Boxing fans concerned that BLK Prime spent their entire budget on Terence Crawford’s $10 Million guaranteed purse need not worry any longer. There’s still enough money in the budget for name-brand microphone stands. Specifically, boxing broadcast veterans Todd Grisham, Paulie Malignaggi, Antonio Tarver, and Zab Judah.
Grisham will handle play-by-play, a job he’s very familiar with from his regular role handling those duties for DAZN. He’s also hosted the studio side of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, and done live commentary for a wide variety of other combat sports and “sports entertainment.” Former champions Paulie Malignaggi and Antonio Tarver will serve as analysts alongside him.
Malignaggi was a two division world champion, and a generally well-liked analyst for Showtime until some controversial comments led to his removal. He’s done color commentary for a few non-Showtime broadcasts since then, including a Social Gloves show back in September.
Tarver was a light heavyweight champion, holding three different major belts a total of five times. He’s spent much of 2022 doing ringside analysis, podcasts, and additional presenting work for ProBox TV. Tarver and Malignaggi have worked together a bit on ProBox projects, so there should be a little more chemistry than a typical one-off special event with mix-and-match talent.
Zab Judah will provide “behind-the-scenes insight and backstage interviews.” Boxing fans will remember Judah as a two-division world champion, and former undisputed and LINEAL welterweight champion. True die-hard, watch everything boxing degenerates will recall his work as a television presenter for Celebrity Championship Boxing “Battle of the Stars” earlier this year on FITE TV.
Also on the broadcast team will be Cheyenne McCargo, described in the press release as “a popular YouTuber” who will will “offer the voice of the fans [...], scoring the undercard bouts.” I will confess that I am not very familiar with his work, other than watching a minute or two of him driving around while talking about Demetrius Andrade and testing out various pronunciations of the name “Chukhadzhian” earlier today. No word on whether he’ll provide his undercard scores while driving around the parking lot in a golf cart.
Boxing broadcasters usually get a public reception that ranges from indifferent tolerance at best to constant furious/snarky personal attacks at worst. But, it’s a tough gig, and the show suffers when it’s presented by on-air talent that not already experienced and proven on live boxing shows.
Even if Eddie Hearn is right about projected PPV buys, at least the presence of Grisham, Malignaggi, and Tarver should make a worthwhile show for those few thousand people.