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John O'Keefe
June 17, 2002
?Czyz Sizzles?Get Snapper?Absentee Calls
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June 17, 2002

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?Czyz Sizzles
?Get Snapper
?Absentee Calls

?Based on prefight projections, the Lewis-Tyson fight was on pace for 1.5 million pay-per-view buys. (Final numbers weren't available when SI went to press.) That number is close to alltime boxing bestseller Tyson-Holyfield II (1.99 million). The merger of HBO and Showtime broadcasters was also a success. HBO's Jim Lampley (blow-by-blow) and Jim Brown (host) and Showtime's Jim Gray (reporter) were solid while Showtime analyst Bobby Czyz was the definition of astute. In Round 2, for example, Czyz said that although Tyson's left jab wasn't connecting, he still had to follow it with a right to Lewis's body to have any chance to win. Tyson didn't heed Czyz's advice.

?If, as speculated, Bill Walton lands the lead analyst job on ESPN's NBA coverage next season, we urge the network to grab NBC straight man Steve (Snapper) Jones as well. Jones, the superego to Walton's id, challenges Walton to go beyond platitudes. Without Jones as a foil at Game I of the finals (Jones was at his daughter's high school graduation), Walton's cries, such as "that's terrible" were followed by little elaboration and fell flat.

?His U.S. boosterism at the World Cup has made us cringe, but at least ESPN's Jack Edwards reports on the local color at the matches. That's because he and Ty Keough are at the venues, unlike ESPN's three other announcing teams, who call games from network headquarters in Bristol, Conn. Those announcers rely on a video feed, and though they never say they're at the game, they also never say they aren't. ESPN paid nothing for the rights to the World Cup. Couldn't they afford to send one more team to Asia?