ESPN: The Worldwide Worst in Boxing

I can’t decide what bothers me more? The fact that ESPN has largely ignored boxing for the last 20 years, or when it decides to cover it, how embarrassingly bad they are at it.

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The display Stephen A. Smith (love him or hate him) put on before and after, Jeff Horn’s victory on Saturday night was embarrassing and outrageous. The entire coverage was deplorable.  ESPN’s studio crew covering the fight was Stephen A. and Steve Levy. Who mocked both Jeff Horn and his past opposition, in particular, former welterweight champ Randall Bailey who in addition to holding a strap in one of the toughest divisions in the sport was also one of the pound-for-pound best punchers in the game, he wasn’t the world’s best boxer, but Bailey can crack, like Julian Jackson or Marcos Maidana, Bailey was  a threat to anyone. As well as Ali Funeka who competed at a word class level and gave life and death to Nate Campbell and Joan Guzman and still competes at a fairly high level. Funeka is legit. Horn also owns a victory over Rico Mueller. For a guy who had 16 fights that is a pretty good resume.  After the fight, Screamin’ A. doubled down with the insulting. People who step into the ring at any level don’t deserve mockery. Especially those who do at the world class and championship level.

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Smith is the definition of a casual, he is aware of the big names, I am certain he never watches Golden Boy on his own network. I am pretty sure this is the first fight Steve Levy has watched since the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, and the was the last fight he watched since the Oscar/Floyd fight.   Having Levy cover boxing is like having me covering the NHL. I don’t know any of the players, nor have basic knowledge of the game or basic strategy.  It’s Chinese to me. Boxing is foreign to Levy and he did zero research, and ESPN paid him to cover a sport he has no knowledge of and did no research on, he didn’t even pull up the BOXREC or watch any YOUTUBE on the dude he was being paid to talk about. As soon as the fight was announced I pulled up the Bailey and Funeka fights. And I said  this

Pac and The Hornet : Well Played Bob Arum 

When five-time world champ, Timothy Bradley tried to explain why the fight was close, that Horn was putting pressure on Manny, that no one including Bradley himself was able to do. That Pac was laying off and that Horn was putting the pressure on throughout and had Manny bleeding and how this all plays on the judges.  The boxing aficionado Screamin A. shook him off and dismissed him.

 

ESPN is having major rating issues, they have cut staff and budget. Despite these massive cutbacks they have gone all in on boxing. This is great for our sport. “The worldwide leader in sports” has made a major investment into boxing. Now it just needs to package it right. This can be done. ESPN is taking HBO’s fights and fighters, it already has Max Kellerman buy him out of his HBO contract make him your exclusive boxing guy.

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Need a fighter ringside, former Welterweight Champ Andre Berto gives awesome insight and can really break a fight down. He’s young and can appeal to the younger crowd which boxing and ESPN both desperately needs.  Or there is always Antonio Tarver, who before his PED problem was highly respected for his commentary on SHOWTIME. 2017 has been a great year for boxing, and there is more hall of fame caliber fighters than at any time in recent memory. ESPN has the ability and the means to take boxing at this time and move back to prominence and cash in on their own investment but they need to take it more seriously.

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6 thoughts on “ESPN: The Worldwide Worst in Boxing

  1. This loss of Horn was confirmed by the referee that because of the beating he had suffered in the ninth round, he would stop the fight, that made Horn very aggressive and gained for him some minor points but not enough to get par to Pacquiao points in the 9th round.

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  2. This robbery of Pacquiao will not affect the growing popularity of boxing, simply because it did not discourage the Filipino boxer, who gained the respect and love of the boxing world.

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  3. Couldn’t agree more, the after fight coverage was appalling.I watched the fight on Box Nation (A British channel) who actually thought Horn won the fight (as did I) .I wanted more after fight coverage so switched to ESPN, I was shocked at the hyperbole on display. The fight was close, the only clear round in the whole fight was the 9th. All others were a toss of the coin. The vitriol coming from the presenters for the decision was over the top. Teddy Atlas actually telling Horn that he lost the fight to his face was a disgrace. The only one that gave a balanced opinion was Bradley ( who benefitted from a far worse points decision over the PacMan) I am a big fan of Pacquiao ( watched him against Vargas in Vegas) but I’m also a boxing fan. The treatment of Horn by ESPN was disgusting, he fought with all his heart, got a decision (against a tired, ring rusty and time to retire Pacquiao) Everyone before the fight thought this was a foregone conclusion, but he fought with heart all the way…Good luck to him I say, he’s gonna make a fortune in the return fight. ESPN if this is how you cover boxing , I’d rather pay for it on HBO or Showtime and have some balanced opinion from true boxing presenters.

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  4. Also remember the sad rant of teddy atlas…..trying to belittle horn in front of millions by saying he didn’t deserve to win……really poor. Guess who he openly supported through the entire fight…he’s now irrelevant

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