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Shame on Showtime

Updated: October 25, 2007, 11:04 AM ET
By Dan Rafael
• Right now, Showtime disgusts me. I can't say it strongly enough. Boxing boss Ken Hershman and PR guy Chris DeBlasio know exactly how I feel because I told them this week. Now I'm telling you. Showtime, America's preposterously self-anointed No. 1 boxing network, should be ashamed of itself for promoting its Dec. 1 broadcast as a "triple world championship card." On the air, broadcaster Steve Albert recently referred to Antonio Tarver's headline bout against Danny Green as a world championship fight. At first, I thought maybe Albert had just made an honest mistake. Since then I have received the network's press release about the card, and it was no mistake. The release refers to Tarver as "light heavyweight champion" and describes him as "serving his fourth term as light heavyweight champion."

Excuse me while I puke. In what universe besides Showtime's Bizarro world and that of an insignificant sanctioning organization is Tarver the light heavyweight champion? It's bad enough we're stuck with the four more recognized/scandalous organizations, of which two will be represented in the other two bouts involving junior middleweight beltholder Vernon Forrest and flyweight titlist Nonito Donaire. But now Showtime is trying to foist another poisonous sanctioning body on us and I am just not going to take it anymore. Neither should you. I won't even bother to mention the initials of the particular sanctioning body involved because I don't want to give it any publicity, but to any reasonably knowledgeable boxing person, fight fan or media member, Tarver is in no way, shape or form a legitimate light heavyweight champion. No matter what Showtime says.

In a real championship fight, Tarver lost the legitimate title when he got his rear end battered for 12 rounds in June 2006 by Bernard Hopkins. In his comeback fight a year later, Tarver won a vacant trinket from an organization with virtually no meaningful recognition in a struggle against club fighter Elvir Muriqi. Doesn't Showtime realize that boxing is drowning in alphabet soup? Showtime should use its leverage in the industry to help fix the problems of the sport, not exacerbate them. HBO isn't perfect, but to the credit of its leaders, it has drawn the line when it comes to this kind of unacceptable alphabet chaos. It's time for Showtime to do the same and stop the madness.

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