smooth simple delivery that was marked by two distinct trademarks.
First, Derian would turn to the fighter he was about to introduce and preface his tale of the tape with a cool distinction such as, "This young man hails from" or "This talented pugilist comes to us." Then after giving us all the specifics, he would announce his name and then repeat his last name a second time. For example, "This young man hails from the City of Brother Love Philadelphia, out of the Keystone State Pennsylvania; boxing fans, here is the USBA middleweight champion Frank 'The Animal' Fletcher... Fletcher."
Click on the link below to hear a recording of Ed Derian doing this very introduction. When you get to the page, just click on the microphone:
Ed Derian was a staple back in the '80's when I would watch him announcing fights from the historic Blue Horizon on Tuesday Night Fights on the USA Network or ESPN fights from various ballrooms in Atlantic City. His style, especially the repeating of the last name, quickly became my personal favorite, thus I've often wondered why I hadn't see him doing anymore fights.
Recently, I ran into another legendary boxing figure from the east; referee Steve Smoger (Pictured below):
Steve Smoger told me that Derian is doing well, but he was forced to give up his ring announcing due to a degenerative hip problem. He said it became increasingly difficult for Derian to get in and out of the ring, thus the reason we don't see or hear that legendary voice anymore.
Smoger went on to tell me that beyond that, Derian remains healthy and in good spirits. I was happy to hear that he's doing well, though I won't get to hear that unique voice doing his famous intros anymore. The aforementioned Buffer's and Lennon, Jr., along with other guys like Joe Martinez and David Diamante have and continue to make their mark in the world of ring announcing. However, none of them will ever be able to emulate that unique and classy "Young man from Philadelphia, Ed Derian... Derian."
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