Archive for the ‘Boxing Journalism’ Category

What makes a good boxing commentator?

January 16, 2006


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.