For Whom My Bell Tolls
by Mike North, Timekeeper
I was forged to be a professional Timekeeper for an assortment of Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts and Muay Thai Kick-Boxing events.
I'm made of metal and, when struck by the hammer of my able partner, I resonate loudly. My voice rings clear above the rest. My timing is absolute.
Most other devices are not made to withstand the continual pounding that I so gleefully endure. I suppose this makes me a somewhat of a masochist by design.
I met Paul from American Martial Arts Movement a couple of times earlier this year, at an MMA show in Ontario and again recently at another in Artesia, California. I found out that he's a student and friend to the great “Judo” Gene LeBell, whom I've known for years, and we made quick friends.
So, Paul had immediately noticed that my well-worn edges were pretty dinged up from being repeatedly hammered upon over the years at all the shows, and then he asked me, “How long have you been in use?”
I told Paul that I have been in service for the past 10 years. I got my pro-timekeepers license back in 1999 and have been keeping busy ever since.
It came up in our conversation how many people may have heard my bell ring?
The answer now is...millions of people!
If I listed every fighter that I have been a Timekeeper for, I literally would fill pages and pages with names and locations.
So, for this article I will list some of my most notable fighters...
- Oscar De La Hoya
- Manny Pacquiao
- Shane Mosley
- Julio Cesar Chavez
- Bernard Hopkins
- Mia Saint John
- Eric Morales
- Marco Antonio Barrera
- Chuck Liddell
When you consider that many of these fights were on HBO, Showtime, ESPN, Telemundo, USA Friday Night Fights, just to name a few...I can honestly say that my bell has been heard all around the world.
I have worked as a Timekeeper seated right next to George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr., Floyd Mayweather Jr. and many others, all of whom have clearly heard the toll of my bell, some were even startled by my sudden piercing tone!
I've seen it all.
Once, a fighter that had his back to the ropes and was getting pounded, looked over at me in agony and asked, “Please ring the bell!” One time, a heavy-weight fighter fell out of the ring and landed right on me, bending the entire metal stud that supports me. It had to be pried back into place and later replaced.
Another time, after a Boxing show in Hollywood, we got pulled over by the police because of a broken rear brake light. When the officer approached, he noticed my partner had blood on his white long-sleeved shirt. The officer asked, “What is that on your shirt?” My partner replied, “It's blood, but it's OK, it's not mine.” He was asked to step out of the truck and wound up explaining that we were professional timekeepers, and the blood was from a fighter at a show we had just left. I was then shown to the officer.
We were let go with just a warning about the tail-light.
Recently, I got covered in blood again, some of the blood is still in my ding marks!
Throughout my long career, I've been fallen on, sweated upon, blood-splattered, and even propositioned...however, I'm not that kind of bell.
My partner, Mike North, may never get into the boxing Hall of Fame, but I think this bell definitely should.
But, most importantly to answer Paul’s question; For Whom My Bell Tolls?
This bell tolls for you, the fans.
Thank you for reading AMAM Magazine and always remember, the fight doesn’t start until the bell rings: “See you at ringside!”