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Rumor: ESPN Reporter Dan Rafael in Talks with HBO Sports

Is HBO Sports about to make a major move in their boxing division?
Is HBO Sports about to make a major move in their boxing division?
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Rumors are swirling around that ESPN boxing reporter Dan Rafael has been in talks with HBO Sports to come on board in a matchmaker role, possibly replacing Kery Davis. FightHype's Ben Thompson talked about this yesterday:

"He's going to be the new matchmaker for HBO. He's already had a meeting with somebody and it's in the works. By the end of this year, Dan Rafael will be deciding which fights will be on HBO," one source revealed. ... "They're going to fire Kery Davis. They're going to let him go. He's been catering to Al Haymon too much and that's why they're in the position that they're in now. That's why they're talking to Dan," another source revealed.

Let me put this in bold, italicized letters so this is clear: This is only a rumor.

In fact, let me do this, too, because sometimes people have a hard time figuring out when things are rumors: RUMOR RUMOR RUMOR RUMOR THIS IS A RUMOR

And it's a pretty interesting rumor. Davis has been rumored to be on the hotseat for a while now, and with Showtime taking major measures this year to close the perceived gap between their boxing product and HBO's, it could just be a matter of someone needing to be blamed. But Davis' work as senior vice president of sports programming at HBO has been criticized fairly often in recent times, particularly in the last 18 months or so, by several in the boxing media.

As for Dan Rafael, if you're a boxing fan who reads about boxing online, you know Dan Rafael. He's arguably the most visible boxing writer in the world, as he's the lead man at ESPN, responsible for breaking a ton of news, and he has people who enjoy his work and people who don't. He is, I think it's fair to say, a pretty polarizing figure among hardcore boxing fans, but facts are facts, and he has put in the work as one of the most reliable reporters out there, no matter what you think of his opinions or alleged biases or whatever.

One of the criticisms about Davis has been that he's not "a boxing guy," and even though Rafael has been a boxing scribe for years, I'm sure he'd meet the same criticisms initially. Writers are writers; writers are not classified as "boxing guys" in most instances. That said, Ken Hershman and the Showtime team have done a pretty phenomenal job recently. Are they "boxing guys" by definition?

Even if this rumor does hold water, it could be months before we find out anything official. But for now, a simple question: Yea or Nay on this idea?

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