What makes a good boxing commentator?


Is there such a thing? Is it even important for boxing? Commentators like Howard Cosell were rare and unique. His combination of charisma and intelligence made him a rarity amongst commentators.

Aside from all of these great attributes Cosell had an amazing voice. A voice he used to deliver the events of the match with a sense of urgency that is not equally matched. You felt drawn to Cosell and the match at hand.

Although Cosell never participated inside of the ring, he will be remembered as one of the best commentators to ever sit at ringside.

Can anyone fill this void?

When we look at the commentators today, there is something lacking. Guys like Max Kellerman are enthusiastic and possess charm, but lack experience inside of the ring. This is evident when he tries to match wits with the experienced Teddy Atlas.

There have been many former boxers and trainers who have attempted to become journalist, but they often lack the skills to become effective commentators. They often come across as inarticulate and undereducated. Boxing has always had the stigma of brain damage attached to it. The last thing it needs are inarticulate athletes providing proof that the sport leads to inefficient speaking and thought.

Larry Merchant could have been the best commentator in professional boxing, but he lacks charisma and does not appear to enjoy the sport any longer. Jim Lampley has a great voice, but he clearly lacks experience as a boxing analyst.
If fact, the trio that consisted of Larry Merchant, Jim Lampley and George Foreman was probably one of the worst in sports history. Constant bickering and a clear lack or respect for one another was a terrible display of unprofessionalism.

So then, what make a good commentator? Education? Experience in the ring? Charisma? I would imagine that it would be a mixture of these qualities. At the top of my list are Steve Farhood and Al Berstein. The two of them create a synergy that concentrates on the positive aspects of boxing. This is exactly what boxing needs, Positive and clear representation.


9 Responses to “What makes a good boxing commentator?”

  1. Garry Nesbit Says:

    Who is this GASBAG Bob Sheriden the “Colonel” Does he ever shut up? I swear this jerk would read the phone book to hear himself. Non stop blab

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  4. curtis Says:

    I’m more apt to think that a strong general knowledge of the sport, blended with a smooth, confident delivery and an ability to ad lib and “read” the fight from a viewers point of view could make a great ring side announcer.

    Cosell never laced up a glove, but conveyedt an appreciation for the skill, guts and desire that pro fighters have to have to be winners. He was able to articulate that in such a way that the average viewer “felt” what he was saying…

    Jim Lampley is often too busy trying to get too much information into his pitch, and doesn’t exude confidence – his ad lib and re-cap skills are sorely lacking and he just doesn’t seem to provide good lead-ins and segues for his analysts, often having to repeat and rephrase the same question over and over again to garner even the most rudimentary response.

    I’ve often thought that the lack of strong on-air talent is one of the reasons that boxing TV revenue and pay-per-view matches are falling off in popularity – not that there isn’t plenty of guys (like me) that tune in and pay up anyway, but a dynamic, commited talent that could engage the average viewer would (or could) but some class back into a great sport.

  5. mo Says:

    How about Mayweather VS Mosley on 5/1

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  8. wardrobemalfunctions Says:

    Cosell was a great boxing announcer and a great football announcer. It really upsets me that people disparage him!

    To set the record straight, Howard Cosell DID NOT say “Look at that little monkey run” when he was referring to Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett. Cosell made this remark 11 years earlier in 1972 in reference to a play by Kansas City Chiefs Mike Adamle. It was 1983 on Monday Night Football when Cosell made his comment about Alvin Garrett which was “That little monkey gets loose doesn’t he.”

    I am still looking for a sound byte or video clip of Howard Cosell saying “Look at that little monkey run.” I hear that it might be contained in a Preseason 1972 K.C. Chiefs @ Giants 07/29/72 “Hall of Fame” Game. Can anyone locate the actual clip?

  9. mario krangle Says:

    Larry Merchant might be more effective announcing figure skating. His painful lurch to sound profound, his condescending tone and disdain for the sweet science hardly even qualifies to him to direct traffic. Larry is so lame, he doesn’t even qualify for a country song.

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