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The Hauser Report: The ESPY Awards and Boxing

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  • The Hauser Report: The ESPY Awards and Boxing

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    By Thomas Hauser

    The annual ESPY Awards are a celebration of sports and the role that they play in American society. Jim Valvano, who was dying of cancer, energized the first ESPYs telecast in 1993 with his powerful message, "Don't give up. Don't ever give up." The ESPYs have gotten bigger since then. They're now a mainstream cultural happening. But for knowledgeable boxing fans, their credibility just took a hit.

    The ESPYs are (in ESPN's words) about "celebrating major sports achievements, remembering unforgettable moments, and honoring the leading performers and performances" of the preceding twelve months. On June 28, ESPN announced the nominees for the 2022 ESPY awards. The winners will be revealed during a July 20 telecast. Most of the nominees were well-chosen. But the nominees for "best boxer" appear to have been chosen with an eye toward promoting fighters aligned with ESPN rather than "celebrating major sports achievements, remembering unforgettable moments, and honoring the leading performers and performances" of the past twelve months.

    The ESPY nominees for "best boxer" are Tyson Fury, Katie Taylor, Shakur Stevenson, and Mikaela Mayer. In other sports (such as soccer, basketball, golf, and tennis), the ESPYs have separate categories for male and female athletes. Rafael Nadal doesn't compete against Emma Raducanu at Wimbledon or in the ESPY balloting. So, it's unclear why Tyson Fury should compete against Katie Taylor.

    The ESPY's tilt toward boxers who are aligned with ESPN is more troubling. Fury and Taylor belong on the ballot. During the preceding year, Fury knocked out Deontay Wilder and Dillian Whyte, while Taylor decisioned Jennifer Han, Firuza Sharipova, and Amanda Serrano. The historic nature of Taylor-Serrano validates Katie's inclusion.

    But Stevenson and Mayer are a stretch. Both of them have promotional contracts with Top Rank which has an exclusive licensing agreement with ESPN. During the preceding year, Stevenson beat Jamel Herring and Oscar Valdez. Those were nice wins but hardly remarkable. Mayer's ESPY credentials are limited to decisions over Maiva Hamadouche and Jennifer Han.

    Why isn't Oleksandr Usyk (who dethroned Anthony Joshua) on the ballot? What about Terence Crawford (KO 10 over Shawn Porter) and Dmitry Bivol (whose victories included a unanimous-decision triumph over Canelo Alvarez)?

    Hint: Usyk and Bivol are currently aligned with DAZN. And Crawford has signaled his intention to leave Top-Rank-slash-ESPN to pursue a unification bout against Errol Spence on Showtime-PPV or Fox-PPV.

    If Netflix hosted the Oscars and stacked the ballot with Netflix programming, it would be comparable to the ESPY's handling of this year's "best boxer" award.

    When the ESPY nominations were announced, I reached out to ESPN for comment. Initially, I asked, "What is the process by which the four nominees for 'best boxer' were chosen?"

    Speaking on background, an ESPN publicist responded, "Nominees are chosen by a mix of ESPN editors, executives and show producers."

    “On background" means that a reporter may quote the source directly and may describe the source by his or her position but may not attribute the statements to the source by name.

    I followed up by asking, "How many people choose the nominees and what are the criteria for choosing them?" There was no response.

    I'm also curious to know the identity of the "editors, executives and show producers" who selected the ESPY nominees. Did knowledgeable ESPN boxing people like Tim Bradley and Mark Kriegel have a significant voice? I think not. Here, I should note that ESPN analyst Andre Ward is also knowledgeable about boxing. I omitted his name from this paragraph because, given Ward's ties to Shakur Stevenson, he probably shouldn't participate in the nominating process.

    In recent years, boxing fans have grown accustomed to boxing telecasts on all networks being as much about hype as honest commentary. The 2022 ESPY nominations for "best boxer" are about ESPN hyping its own fighters and advancing its own economic interests.

    Thomas Hauser's email address is His most recent book – Broken Dreams: Another Year Inside Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism. In 2019, he was selected for boxing's highest honor - induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

  • #2
    Once again (as is his wont), Hauser lashes out. Doesn't anything satisfy this guy? Sickening.


    • #3
      I explained what he does why he does it and how he does it on another thread on TSS.

      He will never turn that investigative lens on certain persons he gives a very questionable and transparent pass to. If they do wrong it is fluffed over or commented on briefly but without any of the verve he sends toward people who stand up to him.

      This was explained on the other thread. He shilled for another former Commissioner, his close friend knowing how bad the man was, he did the same pass overs for officials he likes personally involved in ring deaths, crippled boxers and embellishes hit pieces with gross exaggerations and malevolent intent.

      In my recent prelim bout where I admittingly took the blame for not stopping it sooner, I provided a referee point of view film that showed punches missing on the ropes where I was going to stop it anyway, additionally on a knockdown call the fighter took a right hand, staggered back and then the other boxer's body collided into him contributing to the fall to the canvas.

      The truth means nothing to him, if he has any chance to sink his poison fangs into someone the facts mean nothing to him.

      Just like his close friend Joe of the B.W.A..A., being provided with the proof his writing was wrong and exaggerated he ignores it and simply followed the crowd and continues on with all the poison he can spew with the real impetus with me being an old time grudge.

      His supporters do not care as he has not done it to them.

      Here are the missed punches and stoppage he tried to crucify me and the NYSAC with, despite my excellent referee record.

      Not one comment from him one week later in the same place on these punches. Think about that and go back and research what I mentioned in my other response on TSS to him passing over the crippling of a boxer in Yankee Stadium, ring death and his selective targets become more clear who has a pass and who does not.

      JUNE 18, 2022-No one jumped onto the ring apron for this at that moment and he took much more punishment until the 6th round.

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      • Kid Blast
        Kid Blast commented
        Editing a comment
        "Stevenson and Mayer are a stretch" HUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • #4
      I just read Hauser's Part 4 about the IBHOF inductions in RING MAG:

      In it, he does a major hit job on Floyd Mayweather Jr. no doubt to get even for the time Floyd had Hauser's credentials denied at one of his big fights. More toxic lashing out.

      He also describes Margaret Goodman's apparaerance as follows: "... I was seated between Bernard Hopkins and Margaret Goodman. Margaret is a sartorial wonder and her outfits had been carefully planned. On this occasion, she was wearing a vintage black Gianni Versace suit with a short skirt and black high-heeled Christian Louboutin shoes. Sunday at the parade, she would wear a gray Dolce & Gabanna suit with gray Gucci pumps. Then she’d change into a white Richard Tyler pants suit with beige Manolo Blahnik sandals for the induction ceremony."

      ​​​​​​​Manolo Blahnik sandals???????????????