Class of 2017: Steve Farhood

By Don Stradley

A RESPECTED VOICE


If you only know Steve Farhood from his regular appearances on “ShoBox: The Next Generation,” or perhaps as a ringside scorer on the Premier Boxing Champions series, you might be surprised to learn that his presence in boxing goes back to the late 1970s, when he started out as a journalist. And if you weren’t around during Farhood’s time at KO Magazine, you missed out on something special.

Most of the boxing coverage of that time was found in THE RING and several other magazines, plus the big-city newspapers. The Associated Press and United Press International covered the major fights, as did Sports Illustrated. With newsstands carrying, at times, half a dozen magazines, it seemed boxing was well-covered. But with the surprising success of the 1976 Olympic team, there appeared to be room for another publication. Stanley Weston, who already published several boxing magazines, launched KO in 1980 through London Publishing. It was slightly different in tone, with a slew of young writers contributing, including a Brooklyn guy named Steve Farhood.

Perhaps unwittingly, this staff of youngbloods was about to change the way things were done. KO seemed fresh and lively, the smirking, longhaired nephew of the older magazines on the market. It was soon outselling THE RING.

“I wasn’t a hardcore fan when I started writing about boxing in the late ’70s,” Farhood told THE RING. “So I had few preconceived notions about the sport. I was 21 years old, I had a journalism degree and I was happy to be writing about anything.”

The clip and photo files at the office fascinated Farhood. “It seemed boxing history was at my fingertips, and I was eager to learn.” Still, KO was rooted in the present, with a focus on new stars. The philosophy seemed to be one of fun, with a dash of cynicism.

According to Farhood, there was no deliberate attempt to distinguish himself from the older writers on the beat. “I don’t think [any] of us were trying to write differently from the established journalists. We were just being ourselves, and we had been given the opportunity to establish our own voices. I tried to take a somewhat irreverent and creative approach, and that hasn’t changed in 40 years.

“One thing that might’ve influenced our styles was that we were writing so many damn articles and columns – putting out several magazines per month, London Publishing was particularly prolific – so we were almost forced to at least occasionally think outside the box. And as both an editor and writer, I was always conscious of the fact that I was working for a magazine, and not a newspaper. To me, there was a huge difference.”

The years at KO led to Farhood’s lengthy term as editor of THE RING, plus stints on ESPN, CNN, the USA Network’s “Tuesday Night Fights,” Showtime and the PBC series. Considering he wasn’t a die-hard boxing fan when he started, Farhood has played an important part in how the sport was covered during the last four decades.

He’ll be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame this June as part of the Observer category. It’s a fitting accolade for a fine journalist, an astute analyst and one of boxing’s genuinely nice guys.


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