- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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HBO on Tuesday made a major change to its "Boxing After Dark" broadcast team, announcing that Bob Papa will join the series effective March 24 to handle ringside blow-by-blow duties.
Papa replaces Fran Charles, whose commitment as a studio host at the NFL Network was causing numerous scheduling conflicts with his HBO schedule.
Max Kellerman and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis will remain in their analyst roles. The trio's first show together will come March 24, when HBO will be in Copenhagen, Denmark, to cover unified super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler's defense against Librado Andrade.
"Bob Papa is a perfect fit for HBO," said Rick Bernstein, HBO Sports' executive producer. "He has a strong knowledge of the sweet science and is an accomplished broadcaster. We're excited to team him with Max Kellerman and Lennox Lewis on the 'Boxing After Dark' franchise."
Papa is known to boxing fans. He was the blow-by-blow announcer for eight years on ESPN and ESPN2 and has been in the same role for Versus' "Fight Night Series" for the past year.
Papa, a 1986 Fordham University graduate, is also the radio voice of the New York Giants and on Sirius Satellite Radio's NFL channel.
Papa's mentor, late New York broadcasting legend Marty Glickman, served as HBO's first-ever director of sports programming in the 1970s.
Charles' second stint with HBO comes to an end 11 months into a two-year contract. Charles also served as the blow-by-blow announcer for HBO's short-lived boxing series "KO Nation" that ran 2000-2001.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.
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