Veteran sportscaster Mauro Ranallo and boxing Hall of Famer Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson will join this Saturday’s Showtime Championship Boxing telecast, (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Ranallo will host the show and call the blow-by-blow action alongside Johnson and another Hall of Famer, Al Bernstein for Saturday’s bout between Olusegun Ajose and Lucas Matthysse plus the co-feature matching J’Leon Love and Ramon Valenzuela.
Known for his enthusiastic calls and knowledge of combat sports, Ranallo spent more than five years as lead play-by-play announcer for mixed martial arts (MMA) on Showtime.
A lifelong boxing fan, Ranallo is thrilled for the opportunity to join the recent Hall of Fame inductees at ringside. Ranallo said, “having covered combat sports for over two decades, I look forward to calling some of the best boxing action on the planet.
My first main event could redefine the Big Bang theory with one of the sport’s biggest punchers, Lucas Matthysse, looking to showcase his preternatural punching power. However, it won’t be easy against a slick technician such as the undefeated Olusegun Ajose.”
The first African American to win a flyweight and super flyweight world title, Johnson is, at the age of 40, the youngest boxer in history to get inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was also the first fighter born and raised in Washington, D.C., to enter the Hall.
A speedy, talented southpaw, who last fought in 2006, Johnson could box or brawl and was a fixture on pound-for-pound lists in late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Johnson and Bernstein were both members of the Hall’s 2012 class. “It is a great honor and privilege to join a network like Showtime, which has produced some of the greatest shows and memories in boxing history,” Johnson said. “I’m as excited to be a part of the world-class Showtime Championship Boxing team as I was when they first told me I would be finally getting my first world title shot after waiting three years for it. This is a dream come true for me. I’ve been studying and I’m ready to go. I look forward to bringing a unique insight. There are not too many places that you will be able to see and hear two Boxing Hall of Famers at once, so to be granted this opportunity and to work alongside Al Bernstein, whom I entered the Boxing Hall of Fame with this year, makes it that much sweeter.”
Johnson, a veteran of 50 fights, knows what both Ajose and Matthysse need to do if they want to walk out of the ring a world champion. “The fight between Olusegun Ajose and Lucas Matthysse is going to be very exciting,” Johnson said. “Although Matthysse feels like he didn’t close the gaps and could have possibly won those fights against Devon Alexander and Zab Judah, he came back with a great knockout against Humberto Soto this past June where he was able to use his strength and outwork him.
“Ajose is a guy who has 30 wins with 14 knockouts and no losses and is a surely a power puncher. However, we will see how well he adjusts outside of his comfort zone, the U.K. (United Kingdom) when he comes to the bright lights of Nevada against the experienced Matthysse. This will be the first time both of these guys get to be front and center as the main event .”