Behind The Scenes

Versatile Tessitore on call for ESPN’s heavyweight title bout

Joe Tessitore (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
Joe Tessitore (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
Some other ESPN commentators who regularly work three or more sports:

Mike Tirico: NFL, Golf, NBA, College Basketball, Tennis
Chris Fowler: Tennis, College Football, 2010 World Cup
Sean McDonough: Golf, College Football, College Basketball, MLB
Beth Mowins: College Football, College Basketball, College Softball (bowling, soccer, volleyball in previous years)
Chris Berman: NFL Studio, MLB HR Derby, Golf
Dave O’Brien: MLB, College Basketball, College Baseball
Clay Matvick: College Football, College Basketball, College Baseball
Carter Blackburn: College Football, College Basketball, LLWS
Mark Jones: College Football, College Basketball, NBA
Joe Davis: College Football, College Basketball, NCAA Hockey
Dave Pasch: College Football, College Basketball, NBA

LOS ANGELES – Joe Tessitore works a unique variety of assignments for ESPN – as a play-by-play commentator for college football, college basketball, blow-by-blow commentator for ESPN Friday Night Fights, primary studio host for College Football Live and future host of SEC Nation when the show debuts on the SEC Network Aug. 28.

This Saturday, Tessitore will call the WBC World Heavyweight Championship fight between Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola live alongside ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas from the USC Galen Center (8 p.m. ET, ESPN, WatchESPN).

Front Row caught up with Tessitore and asked him about the fight and how he juggles so many different responsibilities.

Where does the Stiverne versus Arreola title fight rank among the fights you have called?
It’s always a thrill to broadcast a title fight when it means this much to the combatants. I’ve broadcast every level of boxing there is. From low level swing bouts to HBO pay-per-views. It’s hard to say where this fight ranks on that list, but it’s easy to see in the lead up what these two fighters are willing to give of themselves. This isn’t some throwaway business decision grab-a-paycheck type fight here. This is pure heart and will to deliver on a lifelong dream.

“Being prepared is simply who you are, not what you have to do.”
– Joe Tessitore

What’s the key to balancing different assignments?
I drink large cups of Kuerig-brewed Italian roast throughout the day and night. Seriously. Truth is there are many of us at ESPN, not just on-air, but producers and production support of all types, who juggle so many unrelated sports [see sidebar]. I think you’d find the commonality is that we never really stop staying connected to the sport. For me, there is no such thing as a college football offseason. I read every article every day, the college sports station on satellite radio is a fixture in my car, I go to spring practices and games no matter if I’m working them or not, and I have conversations with coaches, SIDs and our fellow analysts throughout the week. Being prepared is simply who you are, not what you have to do.

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