SKOWHEGAN — Brandon Berry was sorting through tickets for his upcoming boxing event when his cell phone rang.

“Hey Peter,” Berry said, and he listened to whatever this Peter on the other side of the call was saying. “The thing that really sucks about this is — yeah, yeah. He says an hour, but it’s probably more.”

Berry hung up, and sighed. Just another thing that happens when you’re promoting a boxing match.

Berry was at Whit’s End restaurant in Skowhegan for his weigh-in. A handful of family, friends, and fans waited. Hal Pierce, chairman of the Combat Sports Authority of Maine, waited too, ready to officially weigh Berry and his opponent, Carlos Galindo of Woburn, Mass.

The call was to inform Berry that Galindo was running approximately an hour late for the 4 p.m. weigh in. Two hours, really, considering Berry told him it was at 3 in anticipation of this.

Saturday’s fight card at the Skowhegan Community Center was the fifth promoted by Berry. Each one brings a new set of questions. Add that Berry is trying to train for his own fight, and promoting an event is like building a jigsaw puzzle you know has a few missing pieces. It’s never going to go according to plan.

“I stress so much about trying to make it good for everyone. You’ve got to have all the stars aligned to get all the people there,” Berry said. “This is my fifth promotion. It doesn’t get easier. The more quality you want to bring, the harder it gets.”

Berry’s original plan for Saturday’s card was three professional bouts, headlined by himself, with a handful of amateur fights as an appetizer. Schedules can’t mesh together, and three pro fights becomes two. Somebody can’t agree on the fighting weight, and two pro fights becomes one, Berry vs Galindo.

Berry vs Galindo is a rematch of one of the worst nights of Berry’s professional boxing career. You see, Galindo’s career record is an abjectly unimpressive 1-11. The one came against Berry, on June 23, 2018, at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Guilford, N.H. The fight was a five round split decision.

“I’m the one,” Berry said. “I was so excited to fight on such a big stage, and I didn’t perform at all.”

That fight kicked off three losses in four bouts for Berry. He stepped back, caught his breath, and didn’t fight for seven months. Berry has since won his last two fights to improve his pro record to 15-5-2, and is eager to face Galindo again. It’s the main event for what he hopes will be a great show.

That’s why Berry just shrugged when told Galindo was running late.

“We need them. They don’t really need us. What am I supposed to do? I have to weigh in,” Berry said.

Berry threw his arms in the air, revealing tattoos on the inside of each bicep. On the left, the number 207, Maine’s area code and a nod to home, and a more important nod to home, the logo to Berry’s General Store, his family’s West Forks business. When Berry rubs his eyes a few times Friday afternoon at Whit’s End, it’s not nervousness or anxiety waiting for Galindo. He was up before dawn, working in the store.

On Berry’s right bicep are lines from a poem, in memory of his friend Joel Bishop, who died in a one car accident on October 1, 2017, hours after being the best man in Berry’s wedding.

“If it wasn’t Death that knocked me out/I would’ve gotten up for round two,” read the two lines on Berry’s arm. Many things motivate Berry, who celebrated his 32nd birthday Saturday, to continue boxing. Honoring Bishop, who also was a fighter, is one of them.

Berry will continue promoting boxing shows in Skowhegan, even though he knows it’s a long trip for potential participants coming from southern New England. As of Friday afternoon, Berry had nine amateur fights lined up for Saturday’s card. He knew that was subject to change right up until the boxers checked in at the Skowhegan Community Center.

“”I messaged every club in New England twice,” Berry said. “I remember what it was like as an amateur, to get the call. ‘Hey, want to be on my show?’ This sport has given me so much… It means a lot to me to bring these events close to home. Ninety percent of the people who support me really can’t travel all over New England to watch me fight.”

Galindo was late, and Pierce was ready, so Berry stripped down to his red, white, and blue trunks and stepped on the scale. He weighed 143.8 pounds, his perfect weight for a fight.

“Getting into the ring is the most comfortable thing I do. I’m more concerned about the promotion itself. I want (fans) to come back. I’m doing this for the sport,” Berry said.

The scale signaled a shift for Berry. He went from promoter mode to fighter mode. He posed for pictures with friends and fans, and smiled.

For a few seconds, the stress was gone.

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

 

 

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