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First Take host Max Kellerman has signed a multiyear extension with ESPN that includes an expanded role in the network’s boxing coverage.
The deal — announced Saturday during ESPN’s live coverage of the Vasily Lomanchenko-Jose Pedraza fight from the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York — includes a prominent role in ESPN’s boxing coverage, as well as a weekly boxing show on one of ESPN’s linear networks. Kellerman will continue to co-host First Take with Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim.
Kellerman has a long association with boxing; his entree into sports broadcasting was via a local-access boxing show in New York. He has been a color commentator for HBO Championship Boxing and Boxing After Dark. He also is an analyst on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights program.
There has been much speculation about Kellerman’s role in ESPN’s boxing coverage, since HBO announced in August that it was getting out of the boxing business after 45 years of covering the sport. ESPN, meanwhile, has expanded its portfolio in boxing and MMA, including a seven-year deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing. The pact, which was signed in August, replaced an existing deal that began in 2017. The new agreement runs through 2025 and includes 54 live boxing events annually, as well as shoulder programming, fights from Top Rank’s library and studio content.
Kellerman will preside over the network’s top boxing matches from the broadcast desk position in the arena, rather than from ringside.
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