Everybody at Showtime, as well as boxing fans everywhere, wants to see "ShoBox" announcer Nick Charles healthy and back in his usual place at ringside as soon as possible. But while Charles is fighting his toughest battle against bladder cancer, Showtime has tapped Curt Menefee to fill in as the blow-by-blow announcer for the remaining "ShoBox" cards this year.
Menefee is best known for his role as the studio host for Fox's NFL coverage, in which he tries to keep control of Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Michael Strahan every Sunday.
He ought to have an easier time with far less zany boxing analysts Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver. (Although that Farhood can get a little out of control sometimes when taking viewers behind the numbers!)
Al Bernstein, the color analyst on "Showtime Championship Boxing," has filled in for Charles on recent "ShoBox" cards, but Menefee will take over with a tripleheader in Newkirk, Okla., Friday night (11 ET/PT). The card features super middleweight Allan Green against late substitute Tarvis Simms -- who replaced Victor Oganov, who has a shoulder injury, a few days ago -- welterweight Antwone Smith against Henry Crawford, and super middleweight Marcus Johnson taking on Victor Villereal.
"It's an honor to be offered this role and to join the Showtime sports family," Menefee said. "As a boxing fan, I feel as though I just scored a knockout victory. After watching the network for decades, I am honored to be a small part of the tireless and talented Showtime Sports team."
Although excited about the opportunity to call boxing, Menefee has Charles on his mind as well.
"I started as an intern at CNN in Atlanta in 1984 when Nick and Fred Hickman were the hosts," Menefee said. "It is difficult to hear what Nick is going through. I am pulling for him in this fight."
Menefee, whose role with Fox's football crew won't change, has some boxing experience: He has called three cards for the international feeds of Top Rank-promoted cards. And he's looking forward to working with Farhood.
"To have the opportunity to work on the 'ShoBox' series with a historian like Steve Farhood is like taking a master's degree course from the professor who wrote the textbook," he said. "I can't wait to get started."