50 Most Influential: Introduction 50 Most Influential: No. 34 Ditching ’burbs for Detroit NHL brings doughnuts, signs Dunkin’ deal 50 Most Influential: No. 16 ‘Suite’ gifts, and even a few ugly ones Group builds platform for hockey award 50 Most Influential: No. 38 Alabama scores some serious bling Sports Media: NFL steps into esports
SBJ/20080623/Faces & Places
Published June 23, 2008
Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.
As Frank Warren was preparing for a trip with his wife, Susan, from their suburban London home to the Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., the promoter remembered a treasured moment. In 1996, after his fighter Nigel Benn lost the WBC super middleweight title to South African Thulani “Sugar Boy” Malinga, he got an invitation from Nelson Mandela. “My guy got beat, but I spent two days at Mandela’s house talking about boxing. What a beautiful man.” Warren, 55, who recently launched The Queensberry Fight Network, stopped in Atlantic City, N.J., where his fighter Gary Lockett got stopped by middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik. The next day, he continued on to Canastota, where he was inducted into the hall with Larry Holmes (“Who I idolize,” he said), Eddie Perkins, Mogens Palle, Dave Anderson and Joe Koizumi. He expressed surprise at his election: “I thought you had to be 75 years old or dead.” … Showtime’s Nick Charles took home the Sam Taub Award for excellence in broadcast journalism from the boxing writers’ dinner. … Pavlik’s 48-state Fight Back Express tour is homage to his mother, Debbie, who was diagnosed eight years ago with cervical cancer. … The IFL’s Aaron Stark served his mother, Anne, four exotic wines for Mother’s Day. The former Wisconsin wrestler and Mensa member manages Colene Clemens Vineyard (Ore.). … … Two-time heavyweight champ Chris Byrd stopped eating junk food and lost 45 pounds to become a light-heavyweight. Then Shaun George pounded him.
Edwina Frawley-Gangahar was the highest bidder for two hours on a tennis court with Pete Sampras at MSG’s NetJets Showdown between Sampras and Roger Federer. She’s a vice president at sponsor BNP Paribas. The international finance company has sponsored tennis, including the French Open, for 35 years. It signed on as the title sponsor of the “Taste of Tennis,” the popular event associated with the U.S. Open. The Irish-born Frawley was working communications in London four years ago when she was transferred to New York. After two weeks, she met Anuj Gangahar, a journalist for London’s Financial Times. “Much to the disappointment of my British friends, I missed that whole ‘Sex in the City’ thing.” They married last October. Edwina isn’t sure if Anuj can also “have a hit with Pete Sampras.”
Greg Hughes met his bride, Lisa, when some fool, entered in a Philips Arena promo, chose an electronics package instead of a date with the high school art teacher. Hughes worked for Turner Sports but was at Philips that night as a spectator. Pierced by the thunderbolt, he seized the opportunity to chat. After a three-year courtship, the couple married and honeymooned on St. Thomas. “We chose an early summer date because later this summer I’m working in New York for NBC during the Olympics,” said Hughes, who last year launched Sedan Communications. His 13-year-old son Daniel gave a toast at the reception attended by Mark Lazarus, Rudy Martzke, Rob Farinella, Derek Schiller (Harvey’s son) and Mark Bowman. … Luciana (Lucy) Rose LaPlaca was born to ESPN’s Leah and Chris LaPlaca. “It went like clockwork,” said dad, who described the couple’s second girl: “Lots of dark hair and all cheeks.”
The Ski Channel CEO Steve Bellamy and execs Sinah Hoenig, Rich Tavtigian and Jonny Moseley were nervous about the inflatable furniture in the net’s booth at the National Ski Area Association convention in San Francisco. “We kept waiting for someone with a pen to sit down and pop the couch,” Bellamy said. “We started frisking people, but quickly learned we were violating several laws.” … After hard knocks in the restaurant biz and on Wall Street, Rod Gilbert returned to MSG because, “I felt safe in hockey.” He was a panelist with Carl Banks, Lenny Dykstra, Ameritrade executive Joe Moglia and Wharton’s Kenneth Shropshire on Reuters’ Sports Business Newsmakers panel, moderated by business author James Citrin, on athletic lessons applied to business. … HOK’s Brad Colley and Geoff Cheong raided grocery stores for 4,696 pounds of canned food in winning the local and placing in the international CANstruction competition. The food went to charity. … At the WISE luncheon, David Hill said, “This is only the second time in 25 years Dick Ebersol and I have worn ties.” Both Hill and Ebersol spoke at the event honoring Rita Benson LeBlanc, Pam Oliver and Molly Solomon.
Yogi Berra and Dave Kaplan published “You Can Observe a Lot by Watching,” (Wiley); Billie Jean King and Christine Brennan have one coming, “Pressure Is a Privilege,” (Lifetime). … Ira Berkow: “A good case can be made that [his 1968-75] columns collected in “Beyond the Dream” [Bison re-issue] have held up considerably better than I have.” … Dan Schlossberg offers trivia in “Baseball Bits” (Alpha). … SI’s “Brett Favre: The Tribute” with contributions from Peter King, Michael Silver, Jeff MacGregor and Leigh Montville, climbed to No. 6 and is still a Times best seller. … Marc Isenberg recovered from ACL surgery and is blogging his “Money Players.” … Charlie Weis visited troops in the Middle East with Tommy Tuberville and is writing a journal.
John Genzale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.