2006 Sam Taub Award
Excellence in Broadcast Journalism
By Steve Farhood
I saved Steve Albert's career.
Without me, Steve never makes 20 years as the voice of boxing on Showtime … never cements his status as one of the coolest, best-prepared, most professional fight broadcasters of all-time … never wins the Sam Taub Award for excellence in broadcast journalism.
But enough about Steve.
We were in Glasgow, two Steves from Brooklyn, calling Scott Harrison's featherweight title defense against Wayne McCullough. The night before, Steve broke off a piece of his front tooth on a bag of cookies.
"I looked like a castoff from the Jerry Springer show," he said.
Steve thought he took care of the potentially embarrassing problem with Elmer's glue, or something like that, but just after he asked me a question at the top of the show, the tooth again became unhinged. Sensing his distress, I extended my answer, giving Steve the extra time he needed to tongue the broken piece back into place.
By the time Steve turned to the camera, all was picture-perfect again.
The thanks I got? Steve gave me an autographed map of the New York City subway system.
Steve's career map includes stops in New York, New Orleans, Cleveland and the Bay Area. He has called play-by-play for teams in the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB. He's even worked for MTV. But his longest gig has been in boxing.
On Dec. 5, 1987, Steve worked the Evander Holyfield-Dwight Qawi rematch on Showtime, and he's been a ringside fixture since. In fact, he's outlasted his brothers Marv and Al, both of whom enjoyed lengthy runs as blow-by-blow announcers.
"When I first entered broadcasting, I never imagined that boxing would play such an integral role in my career," Steve said. "But it has truly been an incredible ride. The amazing experiences, the indelible memories, the lasting friendships, and the unbelievable loyalty shown by the people at Showtime have made it all very worthwhile.
"I still can't believe it's been 20 years at the same network."
Steve's run on Showtime has included the glorious (Corrales-Castillo I), the bizarre (Holyfield-Tyson II) and the tragic (Benn-McClellan). In 2000, he flew 20 hours to Guangzhou, China, for an Andrew Golota fight, only to learn that his father had died. He turned right around, boarded another plane, and made the 20-hour flight home.
Throughout thousands of fighter meetings and fights, hundreds of venues and a handful of broadcast partners, Steve has distinguished himself by keeping the focus where it belongs -- on the fight.
"My philosophy," Steve said, "is simple: be honest, objective, and unbiased. And if you make a mistake, know in your heart that it wasn't for lack of effort or hard work.
"Above all, pre-fight preparation is key."
Especially when it involves Elmer's glue.
Sam Taub Award
1982 -- Don Dunphy
1983 -- Gil Clancy
1984 -- John F.X. Condon
1985 -- Larry Merchant
1986 -- Tim Ryan
1987 -- Alex Wallau
1988 -- Al Bernstein
1989 -- Sam Rosen
1990 -- Ross Greenburg
1991 -- Reg Gutteridge
1992 -- Jim Lampley, Barry Tompkins
1993 -- Bob Yalen
1995 -- Al Albert, Sean O'Grady
1997 -- Dave Bontempo
1998 -- Bob Sheridan
2001 -- Teddy Atlas
2002 -- Steve Farhood
2003 -- Bernardo Osuna
2004 -- Brian Kenny
2005 -- Jay Larkin, Rich Marotta
2006 -- Steve Albert