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Will Boxing Announcers Hold Back?

Jason Barrett

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A singular motivating force led HBO and Showtime to join forces this Saturday night in producing the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao rumble — greed.

The payday, the moo-la-dee, is what forced the suits (holding their noses no doubt) to mix and match voices from different sides of the aisle for this Pay-Per-View telecast. Their public proclamations promising a smooth fight night operation, and that all the announcers will remain neutral, are, at best, totally disingenuous.

Then again, these executives are involved in a sport where lying is simply a reflex action — kind of like breathing.

Each network has plenty at stake. The fighter who loses leaves Las Vegas as damaged goods to his network. The broadcasters working the fight know this. None of them enters the arena as a neutral commentator. At least one is honest enough to admit it.

“You can never completely erase that business relationship (between a fighter and your network), and what it means, from your mind,” Jim Lampley, the HBO voice who will call the fight, said over the telephone. “I know what our business relationship is in every fight we do. It seeps into your mind during a fight. It will Saturday night, too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t call the fight fairly.”

The gold-plated tracks Mayweather traveled from HBO to Showtime in 2012, when he left to sign a six-fight, $200 million deal with the CBS-owned company, are covered with bad blood.

Before leaving HBO, Mayweather tried to force a clause into his contract that would have prohibited Lampley and then-analyst Larry Merchant, from talking about any aspect of the fighter’s life outside the ring, including his history of domestic violence.

Merchant and Mayweather also verbally went at each other in a post-fight interview after the fighter’s controversial KO win over Victor Ortiz in 2011. Mayweather called for Merchant to be fired, adding, “You don’t know s— about boxing.” Merchant: “I wish I was 50 years younger and I’d kick your ass.”

No voice from Showtime would ever speak to Mayweather in such a harsh manner. Mayweather is not just Showtime’s biggest star. He also has an “executive producer” credit on all “specials” involving him and final say over all scripts. The network’s boxing voices mostly verbally genuflect to him. Al Bernstein, Showtime’s analyst, will join HBO analyst Roy Jones Jr. and Lampley for Saturday’s PPV telecast. Max Kellerman (HBO) and Jim Gray (Showtime) are ringside reporters. Steve Farhood (Showtime) and Harold Lederman (HBO) will be the unofficial scorers.

“There’s a delicate tension that goes with this production,” Lampley said. “Everyone knows these are two networks with conflicting business interests.”

Depending on whom we spoke with, either Lampley calling the fight was not an issue, or it was a huge one that was debated. On his show, “The Fight Game,” Lampley has consistently ripped Mayweather, once saying “for the betterment of boxing’s image, Floyd Mayweather’s retirement cannot come a moment too soon.”

Lampley said he won’t be dealing with Mayweather’s troubled past during the fight. “I don’t have to think about it,” Lampley said. “That’s for the host’s (James Brown) operation.” Through his career, Brown has not ducked issues.

But with Mayweather being such a controlling force at Showtime, will Brown dare to bring up Mayweather’s history of domestic violence during his segments? Considering his strong commentaries on cases of domestic violence in the NFL, Brown must know Mayweather once said that the NFL was overreacting to a videotape when it suspended Ray Rice.

Once the bell rings, the action inside the ring will dictate the voices’ commentary — or will it? Other than scoring figure skating, nothing is more subjective than analyzing, or scoring, a prize fight. This is when the relationship between boxing commentators can get contentious, especially if a fight such as Mayweather-Pacquiao is close.

Credit to the NY Daily News who originally published this article

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Howard and Jeremy: Amazon Prime Video Is Best NFL Broadcast

“Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) is good. Andrew Whitworth is good. It’s top to bottom — maybe Tony Gonzalez is the weak link, I mean, he’s fine — but top to bottom it’s a great broadcast.”

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Amazon Prime Video and Thursday Night Football received backlash last week for failing to mention a previously perceived concussion by Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after the third-year signal caller suffered a scary-looking concussion in the first half of a game against the Bengals. WGR morning hosts Howard Simon and Jeremy White discussed the Amazon crew, with White saying he believes it’s the best NFL broadcast on Howard and Jeremy.

“I will say, the Amazon crew is getting criticized for not mentioning the Bills game during halftime. So, that aside, for me it’s the best crew,” White said. “Everything about Amazon’s broadcast is the best one. You and I talked about it last week. It is the recently retired players. It is so much better.

“When they were talking on the pregame — just football points, not Tua points — Richard Sherman they ask him like ‘You’ll be mad if what?’ and he said ‘I’ll be mad — and I’m gonna be talking to you at halftime about it — if the Dolphins, after playing 90 snaps on defense against the Bills, put their corners out on islands and don’t give them safety help. They’re gonna get beat, and I’ll be here to tell you it was a mistake that they’re not helping out their corners’. And sure enough, what happened? They did it and they got burned. He would have come back and talked about it at halftime if the Tua thing didn’t happen.”

He continued by pointing out several of the studio analysts as performing well early in their broadcasting careers.

“Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) is good. Andrew Whitworth is good. It’s top to bottom — maybe Tony Gonzalez is the weak link, I mean, he’s fine — but top to bottom it’s a great broadcast.”

The pair also discussed the NextGen Stats alternate broadcast Amazon Prime Video produces as a viable way for those interested in learning more about deeper analytics and statistics of football to consume.

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Jets Partner With talkSPORT To Air Six Games on Radio in U.K.

The New York Jets and talkSPORT have agreed to broadcast six 2022 Jets regular season football games.

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New York Jets

Starting this weekend, fans of the New York Jets in the United Kingdom will have local access to their favorite team.

The New York Jets and talkSPORT have agreed to broadcast six 2022 Jets regular season football games. This will establish talkSPORT as the official UK radio broadcast partner of the Jets. Fans will also have exclusive access to the Jets Touchdown UK Podcast and additional Jets content including player and coach interviews.

“We are so thrilled to extend a radio broadcast of the Jets to our fans in the United Kingdom as we take the next step in utilizing our right to expand this game with the help of the world’s biggest sports radio station,” said New York Jets President Hymie Elhai. “This partnership will allow for so much more than 2022 season coverage as we continue to welcome some of the most passionate fans in the world into our fanbase.”

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Colin Cowherd Declares Twitter ‘Loser-ville’ Over Russell Wilson Criticism

“Twitter defended Johnny Manziel at every turn. Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton. The cool guys.”

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Colin Cowherd does not make much time for social media and he doesn’t have a lot of respect for the conversation there. He revealed Friday on his FOX Sports Radio show that is particularly true when it comes to Twitter.

“You know who gets ripped on Twitter? Steph Curry. You know what Twitter loves? NFTs and Bitcoin,” he said. “It is loser-ville. People that need to be accepted. Less successful people ripping more successful people. It’s a barnyard musical. You should try it sometime.” 

He compared the way polls show most football fans feel about Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson to the absolute drubbing he took on Twitter over his viral ad for Subway. Cowherd said that Twitter tends to side with image over quality.

“Russell Wilson was just voted by adults in America, people with lives, who aren’t concerned with being cool, the most likable player in the NFL,” he said. “Twitter defended Johnny Manziel at every turn. Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton. The cool guys.”

Colin Cowherd added that every moment that makes Twitter cringe becomes his new favorite thing about Russell Wilson. He said that the things social media users bash are the things most Americans find relatable.

“You know who else was on that list? Patrick Mahomes, who has a silly brother,” he said. “Sometimes his brother is out there being silly. We’ve all got a silly sister or silly brother! That’s America. It’s not cool.”

Cowherd closed the segment by declaring that he was going to go to Subway right after the show ended and order Russell Wilson’s “Dangerwich” to show his support.

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