Stephen A. Smith / Brian Kenny / Charissa Thompson to Call Pacquiao-Vargas PPV
Sports commentating stars STEPHEN A. SMITH, BRIAN KENNY and CHARISSA THOMPSON will join former two-division and five-time world champion TIMOTHY “Desert Storm” BRADLEY as the ringside broadcast team for the MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO vs.. JESSIE VARGAS world welterweight championship fight which will take place Saturday, November 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The broadcast team will also feature TopRank.com’s CRYSTINA PONCHER who will be the telecast’s roving reporter. Featuring four world title fights, the Pacquiao vs. Vargas championship event will be produced and distributed live by Top Rank Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT, and will be available on all conventional platforms, including all major cable and satellite systems, as well as Top Rank’s digital distribution via www.TopRank.tv and mobile devices.
“We wanted to give the viewers a different perspective that informs and entertains and I think we have accomplished that with this fantastic team,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. “It’s a great combination with Brian, one of television’s top TV announcers, color commentary from Stephen A. and Charissa ‘s balanced hosting style. The expert analysis from Tim will round this out perfectly as he is considered one of the best fighters in the world and has secured victories against both Pacquiao and Vargas. We will expand the reach of this event beyond the boxing fan to an audience that has watched Stephen A., Brian and Charissa as regular fixtures in covering other major sports.”
“To say I’m incredibly excited would be an understatement,” said Smith. “Anyone who knows me knows I fell in love with boxing from the time I was three-years-old, when my Dad showed me Muhammad Ali beating Jerry Quarry in October 1970. Ever since that day, Boxing has been a passion of mine. But never — ever — in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d ever get a chance to actually call a fight. November 5 can’t get here soon enough.”
“I’m thrilled to once again call a Manny Pacquaio fight,” said Kenny. “Pacquaio remains one of the most exciting athletes in not just boxing, but in all of sports. After his win over Timothy Bradley, he is also still at the top of the incredibly competitive welterweight division. Jessie Vargas, coming off a tough win over the talented Sadam Ali, will present Pacquaio with a challenge that will test his world class talent.”
“I’m so excited to be a part of the Top Rank boxing telecast for Pacquiao vs. Vargas on November 5 from Las Vegas, and getting the opportunity to reunite with friends and former colleagues Stephen A. Smith and Brian Kenny is a bonus, said Thompson.”
“It is an honor to work in collaboration with such a respected crew on a historic night for Top Rank as they host their very own pay-per-view. I hope this is the first of many to come and look forward to seeing everyone on November 5, said Bradley.”
Smith, along with Max Kellerman, is a featured commentator on ESPN2’s First Take weekdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET, discussing and debating the sports topics of the day. He joined First Take on a permanent basis in 2012. In September 2014, Smith began hosting the daily Stephen A. Smith Show on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. The two-hour show is produced and broadcast from ESPN Audio’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn. From 2011 until 2014, Smith hosted a two-hour (1-3 p.m.), weekday local show on ESPN Radio 98.7FM in New York. For one year, starting in 2011, he also hosted a local show on ESPN LA 710AM in Los Angeles, covering both coasts. Smith made a variety of contributions to ESPN from 2003-08. Smith hosted The Stephen A. Smith Show on ESPN Radio from 2005-08. He was also the host of ESPN2’s Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith, a one-hour show featuring sports news, commentary on sports issues, and interviews, from 2005-07. Smith joined ESPN in 2003 as an analyst for the network’s NBA Shootaround (since renamed NBA Countdown) pregame show. He regularly appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, ESPN2’s First Take and as guest host of Pardon the Interruption and Jim Rome is Burning. Smith also hosted a morning show on Fox Sports Radio. Previously, Smith held several positions – most recently as a general sports columnist – during 16 years with the Philadelphia Inquirer (1994-2010).
Kenny is an MLB Network host, appearing across MLB Network’s studio programming, including MLB Now and MLB Tonight. On MLB Now, Kenny hosts a one-hour live daily panel discussion that covers breaking news and the most recent trends in the game with perspectives from baseball journalists, sabermetricians, broadcasters and current and former players and managers. Kenny joined MLB Network from ESPN, where he was anchor of the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, host of the Brian Kenny Show on ESPN Radio and Friday Night Fights on ESPN2. He previously served as an ESPN anchor for “Baseball Tonight,” receiving a Sports Emmy Award in 2003. Kenny called play-by-play for ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball and the World Baseball Classic, and hosted ESPN’s coverage of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, New York. Kenny was named “Media Personality of the Year” by SI.com in 2004, and in 2005 he was the recipient of the Sam Taub Award, given by the Boxing Writers Association of America to the Boxing Broadcaster of the Year. Kenny appeared as himself in the 2006 film, “Rocky Balboa,” and in the 2007 film, “Resurrecting the Champ.”
Thompson is co-host of FOX NFL Kickoff on Fox Sports, co-host of the entertainment news magazine Extra with Mario Lopez and a host of Netflix’s brand new competition show, Ultimate Beastmaster. Prior to her current role on Fox Sports, Thompson was the co-host of FS1’s Fox Sports Live since its inception in 2013. Previously,she worked at ESPN where she co-hosted ESPN2’s SportsNation along with Marcellus Wiley. Thompson had joined ESPN in September 2011 as the co-host of ESPN2’s Numbers Never Lie and, after frequent guest appearances on SportsNation, she moved in the permanent co-host role in June 2012. Prior to joining ESPN, Thompson covered the NHL for Versus from 2010-11, including the 2010 All-Star Game and Stanley Cup Finals.
Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs), from Palm Springs, Calif., is a former two-division world champion who has held a world title every year since 2008. One of boxing’s top pound for pound fighters, Bradley’s resume includes world championship victories over Pacquiao and Vargas. His welterweight championship reigns also included successful title defenses against former world champions Ruslan Provodnikov, which was selected as the Fight of the Year for 2013 by the Boxing Writers Association of America, Mexican icon Juan Manuel Márquez and Brandon Rios. As a junior welterweight champion he produced sensational victories over world champions Junior Witter, Devon Alexander Kendall Holt and Lamont Peterson while twice unifying the WBO and WBC titles.
The Pacquiao vs. Vargas pay-per-view telecast will also feature NONITO “The Filipino Flash” DONAIRE and ÓSCAR VALDEZ, WBO junior featherweight and featherweight champions, respectively, risking their crowns in mandatory title defenses against their respective No. 1 contenders JESSIE MAGDALENO and HIROSHIGE OSAWA. The pay-per-view telecast will open with Chinese Olympic icon ZOU SHIMING in a 12-round rumble with PRASITAK PAPOEM for the vacant WBO flyweight world title. This marks the first time Pacquiao and Donaire, the two biggest boxing stars to come out of the Philippines, have ever shared the same card.
The eight pay-per-view gladiators, representing six different countries, have a combined record of 243-15-8 (152 KOs) — a winning percentage of 91% with nearly 2/3 of those victories coming by way of knockout.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions and Wynn Las Vegas, remaining tickets to the Pacquiao vs. Vargas world championship event are priced at $1,000, $700, $500, $300, $100 and $50, not including applicable service fees. They may be purchased at the Thomas & Mack Center Box Office, online at http://www.unlvtickets.com/, at UNLVtickets Outlet Town Square Las Vegas and La Bonita Supermarkets. To charge by phone call 702-739-FANS (3267) or 866-388-FANS (3267).
For fight updates go to www.pacvargas.com and www.toprank.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/trboxing or facebook.com/trboxeo, and on Twitter at twitter.com/trboxing or twitter.com/trboxeo. Use the Hashtag #PacVargas to join the conversation on Twitter.