The boxing world lost one of its most beloved broadcasters with the untimely passing of Nick Charles on Saturday. Charles, who had battled bladder cancer since 2009, died at his home in Santa Fe, N.M., at age 64.
He is best known to the current generation of boxing fans as the blow-by-blow commentator for Showtime's ShoBox: The New Generation series, which he announced with partner Steve Farhood from 2001 through 2009, but he covered the legends of the sport — including Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, and his good friend Mike Tyson — as a CNN sports anchor.
Charles and broadcast partner Fred Hickman were the 24-hour news network's first sports anchors. The two covered the biggest sports events and stories of the 1980s and 1990s with CNN's popular "Sports Tonight" show, but boxing was always Charles' passion.
He worked international broadcasts and small pay-per-view shows, such as Top Rank's "Latin Fury" series, as well as his regular Showtime gig. Charles received the Sam Taub Award for excellence in broadcast journalism from the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2008.
“Nick's love for boxing, makes every show special," Farhood said when his friend and broadcast partner won the BWAA's prestigious lifetime achievement award. "He's the ultimate professional, and his enthusiasm never wanes. If you ask Nick, he'll tell you he's lucky to have boxing. But if you ask me, boxing is lucky to have Nick."
Truer words were never spoken. Boxing was lucky to have Charles. However, his passing is felt throughout sports and broadcast journalism.
“As a journalist and sports personality, Nick Charles helped put CNN on the map in its early days. He brought intelligence, style and heart to his work–qualities that translated to our company and inspired those of us who were fortunate to work alongside him," Jim Walton, the president of CNN Worldwide, said on Saturday. "His passing is a loss to CNN, to the sports world and to the fans and friends everywhere who were with him to the end of his extraordinary life. Like them, our thoughts today are of Nick and with his family.”
Charles is survived by his wife, Cory, of 13 years and their 5-year-old daughter, Giovanna. He has three children from two previous marriages: Jason, 39; Melissa, 36; and Katie, 24.