SAN DIEGO, Calif., May 14, 2020 – There is only one thing boxing fans love more than watching the action in the ring: talking about it.
Fortunately for everyone, there is a refuge for fans since the coronavirus pandemic putting a halt to live boxing worldwide. The plethora of boxing podcasts provides something of a substitute form of entertainment.
There’s a boxing podcast for every taste. Want to hear from knowledgeable veteran commentators? Or do you prefer a panel discussion trading differences of opinion? Perhaps you most enjoy interviews with fighters, trainers, and promoters.
We have our favorites in all these genres and a few more in between. Following is our highly subjective list of the best boxing podcasts delivering solid information and entertainment week after week.
Showtime Boxing might be a bit past its prime years, but its entry into the podcast world is among the best. Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney bring their HBO Boxing podcast over to a new home and listeners are the better for it. The show drops on schedule without fail on Mondays. It features a mix of interviews, reviews, and discussion between the hosts. Raskin and Mulvaney have worked together long enough to work seamlessly together even at distance. They needle each other just enough to be fun. They don’t overdo it with the war stories, and the cultural references give the show the right amount of spice. Who knew these guys love Beavis and Butthead until it came up?
No podcast delivers more New York attitude from the traditional Mecca of Boxing than Michael Woods’ TalkBox. It’s a tight hour right in your face with a mix of news, analysis, interviews, and pontification from the Straight Outta Brooklyn Woods. Woods has been covering boxing for 30 years after working for ESPN and RING Magazine, and his play by play chops make for solid listening from his current platform at NYFights.com. The show fires on all cylinders when Woods brings on guests like Lou DiBella or Shannon Briggs.
If you like getting your boxing from those who’ve been in the ring, The Punchline is your jam. Hosted by former champion Pavlik and trainer Dominguez, these two let listeners have it right between the eyes. Pavlik’s droll delivery is offset nicely by the bombastic Dominguez. The language isn’t for the squeamish and that’s the way a lot of us like it. The show features guests but you’ll want to stay for the segments when Pavlik and Dominguez chat with fans posing questions during the live broadcasts. My only complaint is that the show doesn’t appear on a regular schedule and not often enough. Come on guys, don’t make us wait so long for the next edition!
Chris Mannix might be the best writer on a boxing podcast, and that’s not a slam in any way. His performance skills support his interviewing skills, and he’s at his best doing interviews with guests. It’s a love-hate relationship though with his DAZN broadcast booth sidekick, former WBC light middleweight champion Sergio Mora. The two know how to push each other’s buttons. It can be fun but it can also be like listening to your married friends bickering. Suggestion: please get rid of the awful opening credits. The hideous “Boston bleeder” stuff is like nails on a chalkboard. I have to fast-forward for my own sanity.
This is a fairly new entry to the boxing podcast game with nine months in. Writers Lance Pugmire and Mike Coppinger of The Athletic put their impressive network of sources to good use, offering up newsmaking interviews, most recently with names like Roy Jones Jr., Lou DiBello, and Abel Sanchez. Coppinger can push the questioning a little too hard when he thinks he’s onto something. It might work when he’s writing a story, but on a podcast it can be way too much.
Michael Montero doesn’t give a damn who he ticks off. It’s hard to overstate how important this quality is for a podcaster and his or her audience. Montero’s acting chops and color commentary gigs come into play along with his credentials writing for RING Magazine and the soon to be late Boxing Monthly, making for an enjoyable listening (and YouTube viewing) experience. Montero doesn’t shy away from talking about boxing’s business underbelly. His weekly show has offered more interviews since the action stopped, but the best moments come when Montero goes on a well-reasoned rant. Full disclosure: I’ve appeared as a guest on TNC, but I’ll say yes to just about any interview.
Teddy Atlas can be an acquired taste to be sure. But there’s no denying the insight from the Hall of Fame commentator and trainer of numerous world champions over the years. Paired on this podcast with co-host Ken Rideout to keep him in check, it’s always worth a listen. When Teddy’s mind and narrative start wandering, take a break and come on back, it’s worth hanging in there for the moments when Atlas plays pugilistic philosopher and puts it all together. And who doesn’t need a We Are Firemen pep talk once in a while?
When you just want to kick back and talk boxing with a few of your pals, The Boxing Rant is the podcast you want. Kenny Keith and Vince Cummings have been delivering their show longer than most of the guys in the game, and they deliver hard-hitting commentary with chemistry. These guys have opinions and you’re going to hear them whether you like it or not.
This is the boxing podcast we all needed and didn’t know it. Hall of Fame analyst, author, speaker, and jazz singer Bernstein delivers a smooth as silk discussion. Bernstein is one of the boxing’s best interviewers and it’s a joy to hear him discuss boxing past and present with athletes, promoters, and boxing media in a longer format, aided by co-host Trip Mitchell. The show is only four episodes in and should only improve as it hits its stride. Let’s hope it continues on after action resumes. But please, send an audio engineer over to Al’s house to improve his sound quality.
Hosted by Steve Kim of ESPN and his buddy, actor/TV host Mario Lopez, this is the energy drink of boxing podcasts. These guys get right to the point, thank goodness. Built around the concept of three topics per episode, the podcast rolls along at a breakneck pace of conversation. Kim and Lopez don’t always restrict the discussion to boxing, and right now it’s a plus. The show never slows down and never overstays itself. Other podcasts that drag on toward the two-hour mark need to listen, learn, and tighten up.
Now all we’re lacking is for a few of the hosts to dish out some real fisticuffs and come to blows during their show. Chris Mannix and James Dominguez, you two need to look sharp and not get Sergio or Kelly too ticked off.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media at@PRProSanDiego.
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