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HBO Boxing World Championship: Its Schedule & Commentators

The HBO World Championship is a tournament that takes place on HBO. A television series about boxing that airs on HBO's premium television network, HBO Boxing – World Championship (in later years, stylized as HBO Boxing – World Championship), is an American sports television series.

The first bout, between George Foreman and Joe Frazier, took place on January 22, 1973, in Kingston, Jamaica, and was the show's debut. Originally known as TVKO, HBO's pay-per-view distribution arm made its debut in 1991 with Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman. In 2001, the division became HBO PPV and was renamed HBO PPV.

Following the final broadcast bout on October 27, HBO stated that boxing would be discontinued from the network. There were two more airings, the first on November 24, 2018, and the last on December 8, 2018, before the decision was made official.

There were a variety of issues in the boxing business, including the influx of streaming options (such as DAZN or ESPN+) and issues with promoters, as well as declining ratings and a loss of interest in the sport among HBO's subscribers, that made the sport's continued carriage untenable, and the sport was dropped from the network's schedule.

It is also believed that HBO's long-term shift to upmarket dramatic content, as well as the ownership transfer of parent company WarnerMedia to AT&T, had a part in the decision, with one HBO official stating that the network "is not a sports network."

HBO World Championship Boxing — HBO World Championship Boxing. A boxing television series premiering in January 1973
HBO World Championship Boxing — HBO World Championship Boxing. A boxing television series premiering in January 1973

HBO Boxing: Commentators

The show is presently hosted by Brian Custer. Mauro Ranallo is the primary announcer, with Al Bernstein as the chief color analyst and boxer Abner Mares as an analyst (when he is available).

Guest analysts include Amir Khan, Austin Trout, and Daniel Jacobs. Antonio Tarver, Ferdie Pacheco, Bobby Czyz, and Paulie Malignaggi have all played the third role in the past. Jim Gray is the main reporter. Steve Albert and Gus Johnson are two former top commentators. Barry Tompkins hosts The New Generation, with Steve Farhood and Raul Marquez serving as expert commentators.

Ranking The Best HBO Boxing Commentators

Dan Rafael

ESPN's Dan Rafael is the best boxing insider around. I'm a weekly listener/reader of his ESPN Friday discussion, and it never fails to surprise me how he may be asked about a seemingly obscure fight or boxer, and yet Rafael has the knowledge.

I don't rely on him to predict who will win the fight, but he is the greatest source of knowledge in the industry. It's funny: he'll be accused of being an apologist or hater of every fighter or promoter at some point in the comments, but I see it as a sign that he's doing his job effectively.

That he isn't scared to express precisely what he thinks or knows about a man and isn't afraid to state it bluntly. Fans may be very sensitive to unfavorable remarks about their favorite sportsmen, so trying to discredit a pundit by accusing them of being a "hater" is par for the course.

There will be people who despise your viewpoint if you are required to offer it for a long time. Rafael is also extremely educated about the boxing industry. He understands that Top Rank would never cooperate with Al Haymon and that a boxer tied to one network's exclusive agreement will not face a fighter signed to another network's exclusive arrangement.

That should be common sense, but it's astonishing how many people clamor for bouts that will never happen because of the economics and politics of boxing. Rafael saves us time by not doing it, which I appreciate.

HBO will no longer cover boxing after dropping its coverage of the sport at the end of 2018, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.
HBO will no longer cover boxing after dropping its coverage of the sport at the end of 2018, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.

Brian Kenny

His conversations with Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he was on ESPN back in the day are enough to place him on this list. Forget about Marcos Maidana's first fight. In the footage I showed above, Brian Kenny landed the most blows on Mayweather.

Despite Mayweather's assertion that "Brian Kenny knows nothing about boxing," Kenny often provides a good analysis on Showtime broadcasts and excels in the interviews he is required to do in between bouts.

I'm not sure how much play-by-play work Kenny has done in the past, but I'd love to see him take over as Showtime's ringside announcer from Mauro Ranallo. He understands his sport, has strong views that aren't swayed by boxing politics and delivers his analysis in a polished manner.

Brian Kenny is a studio host for MLB Network and a boxing play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports and DAZN.
Brian Kenny is a studio host for MLB Network and a boxing play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports and DAZN.

Max Kellerman

Although there seems to be a lot of love or hatred for Max Kellerman among boxing fans, I believe he is the greatest in-ring interviewer after about, and his work with HBO's Face Off series, which is used to promote events, is outstanding.

I don't always agree with his viewpoints most notably, that Guillermo Rigondeaux is entertaining but I like his willingness to express himself, and I nearly always find his remarks to be at least intriguing or thought-provoking.

It's impossible to persuade every fan to agree with your point of view on every issue, but if you can at least get everyone to think about the matter and consider another perspective, I believe you've done your job as a commentator. Kellerman consistently outperforms his peers in this area.

Max Kellerman (born August 6, 1973) is an American sports television personality and boxing commentator. He is currently the host of This Just In with Max HBO
Max Kellerman (born August 6, 1973) is an American sports television personality and boxing commentator. He is currently the host of This Just In with Max HBO

Paulie Malignaggi

Paulie Malignaggi is, in my opinion, the finest man in the industry in the past or current boxer-turned-analyst position that most big broadcasters use. Some people are turned off by Malignaggi's bravado as a boxer, but as a pundit, the same attitude makes him a highly interesting analyst. He's excellent at identifying ring tactics and laying down their strengths and flaws so that the ordinary fan can understand what's going on.

Because boxing isn't like baseball or basketball, where every child grew up playing and has a basic grasp of the strategy, breaking through that barrier and explaining things is crucial in a broadcast; Malignaggi shines in this area. The ability to take the complicated and make it appear simple to comprehend, like others, is a hallmark of his brilliance.

Paul "Paulie" Malignaggi is an American former professional boxer who competed from 2001 to 2017 and has since worked as a boxing commentator and analyst.
Paul "Paulie" Malignaggi is an American former professional boxer who competed from 2001 to 2017 and has since worked as a boxing commentator and analyst.

Jim Lampley

Jim Lampley isn't flawless, but he is without a doubt the greatest boxing announcer or pundit working today. Lampley's speech is slick, and his demeanor is laid-back, in stark contrast to his Showtime counterpart. Lampley, in addition to not exaggerating the hoopla, also understands when to interrupt and when to lay back and allow the action and the audience to speak for themselves; not many people can do that.

He appears to grasp, maybe better than most announcers, that we didn't turn on the TV to watch him; his job is to assist us in consuming the action. Lampley has been at or around the top for a long time and deserves to be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame at some point in the future.

 James Lampley (born April 8, 1949) is an American sportscaster, news anchor, film producer, and restaurant owner.
James Lampley (born April 8, 1949) is an American sportscaster, news anchor, film producer, and restaurant owner.

The Best HBO Boxing Documentaries To Watch In 2021

Boxing is now experiencing a resurgence. Boxing fans young and old are flocking to the sport's current rebirth, which includes everything from highly anticipated heavyweight fights to demonstrations of former foes to the wildly hyped celeb boxing.

Take note of what we term "latest," since boxing has already had many tremendous moments of glory over its long history. All of these events are accompanied by fantastic and inspirational tales of larger-than-life knockouts performed by larger-than-life men and women.

Finding the greatest boxing documentaries on streaming platforms might take all day, but this list should serve as a solid starting point. You'll discover more about the sport's most historic bouts, the biggest boxers, and the worldwide impact it has had since its inception by viewing these eye-opening documentaries.

I Am Duran

Roberto Duran is one of the most charismatic and innovative boxers of all time. The Panamanian's tale spans decades, with the pinnacle of his career culminating in his role as one of the revolution's sparkplugs. Mike Tyson, Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Sugar Ray Leonard, and others are among those interviewed in the film.

The story of four-time World Champion Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán.
The story of four-time World Champion Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán.

Unforgivable Blackness

Unforgivable Blackness, the tenth episode of Ken Burns' famous American Lives series, chronicles the rise and fall of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion. Johnson was born into a family of former slaves, and his career peaked during the Jim Crow era. It's the tale of a man's rise to power and his connection with some of America's worst moments.

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson: Directed by Ken Burns .
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson: Directed by Ken Burns .

Will HBO Bring Boxing Back?

HBO has no intention of broadcasting live boxing, according to Peter Nelson, the Executive Vice President of HBO Sports.

Does HBO Max Have Boxing?

Sorry, but HBO Now does not provide access to live Pay-Per-View boxing bouts via the application. Since the introduction of HBO Now in 2015, this has consistently been the case. HBO Now is not the best option if you want to watch an HBO Boxing event in real-time.

Why Did HBO Give Up Boxing?

Due to declining ratings, HBO announced on Thursday that it would no longer show live boxing beginning in 2019, ending a 45-year relationship with the sport. "Boxing has long been a part of our history," HBO Sports stated in a statement.

About The Authors

Amandeep Coleman

Amandeep Coleman - Amandeep had never known a moment when she wasn't reading or making up stories, having been born into a family of readers. She took out a pencil and notebook during the now-famous blizzard and started writing down one of those stories. It was there that I began my professional life. Her first book was written after several rejections and manuscripts. She is a member of many writers' organizations and has received several accolades from her peers and the publishing industry. The New Yorker recently dubbed her "America's favorite novelist".

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