One of boxing’s best proving grounds marks a landmark occasion Friday when Showtime airs the 200th edition of “ShoBox: The New Generation.”
Touting itself as a forum where top prospects step up to meet the most difficult fight of their young careers, “ShoBox” has helped launch 54 entrants to world titles, including Timothy Bradley, Paul Williams, Andre Ward, Shawn Porter, Guillermo Rigondeaux and the late Diego Corrales.
The series, and its philosophy, were created by Executive Producer Gordon Hall, who also serves as ShoBox matchmaker.
Color analyst Steve Farhood, former editor of the Ring magazine, has participated in every event, most with the late Nick Charles.
“It’s been the highlight of my career,” said Farhood, who also has a role on Showtime pay-per-view broadcasts. “It’s been a tremendous challenge to learn it coming from the print side, and tremendously satisfying to watch and broadcast.
“To see [Robert] Guerrero, Bradley and Ward later compete as the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world is gratifying. You don’t know show-to-show which prospect is going to bust and which one will make it. That’s part of what makes it so compelling.”
Friday’s 10 p.m. version, from Verona, N.Y., has four fights in which the boxers are a combined 115-5-1, including the 76th bout between two unbeatens on “ShoBox.”
The 13-year-old series has resulted in 120 fighters suffering their first career loss, including nine eventual world champions, including Guerrero (2005), Luis Collazo (2002) and Cornelius Bundrage (2005).
The series has aired fights in 68 cities and eight countries, with the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif., serving as the most frequent site (33 times).