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Showtime dumps Malignaggi after controversial comments

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Showtime dumps Malignaggi after controversial comments

Showtime Sports file photo

Showtime dumps Malignaggi after controversial comments

The long-anticipated return of televised boxing to Showtime premium cable in the U.S. Saturday night will be minus a familiar face/voice to their broadcasts. This after it’s been learned that the network has dumped former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi, as an analyst during the four month hiatus from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Keith Idec, senior writer from Boxingscene.com, had the news first Thursday afternoon that Showtime has deleted Malignaggi, who’s been calling fights for the network since 2012:

Although the 39 year old Malignaggi could not be reached for comment, Idec reported that Showtime had been negotiating a public apology from the former fighter about April comments he made to IFL TV. That was regarding racist comments he made about white European fighters, and WBC Lightweight champion, Devin Haney, who is black.

Malignaggi gave extensive comments for several minutes on why Haney didn’t stack up the to the Europeans and repeatedly used race in his reasoning.

Idec learned the two sides could not agree on how Malignaggi would apologize for that guest appearance on IFL and Showtime has decided to move on and work out severance terms for the remaining time on his broadcasting contract.

Showtime confirmed later Thursday evening that Malignaggi was off their broadcasts.

Then on Thursday night, it was revealed by Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, that the network will utilize former three division world champion, Abner Mares, on the play by play call of its resuming broadcasts Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.

Showtime confirmed Mares’ involvement Friday afternoon and he stated in their release,

“As a fighter, I’ve had memorable fights on SHOWTIME, including earning my fourth world title belt against Jesus Cuellar,” said Mares. “It’s an honor to call the action for fans from the other side of the ring.

As an active fighter, I’m looking forward to being part of the return of world championship boxing as a member of the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING team, especially calling the two important 122-pound fights, a division I know a lot about.” 

The 34 year old Mares has previously done analyst broadcast work on pre and post fight PBC fight shows and was also a regular analyst on the now-canceled “Inside PBC Boxing” show that aired regularly on Fox Sports and FS1 cable.

Showtime will apparently have play-by-play man Mauro Ranallo, Hall of Fame analyst, Al Bernstein, and Mares on site at the Mohegan Sun, with no fans allowed on Saturday night. This follows what DAZN streaming service did with their live broadcast crew last Friday Night in Indio, CA, in their first live broadcast in four months.

ESPN has utilized its broadcasters from remote locations, while doing live play-by-play of the Top Rank Boxing cards at the MGM Grande “bubble” that they created.

Back to Malignaggi, he has frequently been involved in controversies, including his criticism of former WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder. Wilder tried to have Malignaggi removed off the play-by-play call of his May 2019, one round destruction of Dominic Breazeale.

The network refused Wilder’s request and Malignaggi called the fight.

Malignaggi also has previously worked with Sky Sports in the U.K. particularly on their live broadcasts of prominent Pay-Per-View fights in the United States.

This included Malignaggi being on the call with play by play man, Adam Smith, for Andy Ruiz’s shocking 7th round TKO of Unified Heavyweight champ, Anthony Joshua, at Madison Square Garden in June of 2019. He also most recently with Sky on their broadcast of Tyson Fury’s 7th round TKO over Wilder in Las Vegas in February.

T J Rives

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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