Get 2 Know Michael Borao
Status: Boxing attorney/advisor.
DOB: October 13, 1973 In: Bronx, NY
First boxing memory: The first fight I remember vividly was when I was 9 or 10. I watched Larry Holmes vs. Randall “Tex” Cobb on television with my dad. I had seen other fights before this, but this one stands out for some reason. Cobb had taken such a beating and kept coming forward, I remember at the time thinking Cobb should have been declared the winner. Of course, the fight was a shutout and could have been stopped in the 9th round.
Last boxing book read: A screenplay called The Great Fight by Ken Del Vecchio. Next book: Heavyweight Armageddon, for sure.
Hobbies/interests: I love to play poker. I started close to 15 years ago in Law School, before the poker boom. Since then, I have become a decent player.
Favorite movies: There are certain movies I watch any time they are on television, so I guess they would qualify as my favorites, even though they may not necessarily be considered artistic masterpieces. Trading Places, The Jerk, Revenge of the Nerds, Bachelor Party, Brewster’s Millions, Caddyshack, Back To School. I am stuck in the 80’s.
Musical tastes: Pop, Hip Hop, R&B.
First job: Local movie-theater selling tickets. I was maybe 14-15 years old.
Current car: 2006 Honda Odyssey. What can I say, I’m a family guy!
First famous boxer you ever met/encountered: I was at a shopping mall in Wayne, NJ. I was maybe 12 years old. My dad pointed to the jewelry counter and said, ‘Look, its Bobby Czyz.’ He was wearing a fur coat and had all these diamonds on and was escorted by a buxom blonde. Bobby turned out to be nice and gave me my first boxing autograph.
Greatest career moment: I was involved with manager Scott Hirsch and Shannon Briggs. On November 4, 2006 Shannon scored an incredible come-from-behind, last-second knockout over WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich. The dramatic and unexpected way that Shannon came back and won the championship made the night that much more memorable.
Most painful moment: January 20, 2007. Jameel McCline was boxing WBA Heavyweight Champion Nikolay Valuev. Jameel has come within a hair of winning the heavyweight championship on a number of occasions, but somehow this loss seemed the worst. He was in the best shape of his life and I was 100% confident that he would win. At the end of the third round his knee blew out. We spent the entire night in the hospital in Switzerland. Jameel worked hard his entire career and deserved a break, I wish he would have picked up a major title. Boxing is a very unforgiving sport.
Funny boxing memory: I walked into Don King’s suite at the Michelangelo in New York. We were in the middle of a dispute at the time and I was trying to settle the matter with him. Anyway, As soon as I walk in the room, Don starts in with the worst verbal assault on me that you have ever heard. My friends Scott Hirsch and former Showtime executive Roy Langbord present, along with a few others. A minute or two into the tirade, I think to myself, ‘this is embarrassing, you have to do something.’ I stood up and pounded the table and shouted as angrily as I could, ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANY MORE. IF YOU CURSE ME OUT FIFTY OR A HUNDRED MORE TIMES, I MAY WALK OUT OF HERE!’ Don paused for a brief moment, the room erupted in laughter, and then that unmistakable DK laugh followed. We settled. It was a very funny moment.
Embarrassing boxing memory: In my teens I participated in some “Tough-man” bouts. By that I generally mean unsanctioned bouts in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, etc. Most of the time there was a makeshift ring in someone’s back yard. Fights were one, two, and three minute rounds, depending on the proprietor’s preference. Sometimes we wore head gear, and sometimes we didn’t. The fights were incredibly entertaining. I liked to fight. Long story short, on one particular night a little pipsqueak who couldn’t have been 175lbs soaking wet – I was a muscular 220 lbs – gave me a hellacious beating in front of all my friends and my girlfriend. I am talking broken nose, black eye, the whole enchilada. It was so embarrassing, I didn’t want to show my face for a month. My girlfriend thankfully stayed by me despite the humiliation and eventually became my wife.
Childhood dream(s): I wanted to be a boxer or at least be involved in boxing ever since I can remember. When I was a kid, I was a boxing nerd. As a teenager I collected boxing trading cards. Prominent figures like Don King, Shelly Finkel, and Cedric Kushner were featured on the cards. It is great to actually be doing this. I’ve met a lot of my heroes.
Favorite boxers to watch: Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez, Larry Holmes, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson. The heavyweight division is my favorite division. I believe that so goes the heavyweights, so goes the sport. Boxing really needs another heavyweight fighter like Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali that transcends the sport. I hope he comes along, even if someone else represents him (laughs).
Favorite fights: Too many to name, Ali-Frazier trilogy, Hagler-Hearns, Leonard-Hearns, Pryor-Arguello, Holmes-Norton, Foreman-Lyle. I can go on and on.
Closest friends from boxing: Allan and Jay Wartski are two of the best people you could ever hope to meet. Allan and I first met in 1996 and began working with Jameel McCline. Allan’s family is like my extended family. Internet guru Scott Hirsch is a dear friend of mine. Promoter Cedric Kushner and I are very close. My kids call him “Uncle Ced.” Boxing lawyer extraordinaire Scott Shaffer is one of my best friends in boxing. Boxing manager Steven Heid is a great pal and business partner. And, my first client ever, Jameel McCline is my brother from another mother. I don’t know, I have lots of good pals in boxing, Walter Kane, Lou DiBella, Roy Langbord, and Leon Margules, to name just a few.
Funniest boxing people encountered: Boxing plays host to a number of colorful characters. I have had my ups and downs with this person over the years, but I have to say that Don King is one of the funniest people I have ever met in boxing. I love having dinners with him because he is so entertaining. I don’t think he means to be funny, but he just is. The “Colonel” Bob Sheridan is also absolutely hilarious.
People qualities most admired: Compassion, empathy, kindness towards others, humbleness, loyalty, and a good sense of humor. Unfortunately, people often mistake kindness for weakness. Be kind, anyway.
Education: BA Economics from Montclair State University; JD Seton Hall Law School
Interesting fact people may not know about you: I married my high-school sweetheart. We have been together for nearly 20 years. We have triplet boys, who are future Hall of Fame athletes.