Ring announcer and disc jockey David Diamante has played by his own rules for all of his life.
You need not look past his long dreadlocks to realize that. Having not cut his hair since 1988, the dreads have become as much a part of his persona as his stirring ring announcing.
Although Diamante is well known throughout the nightclub industry as a sought-after disc jockey, his career as a ring announcer should grow in leaps and bounds after Saturday, February 17.
On that night he will serve as the ring announcer for an HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader featuring Paul Malignaggi vs. Edner Cherry, Sechew Powell vs. Ishe Smith, and Andre Berto vs. Norberto Bravo, the latter of whom was a participant on season two of “The Contender” reality television series.
As thrilled as Diamante is about this gig, which will take place at the Hammerstein Ballroom in midtown Manhattan, he will put forth the same effort he does at all of the fights he calls. Just two nights earlier, he will have called a New York City Golden Gloves show in the Bronx.
He also does scores of work for USA Boxing, the amateur sanctioning association. Most often he does it for free, but never for anything more than gas money. He also announces the white collar shows that have long been sponsored by the Church Street Boxing Gym in New York.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m doing a show with five people or 5,000 people in attendance,” said the high-energy Diamante. “For me it is business as usual. I take it very seriously and have great respect for the fighters. I talk to all of them beforehand to make sure I get the proper pronunciation of their names, their correct records, and any other incidentals they want mentioned. When they get in the ring, they put everything on the line. The least I can do as an announcer is get it right.”
For as long as he can remember, Diamante says he wanted to be a musician, ring announcer or disc jockey. Although he’d prefer not to go into details, he says his childhood was rough so having such lofty dreams helped keep him grounded.
“I came from the school of hard knocks,” he said. “I never wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or an astronaut. I never wanted to bleep a corporate bleep. I wanted to do my own thing, be my own person.”
Diamante, who grew up in Virginia and California, has been lucky enough to do just that. He studied English at George Mason University in Virginia, where years later, in September 2005, he announced Jimmy Lange’s fight against undefeated Perry Ballard, and San Francisco State University. Lange was a participant on season one of “The Contender.”
Diamante also traveled the world, often venturing on his own to exotic locales in Asia, Europe, South America, Israel, Turkey and Morocco. His diverse array of electric experiences has made him the dynamic and contented man that he is today.
Besides attending fights in Argentina and watching Muay Thai matches in Thailand, Diamante trained for a spell at King’s Gym in East Oakland, California. He also spars regularly in New York, most recently against former lighter weight champion Junior Jones who he described as “just incredible.”
“I love competition and intensity,” he said. “I’ve always competed in sports, but boxing is very special to me. I am doing everything I’ve ever dreamed of doing and enjoying every minute of it.”
Diamante’s “day job,” which he actually works at for five nights a week, is as a disc jockey in Scores, an upscale gentleman’s club in Manhattan. The earliest he gets home is 5 AM, but more often than not it is not until 8 AM.
While most people would love to sleep with hours like that, Diamante said they actually give him the opportunity to fill his days with an array of activities that includes riding his 1200 CC Suzuki in the winter.
“I have an insatiable appetite for life,” said Diamante. “I want to see it all and do it all. If I haven’t done it, it interests me.”
Diamante resides in Bushwick, Brooklyn, which is in the embryonic stages of gentrification. There were two murders on Diamante’s street last year. Earlier this year, there was a carjacking.
He is not looking forward to the inevitable changes in the neighborhood, and insists he likes his neighborhood just fine the way it is now.
Diamante counts Malignaggi, Joe Calzaghe, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquaio and Yuri Foreman among his favorite fighters. All of the fighters on Saturday’s show excite him because, he says, they bring so much heart, grit and determination to the game.
“There’s going to be a big crowd, a lot of energy and excitement,” he explains. “These are the types of fights that will really bring out the hardcore fans. They’ll be a lot of skill and a lot of heart in the ring that night.”
Diamante also admires Lou DiBella, who is promoting the HBO show. He is asked if he feels in any way like a kindred spirit with the colorful promoter, who if you didn’t know it would never guess he was a Harvard graduate.
Like Diamante, DiBella is known for doing things his way and not living according to anyone else’s perception of normal.
“I have a ton of respect for Lou,” said Diamante. “I love his shows and love his individualism. I’m not different just for the sake of being different. You can certainly say the same about him.”