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Former ESPN boxing insider Rafael updated his situation

Boxing News

Former ESPN boxing insider Rafael updated his situation

ESPN P.R. file photo

Former ESPN boxing insider Rafael updated his situation

Former ESPN boxing senior writer and insider, Dan Rafael, made his first public comments Wednesday, since his employer of the last 15 years decided not to renew his contract earlier this week.

Rafael put out a statement on social media acknowledging ESPN’s move and thanking everyone for all of their concerns:

The statement reads in part,

“I have been totally overwhelmed with calls, emails, texts and social media messages of support beyond what I could have possibly imagined. They have come from all around #boxing – fans, media colleagues, fighters, promoters, mangers, broadcast folks, you name it and I genuinely appreciate every single one of them…..Just like millions of others, I am going to be staying home for the next period of time, but I very much look forward to the next work adventure that will have me back covering boxing and sharing an arena with all of you, as soon as possible.”

As we wrote on Monday, it appeared the ESPN and Rafael had parted ways when he removed all mentions of the network from his social media bios.

Rafael has become ESPN’s biggest source of coverage of “The Sweet Science,” since 2005 and is one of the top two or three boxing insiders, who consistently had stories and information first for “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.” He was also recognized by the Boxing Writer’s Association of America with the Nat Fleischer Award for Career Excellence in Boxing Journalism in 2013.

His contract non-renewal timing matched up with Rafael and ESPN announcing back in April of 2018 that he had agreed to a multi-year extension to stay with them.

We talked more about Dan Rafael’s exit on the Big Fight Weekend podcast with featuring Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza and’s Sr. Writer, Marquis Johns here:

Rafael’s departure also aligned with a Monday report by Sports Business Daily on Monday morning that due to the Coronavirus pandemic, top ESPN on-air and online talent we’re being asked to voluntarily, for now, to take 15% pay cuts to try to help save lower-level employees from being furloughed or outright terminated.

Back to Rafael, ESPN had used him in the late 2000s and early 2010s on their televised boxing coverage, especially from huge pay-per-view events. However, he has been seen less and less on anything t.v. or online video in recent years.

Some of that naturally occurred, when the most popular and prominent division, the heavyweights, became dull and boring with no U.S. fighters contending, much less holding any of the titles. That’s until Alabama’s Deontay Wilder captured the WBC version in 2015 and went on to defended successfully 11 times, before losing to Tyson Fury earlier this year.

The interest in the U.S. in boxing had only begun to pick back up in recent years.

ESPN confirmed Rafael’s departure in a Monday statement.

“Dan Rafael has been an important part of our boxing coverage for almost two decades and we thank him for the many contributions he made to the coverage of the sport during that time. We wish him success in his next chapter.”

Now, we wait for that next chapter.

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A veteran broadcaster of over 25 years, T.J. has been a fight fan longer than that! He’s the host of the “Big Fight Weekend” podcast and will go “toe to toe” with anyone who thinks that Marvin Hagler beat Sugar Ray Leonard or that Tyson, Lennox Lewis or Deontay Wilder could have beaten Ali!

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