THE best commentators make you feel secure, because you know they know their stuff. They are like the best teachers, steeped in their subject but never condescending. Mike Costello isn’t so much steeped in his subject as pickled, but if you want to talk boxing, however deep your knowledge, he’ll make you feel welcome. Just please don’t disturb him if he’s about to go on air.
For 10 years, as a BBC colleague of Costello’s, I sat just behind him at many of boxing’s biggest fights. As such, I hardly ever heard him commentate. But I got to know him well, mostly in daft Las Vegas bars and moody German boozers.
When Ricky Hatton fought Floyd Mayweather in 2007, it was Costello who took me under his wing. Rather, he invited me along for dinner and I said yes. It might not sound like much, but for a journalist on his first big trip it was an act of kindness. Vegas can be lonely, even with 20,000 Mancunians roaming all over the place. Although, in hindsight, it was just Costello being Costello.