Magazine article Newsweek

The Phrase That Pays

Magazine article Newsweek

The Phrase That Pays

Article excerpt

What a life! This guy makes big bucks saying the same thing over and over--as only he can.

LADIEEEES AND GENTLEMENNNNNN Let's get ready to ... sue Oliverrrrr Norrrth! That's fight, fight fans: baritone-piped boxing announcer Michael Buffer not only officially trademarked his signature catch phrase "Let's get ready to rrrrumblllle!" He's ready to go ruano a mano with any persons using it without his OK--as North did on his radio show. Ollie should a known better. Terrorists and Democrats are one thing, but this is America pal. You don't mess with a guy who's lucked into a gimmick that's won him riches, fame and a 21-year-old girlfriend.

The "Rumble" call to arms, delivered in Buffer's slow-build style, has become more than just an incitement to pugilistic violence. It's an all-purpose crowd pleaser. He does it for NBA games, "Monday Night Football," professional wrestling, conventions, sales conferences, weddings. He's appeared on "The Simpsons"--the ultimate pop-icon validation. In Japan they call him "the 007 of boxing." In Germany the 52-year-old Buffer had a hit single and met Alina Carabenci, whom he has been dating for almost a year.

Such are the perks of international stardom: he's been divorced longer than Alina has been alive.

Ringside at a recent welterweight-title fight in Vegas, Buffer clearly relishes his celebrity status. "No one has ever done this for a living before," he boasts, aware that he's become bigger than most of the fighters he introduces. …

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