Jack Reiss: Coney Island Baby

By Dennis Taylor on October 5, 2015
Jack Reiss: Coney Island Baby
"We fought on our way to school," says Reiss, "we fought on the bus, we fought at school."

He is the third man in the ring for many of the biggest fights in boxing —  most recently Postol’s KO of Matthysse…

If you’ve never trained for a fight, and if you’ve never been punched in the face, you don’t belong in a boxing ring as the referee of a prize fight, says Jack Reiss, who has worked 2,000 such events, including more than 100 world title fights, as a referee and judge over the past 15 years.

He first gravitated toward the sport after seeing a photo of his dad (who died when Reiss was eight) standing on a beach in a boxer’s pose, but learned to fight largely out of self-preservation in his tough, Coney Island neighborhood.

“We fought on our way to school, we fought on the bus, we fought at school,” said the 59-year-old Brooklyn native, who also remembers sneaking into a movie theater with his neighborhood pals (one kid paid, then kicked open a side door to admit the others) for a closed-circuit telecast of Ali vs. Frazier.

After 31 years as a firefighter (including a stint at “Ground Zero” immediately after the 911 tragedy), Reiss today is the third man in the ring for many of the biggest fights in boxing—most recently Viktor Postol’s KO of Lucas Matthysse, Deontay Wilder’s beatdown of Johann Duhaupas, and Leo Santa Cruz’s narrow win over Abner Mares.

The colorful and opinionated arbiter gave us a remarkable 40-minute interview on Sunday’s Ringside Boxing Show, covering topics ranging from his prefight preparation to the difference between officiating in Germany (polite applause), as opposed to Panama (airborne beer bottles), to the unspeakable devastation of the 911 disaster, to the rebirth of his home borough of Brooklyn, to a comparison between today’s fighters with the greats of yesteryear.

Hear this interview and the entire show at http://ringsideboxingshow.podbean.com, and listen to The Ringside Boxing Show live every Sunday at www.radiomonterey.com, beginning at 4 p.m. Pacific, 5 Mountain, 6 Central, 7 Eastern.

Visit www.ringsideboxingshow.com for worldwide times.

Dennis Taylor is host of The Ringside Boxing Show and editor/publisher of www.ringsideboxingshow.com.

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  1. KB 07:22am, 10/07/2015

    And he is a very accessible and nice guy

  2. Jim Crue 12:26pm, 10/05/2015

    Jack is consistently the best ref in boxing.

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