By Jake Donovan
As fans thoroughly enjoyed the past year of boxing offered by Showtime in 2013, tonight will serve as the first chance to relive those moments.
SHOWTIME presents “Best of Showtime Boxing 2013,” a 25-minute special hosted by Paul Malignaggi. The distinction comes on the heels of the former two-division champ and current network analyst being honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America, earning the Sam Taub award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.
The outspoken Brooklynite will be joined on the show by broadcast teammates Mauro Ranallo, Al Bernstein, Steve Farhood and Brian Kenny. Also providing analysis will be ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr., also a BWAA honoree for the Marvin Kohn Good Guy award.
The network aired a similar special in early 2013, highlighting a breakthrough 2012 campaign that saw a major closing of the gap between Showtime and long-time industry leader HBO. The rivalry grew in 2013, with Showtime’s raising by more than 24 percent from the previous year and 64 percent overall since Stephen Espinoza assumed the reins of Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports just over two years ago.
Featured prominently among the segment will be the two biggest pay-per-view events of the year, both of which were headlined – and won – by pound-for-pound and box-office king Floyd Mayweather. His 12-round win over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez last September was by far the biggest event of 2013, and also the most lucrative boxing event in history, with its overall buy rate generating nearly $150 million in pay-per-view revenue.
Mayweather also scored a 12-round win over Robert Guerrero in May, with the two events combining for more than $200 million in pay-per-view sales.
The year that was for Showtime also featured some of the biggest upsets, all of which will be showcased on the special. Marcos Maidana ended the year with a bang, battering Adrien Broner for 12 rounds to hand the brash Ohioan his first loss, raising his own cult hero status to new heights in the process. An even greater shocker came four months prior, when former two-division champ Jhonny Gonzalez scored a 1st round knockout of Abner Mares, unbeaten and a champion in three weight classes heading into their August clash.
It was also the year in which Showtime and its chief content supplier, Golden Boy Promotions created a new batch of stars in and around the forever-lucrative welterweight division.
Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter both enjoyed breakout campaigns in 2013. Alvarez had the humiliating loss to Mayweather, but his fan support remains as strong as when he packed 40,000 fans into the Alamodomne for his career-best win over Austin Trout in April. Erislandy Lara found a variety of ways to win, rising towards the top of the 154 lb. division in the process.
Meanwhile, one division south of welterweight, unbeaten Danny Garcia proved his worth as the best 140 lb. fighter with a convincing win over Lucas Matthysse. The win served as the chief support on the Mayweather-Alvarez epic event in Las Vegas, coming five months after a gutsy 12-round win over Zab Judah on the road in Brooklyn.
Also of note was Showtime’s distinction for presenting on separate occasions perhaps the best tripleheader and quadruple header non-PPV events in televised history. A mid-July tripleheader featured 34 unforgettable rounds of action in San Antonio, the same location for Maidana’s win over Broner, which topped an unforgettable four-fight show in December to end the banner year.
A preview of what to expect tonight (Showtime, 8:30PM ET) can be found here: http://s.sho.com/1feZZ2n