Opinion: Boxing Needs More Boxers As TV Commentators
Look at all the other major sports – each is adequately represented by former competitive athletes as part of their TV network broadcasts. John McEnroe, Justin Gimelstob, Martina Navritlova, Pam Shriver, Patrick McEnroe, Darren Cahill, Brad Gilbert provide excellent commentary for tennis.
Troy Aikman, Michael Strahan, Phil Simms, Dan Dierdorf, Dan Marino, Chris Carter, Cris Collinsworth, Sterling Sharpe, Jerome Bettis, among many others, add color and pizzazz to NFL coverage. The NBA, NHL and MLB also do well in letting former athletes serve as part of their TV coverage.
But in TV boxing coverage in the U.S., the only former pro boxer presently employed as a TV boxing analyst is Lennox Lewis.
Should boxing consider making a change to this current imbalance, HBO, Showtime and ESPN2 actually have quite a large talent pool to choose from if they were to get with the times and hire more former boxers as TV analysts/commentators. Shannon Briggs, the former WBO Heavyweight champ has worked in television on several occasions and was by all reviews excellent in his one-night gig with ESPN2 last year. He was natural, insightful, funny and performed surprisingly well alongside Joe Tessitore. The former WBC Featherweight champ Kevin Kelley has worked for various cable networks for years and always did a good job whenever I saw him.
John Scully has worked on ESPN Classic re-broadcasts of classic bouts and was quite impressive in that role. Antonio Tarver and Bernard Hopkins are naturally entertaining speakers and brilliant tactical minds, and each would undoubtedly add a wonderful ingredient to any big fight or PPV broadcast.
There are many other strong candidates for TV commentating work out there among our former boxers, including Roy Jones Jr., George Foreman, Sean O’Grady, Renaldo Snipes, Joe Mesi. And there are many current boxers who are very intelligent and well-spoken and some day in the future would be highly qualified to work in TV, such as Floyd Mayweather, Kendall Holt, Jameel McCline, Dmitri Salita, Michael Grant, Allan Green, Jeff Lacy, among others.
So the bottom line opinion is: Boxing needs to employ more of it’s former competitors in TV coverage.
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