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
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
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
Jake Donovan is
the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational
Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox