Steve Kim has been covering boxing for a long time. He is well known to fans as the voice from ringside at Thompson Boxing shows in Southern California, as a writer and feature reporter for MaxBoxing.com, the Undisputed Championship Network, The Ring magazine, and most recently on one of boxing’s premiere platforms, ESPN.
Kim’s no-nonsense approach to keeping it real on fighters and events, presented with an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport, all wrapped up in a great sense of humor in his delivery, makes him one of boxing’s very best, and most recognizable, on-screen and print personalities.
He is also the co-host of the massively popular “The 3 Knockdown Rule” podcast with his broadcast partner, actor and TV star, Mario Lopez. Recently the news broke that their podcast had been picked up by the Triller Network, a platform that has staged some interesting events in boxing.
Boxing has been in a bit of a flummox as of late due to the pandemic restrictions on travel, the precarious health of some fighters and the rules around large scale (in-person) events. The sport has been going through some trying times for fighters, fans and promoters during this pandemic season. However, one network that did pop up in the sport, in a big way, is the Triller Network. The company wasn’t shy about staging boxing events that featured internet personalities, long retired fighters, and just about anything else that might sell. While the entertainment box may have been checked, there were a lot of boxing purists who bristled at the events staged in the name of their sport. Conversely, for others, after seeing boxing shows being cancelled left and right, they were just happy to see anyone in the ring.
MaxBoxing caught up with Kim, from his home in Los Angeles, to get his comments on Triller and what this does for “The “3 Knockdown Rule”.
Bill Tibbs: Hi Steve, always good to chat. How are you?
Steve Kim: Mr. Tibbs. I am good. Let’s do this.
BT: Triller has certainly been making a name for itself as of late in boxing, with staging some unique events. How did “The 3 Knockdown Rule” land there?
SK: Our relationship goes all the way back to the Mike Tyson / Roy Jones Jr. exhibition fight. Triller had Mario (Lopez) on the broadcast, and they spoke to him about expanding his role with the company, he mentioned our podcast and it started to go from there. I think it is going to be a great fit. We had always talked about seeing if we could expand the reach of the podcast, where it could land to do that, and what that would look like. I think this is going to be a great fit.
BT: Did this transition happen quickly?
SK: Well, we have been going back and forth for months now because there are always a lot of logistics to work out, contracts, insurance, etc. Lots of things to discuss. It is a business, and that always takes a bit of time to get up and running.
BT: Triller has been a bit of an outlier in boxing in some ways, staging some bouts based on entertainment more than anything else. Are they expecting you and Mario to follow suit and focus more on entertainment first and boxing second? Was there a format agenda pushed at all?
SK: You know what Bill, do they want entertaining, and a bit edgy? Sure, that’s just good content. But, I think “The 3 Knockdown Rule” was all that anyway – great content, and a bit edgy, and lots of fun. This format doesn’t look a whole lot different. But, it is going to be the same boxing content but with great graphics, great video, great visuals. We want our audience to think, we want them to be very informed and we want them to be entertained. We want to be a bit edgy but not cross that line and that is the way we have always operated. Right from the beginning, we insisted on control of the content and Triller was very supportive of that.
BT: With you working off a Triller platform, if you are focusing content on an event on another network, aren’t you in some ways promoting the competition?
SK: You know what? If there is a fight card, if there are fighters, or an event, that is boxing news that week, we will be covering it. In terms of content and coverage, we aren’t tied to a network or a promoter and in that way we can always give that 360 degree coverage. Plus, it isn’t like the old ShowTime/HBO days. There are different networks doing their shows and I don’t know if Triller sees Fox, PBC, ESPN, DAZN, or whomever, as competition. They are doing their own shows and Triller is doing their own shows. Just different fights, different events, on different platforms.
BT: The premiere episode dropped this past Thursday, and it was fantastic. This is must see TV!
SK: Thanks. Yeah, I think it’s going to be great, and we are excited about it; lots of good boxing content and lots of fun. Constantino Garcia, our media director, is doing amazing work with the video clips and graphics. The show will be going on to YouTube 24 hours after it drops on Triller, so it’ll be out there for everyone to see.
BT: I have to ask you while I have you here. Manny Pacquiao, a guy you covered closely for the bulk of his career in the U.S., and knew well, just retired. Thoughts?
SK: Bill, just an incredible fighter. Really a transcending star that we won’t see again for a long, long time – if we see it again. He was the biggest fighter of his era, he carried the game for a time, his fights were global events. There were fighters who have had some regional popularity, even big in their country, but Manny was a global star. A lot of these young fighters coming up seem to have a sense of entitlement and don’t fight often enough, so I sure don’t see anyone who is going to come close to Manny popularity. His epic fights with the best of the best, many multiple times; Bill the guy was just incredible.
BT: Steve, always great to chat and am looking forward to the new “3 Knockdown Rule” on Triller. We’ll talk again soon.
SK: Happy to do it. Anytime Bill. Thank you.