ShoBox: The New Generation is led by, at left, Rick Phillips (director), Gordon Hall (executive producer) and Richard Gaughan (producer).
NEW YORK (July 14, 2011) – When Gordon Hall was selected 10 years ago to be the executive producer of a new boxing series on SHOWTIME dedicated to giving young prospects a place to display their skills and start what would ultimately become the first steps to winning a world title, there was no way he could envision the success the series would attain.
This week, the popular ShoBox: The New Generation celebrates its 10th anniversary on Friday, July 15, at 11:05 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) from Texas Station Gambling Hall & Casino in Las Vegas. Hall said he is excited for the fight-week festivities and the Top Rank-promoted doubleheader which will feature a night of junior lightweight action with undefeated Diego Magdaleno (19-0, 7 KOs) squaring off against Alejandro Perez (15-2-1, 10 KOs) and Casey Ramos (13-0, 4 KOs) taking on Georgi Kevlishvili (8-2, 3 KOs).
Hall knows the importance of a fighter getting the “ShoBox call” from him. “For young boxers, it's a good opportunity to be seen and be the focal point of the broadcast,” Hall said. “And because they are in step-up fights, it helps to develop their careers at a faster pace, which is good for them.”
Hall describes himself as a “casual” boxing fan in college, who became an educated fan after arriving to work at SHOWTIME in 1990.
“I knew a lot of the bigger names and would get together with friends to watch the big fights,” he said. “It wasn't until I worked as a Production Manager on NBC Sportsworld where we regularly showed boxing that I started to follow it more closely. Then when I started at Showtime, all we did was boxing, so it wasn't hard to become an educated fan.”
Hall answered six questions recently:
Question: Take us back to that first night of ShoBox in 2001. What was going through your mind when the ShoBox fighters were introduced for that first show?
Hall: “That was a long time ago and my memory is not what it used to be but obviously, there's a lot of time and effort put into launching a new series and this series was not one that focused on big name fighters or contenders. I just wanted to get across our definition and purpose of the series and the fighters’ stories. Then hopefully see some talented fighters, have some competitive fights. Though the fights could have been more competitive, we did get a look at Leonard Dorin, who became the first fighter to fight on ShoBox and go on to win a world title.”
Question: Did you envision ShoBox would be where it is today, stronger than it's ever been?
Hall: “I never really thought about it. I just always believed in the show and hoped what we were doing would help develop fighters, give them exposure, and help grow the sport.”
Question: This past weekend Rico Ramos became the 43rd ShoBox alum to win a world title. Did you think this many future world champs would emerge from the series?
Hall: “The 43 world champions is significant primarily because we have only had a little over 150 shows – that’s roughly one every fourth show. I didn't think about how many future titlists we would feature but I am pleased with what we have accomplished.”
Question: You watch a lot of undercard fights and a lot of tape of upcoming fighters. What do you look for in a potential ShoBox fighter?
Hall: “I generally look for a fighter who has had some amateur credentials as a lot of the fighters that fight on ShoBox don't have much pro experience. I'll review their pro records, speak with matchmakers and promoters about their development and try to get them to take the next step.”
Question: You must be proud when you look at a Top 10 pound-for-pound fighter like Andre Ward who displayed his skills early in his career on ShoBox. Did you think Andre was going to turn into such a special fighter watching him develop?
Hall: “Yes. Andre Ward is a source of pride for everyone at ShoBox because we feel like we essentially helped develop his career early on. Of course, Andre was well-known to some for winning an Olympic gold medal but we wanted him on ShoBox to let more fans get a look at him in the early stages of his pro career. After four ShoBox fights against not the best opposition, Ward proved he was a complete fighter – and not just a skilled fighter – against the rough-and-tumble Edison Miranda. That was a defining fight for him at the time and it let the public see that he wasn’t just a pretty fighter, but a legitimate Top 10 guy. One thing we’ve tried to do with this series is create an awareness and a familiarity with upcoming prospects who fans might be interested in following all the way to a possible shot at a world title. We’ve tried to bring guys back like Chris Avalos, Luis Franco and Lateef Kayode. Edwin Rodriguez and Shawn Porter are also guys who we feel have a good shot at becoming future world champions. That’s what ShoBox is all about.”
Question: What is your favorite ShoBox memory?
Hall: “We had a title fight on ShoBox between Tim Bradley and Junior Witter. Bradley had fought on ShoBox three times, never fought out of California and was in the top 10 and went to England to fight Witter for the title. Bradley was a big underdog but upset Witter for the title. We had a sense of accomplishment because Bradley developed on ShoBox and because of those opportunities we gave him, he was put in position to fight for the title.”
The 10th anniversary edition of ShoBox will be dedicated to the late Nick Charles. Curt Menefee will call the action alongside expert analyst Steve Farhood. Gordon Hall is the executive producer of ShoBox with Richard Gaughan producing the Rick Phillips directing.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?