|Interview with Greg Sirb
Interview by Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Feb 18, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
Like him or not you know one thing about Pennsylvania’s Executive Director Greg Sirb. He never ducked a fight or hesitated to enforce a rule at a boxing show that he was overseeing. Though he still looks the same as he did when this writer first saw him back in the 80’s, it seems he’s been around longer than Moses.
Sirb grew up in Sharon, PA, and was a high school wrestler. He who would further his education at Edinboro University where he holds a bachelors degree in communications. He would continue wrestling at Edinboro. He earned a masters degree at Penn State in public administration.
He joined the PA State Athletic Commission in 1990 after serving as a senior analyst for the PA Intergovernmental Council Corporation.
As recently as 2002 Pennsylvania was fourth in the country in boxing shows at 50. In 2010 they ran 34 shows in PA per Sirb. It seems MMA since it began in Pennsylvania has taken a big bite out of boxing. Not too many of the fans attend both. Somehow Sirb has managed to run both. In 2009 there were a total of 64 shows combined.
This writer has covered Scranton, Johnstown and Philadelphia which have their own commissioners. Sirb is at all of them and you know he’s “the man!” As nice as a guy as this writer is he told me last year “he might throw me out of ringside”. I am sure I either misunderstood him or he was kidding. Only thing is neither one of us were laughing at the time.
“Clearly Greg is the hardest-working guy in the sport. I think I remember only one Philly fight that he missed and that was because he was at another one somewhere else in the state,” said John DiSanto. He is editor of www.phillyboxinghistory.com
There seems to always be a serious side to Sirb. If you happen to see him laughing at ringside you almost want to start laughing yourself even though you don’t know what he’s laughing about. Just don’t make the mistake of letting him see you staring at him. It’s almost like being back in high school again or in this writer’s case boot camp.
“He (Sirb) put a stop to stiffs taking dives. He deserves a lot of credit for that,” said Jeff Jowett. He has written for Boxing Digest, and was a Ring Magazine correspondent.
“Greg Sirb does a good job. He keeps boxing going in Philly,” said Fred Jenkins. Jenkins runs the ABC Gym at the 26th & Masters recreation center. Some of his fighters were David Reid, Charlie Brown, both world champions, Malik Scott, Rodney Moore, Zahir Raheem, Anthony Thompson, Earnest Jackson, Marvin Garris, Bryon Jones, Andre Sharp Richardson, Tyrone Brunson and Randy Griffin.
Sirb runs a tight ship and there’s a rumor when he took over at his Harrisburg office he threw the only copy of Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” out the window.
“Say what you want about Greg Sirb, but the man really knows his job well! I have dealt with many commissions over the years and he really is the best, most fair and knowledgeable commissioner out there! It’s what helps keep Philly as one of the great fighting cities still!!! He takes no shit, can be a lil rough sometimes, but this ain’t tiddlywinks we are playing here! This is pro boxing. A life and death business!!! No room for mistakes and he takes it serious! This quote is from Joey “Eye” Intrieri, a promoter, actor, run’s a gym and one of the best cut men in the business.
Sirb agreed to do a Q&A prior to a boxing show at Harrisburg.
KEN HISSNER: You are always at the front of things at all the shows in PA and DE yet are listed as Executive Director of PA Athletic Commission. What year did you start working for the state pertaining to boxing and how many commissioners have you seen come and go out of Philadelphia?
GS: “In 1989 the commission was scheduled to be disbanded. That’s when I got involved. Jimmy Binns was head of the commission. He was followed by Howard McCall, Ron Greenly, George Bochetta, Humberto Perez and Rudy Battles.”
KH: I know you have boxed in exhibitions and are obviously in good physical shape. (Notice I said physical?) Did you have a background yourself in boxing?
GS: “I had tons of amateur bouts growing up in Sharon, PA, on the Farrell and Youngstown, OH, border. I spar whenever I am in the area of a gym.”
KH: You have seen boxing change over the past 30 years and it seems there is a limited talent today compared to the 70’s and 80’s. What would you say are the pro and con’s?
GS: “Missing the good trainers”.
KH: How do you put up with these writers who like myself, don’t just stick to writing?
GS: Just gave me that “Sirb” look like “are you kidding me? Don’t get me started”.
KH: At what period of time were you President of the Association of Boxing Commissions and when did you first join?
GS: “I got started in the early 80’s and was President from 1996 to 2000. I am currently serving as the Vice President”.
KH: When Dave Tiberi went before the Senate which started the ball rolling in getting the Muhammad Ali Act in place were you involved with that?
GS: “Yes, in 1996 pertaining to safety with Sen. McCain and in 1998 the Muhammad Ali Act.
KH: What’s your opinion on a National Commissioner?
GS: “We need someone who can unify all the rules and regulations for the safety of the boxers throughout the country”.
KH: What do you think about the standing 8 count?
GS: “It’s one of the worst things in boxing and that is why in PA we don’t have it. It only delay’s the ending”.
KH: Is the day of or day before a good rule in your opinion for weigh-ins?
GS: “I believe all weigh-ins should be the day of the show”.
KH: Is Dave Prices “Cov Glove” sanctioned in PA to prevent tape from coming apart on the gloves?
GS: “If their corner informs the inspector before their fight it’s allowed”.
KH: How many consecutive losses does a boxer have before you suspend him/her?
GS: “Rule of thumb is 6 consecutive losses”.
KH: What do you do for enjoyment or to relax outside of boxing? Bungee jump?
GS: “I’m wrestling coach at Central Dauphin and I box and work out.
KH: Thanks for taking the time out prior to the show tonight here in Harrisburg. I hope it wasn’t too painful.
GS: “No problem”.
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