Lee Groves

Travelin’ Man: Tucson – Part one


Thursday, March 22:It’s difficult to believe that nearly a month has passed since my most recent journey to Las Vegas. The past 26 days have been a whirlwind of CompuBox-related projects, work on my weekly RingTV.com columns and tending to my ever-growing “vault” of boxing DVDs. Last week the number of fights in my DVD library surpassed the 15,000 mark and as I write this I’ve added nearly 50 more to the collection through a combination of fresh telecasts and transfers from the VHS archives.

It never stops. Thank God. But for every blessing there are also challenges.

Having all these fights at my fingertips is wonderful, and they’ve opened doors for me that otherwise would have been inaccessible. But for me, editing and burning DVDs falls under the category of “tons of work, but worth the effort.” Those of you who have large collections understand what I mean but for those who aspire to acquire your own “vault,” organization skills and attention to detail are absolutely paramount. In order to have a commercial-free, easily navigated collection I go through a ritual that includes the following:

  • Writing down each fight on a given card on a note pad, including date, network, winner, loser, result, weight class and running time to the second.
  • Making sure each fight has its own title by using my DVD hard-drive recorder’s “divide title” function. I also create separate titles for shows that have studio segments like ESPN2 and for programs that boast other interesting interludes.
  • Typing in the fighters’ names, the result and – if there’s enough space – the date on each title.
  • Editing out all commercials with the “partial delete” function.
  • Selecting action shots (preferably the knockout punch, if applicable) to use for the thumbnail photo accompanying the title.
  • Choosing filler fights or specials to maximize a given DVD’s available space before burning and storing.
  • Typing in the various fight cards onto my master DVD list, which is now 278 pages long since creating the document in late 2004.

In all, it requires approximately 30 minutes to polish off a two-hour fight card with ads and less than 10 minutes for commercial-free HBO, Showtime and pay-per-view shows.

For DirecTV subscribers like myself, most weekends consist of three telecasts but when I looked at the slate for the next two days I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. That’s because no less than nine shows were on the docket between ESPN 2, Showtime and Argentina’s TyC channel on Friday night and HBO, NBC Sports Network, TyC, Azteca America, Telefutura and pay-per-view on Saturday.

Talk about March Madness. Or, for me, Fantasy Island.

Thank goodness for repeat showings, multiple satellite receivers, a myriad of hard-drive recorders and extremely generous, accommodating and helpful family members. Were it not for them, I couldn’t have hoped to grab them all – especially from more than 1,900 miles away. They know that recording fights is now much more than a hobby; it’s part of my job description. Every fight I record has potential value down the road in terms of future research because the more I have in-house, the better it is to complete my work without having to bother others.

Before leaving, I set all the timers and left a detailed note explaining how to handle the first four shows that would air while I was gone. If all went well, I expected to be back by 8 p.m. Saturday – plenty of time to juggle the other five.

Such are the fortunes of the maven – or the madman.

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