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Steve Farhood: Showtime boxing is here to stay

Despite concerns over a slow year, the historian and analyst doesn’t see Showtime’s boxing brand going anywhere soon.

Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend of Champions Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Nature abhors a vacuum, but oh, how the internet loves one.

Hear silence, see an open spot, and they fill in the blanks on social media.

Often-times, the theorizing is of the negative variety, too. You could argue that’s simply human nature, to assume dark, even when you are working with limited information and details.

Such is the way of our world, and that dynamic pops up in the fight game all the time. For instance, there’s been pretty persistent chatter this year about Showtime. Short story, the cabler, after having a majestic upfront gala last year with a beefy schedule, hasn’t been near as busy this year. ShoBox and Shields fights, yes; an array of combat like we’d gotten used to, not as much.

I chatted with Showtime on-air vet, the historian Steve Farhood, to ask him if he could shed some light for me. Might Showtime follow in the footsteps of HBO, off the fight game stage?

”Showtime’s not going anywhere,” Farhood told me. “It’s committed to boxing as much as it’s ever been. If anything, the budget is bigger than it’s ever been. A lot of the budget for Showtime Sports goes to the internet, goes to streaming. We streamed well before there even was a DAZN. I did the fights. There’s a lot of shoulder programming on the SHO website and Facebook page.

“It’s not going anywhere, you’re gonna see big names like the Charlos, Gervonta Davis, and Leo Santa Cruz, and all these guys you’re familiar with from Showtime fighting again in 2020. And the fact that we haven’t done a Showtime Championship Boxing show since July worries some people and causes speculation.

“You know what? That’s not unusual, we’ve gone periods before of two, three months where there hasn’t been a show, and there will be at least two, three more Showtime Championship Boxing shows this year. So I can tell you, from talking to the guys at Showtime, it’s going nowhere.”

The New York native said that the landscape changes hard and fast in this game. DAZN, ESPN+, PBC on FOX, etc. It is natural to get some downtime, some dust settling for some of the older guard.

Speaking of being in the game, Showtime just today announced they will screen Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston, a Showtime Sports documentary film, premiering on Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

A glowering behemoth, Liston became the heavyweight champion of the world when he knocked out Floyd Patterson in 1962. Eight years later, his wife would find Liston dead in their Las Vegas home — was it a heroin overdose or was he hot-shot murdered?

(My part-take on that had been, when people said Liston would not have over-dosed, because he didn’t like needles, most needle-shooters didn’t grow up adoring needles, but it’s the most efficient way to get high.)

The doc features Mike Tyson, boxing historians Nigel Collins, Jerry Izenberg, Bob Lipsyte, Don Majeski, and Shaun Assael, who wrote “The Murder of Sonny Liston,” upon which this doc is based.

On Saturday, SHO didn’t feature Claressa Shields, who was supposed to headline, after a weigh-in incident saw her foe’s trainer get sucker punched and hospitalized, so her bout was scratched. But burgeoning star Jaron “Boots” Ennis did get time on the big stage. Also, Dec. 7, Jermall Charlo defends his WBC 160 belt against Dennis Hogan, from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Hey, things can and do change. But for the foreseeable future, Showtime Boxing will be around. And frankly, I’d guess they have a bounce-back 2020.

Follow Woods for news and boxing opinion on Twitter.

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