World Boxing News can confirm a parting of ways between ESPN and Senior Boxing Writer Dan Rafael after a fifteen-year collaboration.
Rafael joined ESPN from USA Today in 2005. He quickly established himself as the top scribe at the company.
Sometimes polarizing fans and promoters, though, Rafael was never far away from controversy at times.
A long-running feud with Top Rank intensified when ESPN joined forces with Bob Arum’s company in conjunction with Disney.
It wasn’t confirmed when ESPN responded to WBN for comment on Monday.
“You are correct (Dan Rafael has left ESPN). His contract expired,” ESPN exclusively told World Boxing News. “Dan Rafael has been an important part of our boxing coverage for almost two decades.
“We thank him for the many contributions he made to the coverage of the sport during that time. We wish him success in his next chapter,” they added.
Signing a contract extension in 2016, it was thought Rafael and ESPN would be together for many more years to come.
“Dan is an award-winning boxing authority. One of the most respected and dedicated boxing writers in the industry. We are thrilled that he will continue to lead our efforts in this time-honored sport,” said Patrick Stiegman, vice president, and editorial director of ESPN Digital & Print Media, when they struck the deal.
“Whether he’s breaking news or covering big fights or driving the conversation through his reporting and commentary, Dan continues to distinguish himself among boxing journalists. We are proud that he will keep building on that legacy at ESPN.”
NAT FLEISCHER AWARD
Rafael, who won the Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism from the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2013, was beaming at the time.
“For the past 16 years, I have had the thrill of a lifetime to cover professional boxing. Including the past 11 for ESPN.
“I’m truly excited to do it for years to come for a great company. ESPN has a big commitment to boxing. I’m honored to be part of it. Along with my hard-working editors, I appreciate the resources we have been given.
“I am very thankful to John Kosner, Executive Vice President, ESPN Digital & Print Media. To Patrick Stiegman for the opportunity to keep doing what I love to do.”
Despite these kind words being exchanged, it’s the end for Rafael at ESPN at the age of 49.
Where the New Yorker goes from here is set to be revealed shortly.