Harold Lederman steps into the Doghouse - On Mayweather, Pacquiao, Alexander, Broner, Being a Boxing Judge & Much More!
By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (Feb 22, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Harold Lederman
As the "unofficial boxing judge," Harold Lederman has been the HBO voice of scoring at prize-fight cablecasts since 1986. In 33 years as a judge, Harold scored more than 100 world championship prizefights on six continents. He announced his retirement as an active judge on Dec. 23, 1999. At HBO, he has scored more than 1000 fights in his 26-year career on the air. Let's welcome Harold into the doghouse.

David Tyler - Before we get to Saturday's fights on HBO Boxing After Dark, when did you began providing unofficial scoring for HBO fights?

Harold Lederman - I started working with the HBO team in March 1986.

DT - All boxing fans know you are the unofficial judge for HBO World Championship Boxing, HBO Boxing After Dark, and HBO Pay Per View....how did you get the job?

HL - It was Ross Greenburg's idea (the executive producer of HBO Sports in 1986)...I spoke to him about my concern that the announcers did not know enough about scoring and the rules. We discussed the idea of having a former boxing judge to provide this insight to the viewers. Ross thought it was a good idea...I really didn't think much about it but a couple of weeks later he asked me to work a fight for HBO.

DT - Ross did some brilliant work with HBO and we wish him the best. Harold, who were your HBO colleagues when you first started?

HL - When I started the team was Barry Tompkins, Larry Merchant, and Sugar Ray Leonard.

DT - You have been the HBO unofficial judge for over 1000 fights. What are a few of the most memorable fights you worked?

HL - I've got to go with Trevor Berbick and Pinklon Thomas because it was my first fight. Of course none of us will ever forget Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler, one of the best. Next I would say the first Arturo Gatti / Micky Ward fight...a real good fight and a close one.

DT - How does someone become a boxing judge?

HL - The same way as officials in other sports, you start in the amateurs. For example...the baseball umpire starts in the minor leagues and works his way to the major leagues. I started the say way...I worked the amateur events, like the Golden Gloves, and other amateur events. I learned from other judges and after I had enough amateur fights on my resume....I started to judge the professional fights.

DT - What do you say to the MMA fan who complains he doesn't understand the scoring of professional boxing events?

HL - These fans need to watch more boxing on HBO...we try and provide "round by round" scoring of each round. Many times I will explain my justification for scoring a close round. If fans would keep score at home, they may understand the procedure better because they would be paying closer attention to each round.

DT - Good points....and then we have the complaints about scoring disparity among the three judges...

HL - The three judges should have similar scorecards at the end of the fight. If a round was very close...there could be slight differences between the judges. In most part the judge's scorecards are all very comparable for a fight.

DT - Can a judge licensed in New York score a contest in another state?

HL - We have seen that happen many times and we will this Saturday in St. Louis because Marcos Madiana does not want any judges from Missouri...the home state of Devon Alexander.

DT - Good lead in for this Saturday's, February 25th, HBO Boxing After Dark fights from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Let's start with Mr. Madiana and his bout with Devon Alexander.

HL - This should be a very interesting fight. Devon Alexander is a southpaw, good boxer, decent power, and he will have his home town fans behind him.

DT - Madiana is one of my favorite fighters because he comes to fight.

HL - Marcos Madiana is a vicious puncher, a brawler, and able to knock his opponent in any round. He became well known after a 6th round TKO over Victor Ortiz in June of 2009 on HBO. He was beaten by Amir Khan but fans remember that he almost knocked out Khan in the 11th round. He displayed tremendous heart and courage as he came back late in that fight. Many thought he would score a first round KO in his bout with Erik Morales on HBO...the fight help re-establish Morales as a star even though Madiana won the fight.

DT - This has the potential for a great fight...

HL - I agree, two fighters who claim to be the best welterweights out there...a great division that's loaded with great fighters...Tim Bradley, Amir Khan, Lamont Peterson, Erik Morales, Kendall Holt, and many others in that division. On HBO later this year we will be previewing one of the division's great young fighters, Danny Garcia who will take on Eric Morales.

DT - Another of my favorite fighters is Adrien Broner who is armed and dangerous. Your thoughts about Mr. Broner?

HL - Adrien Broner recently won the 130 pound championship on HBO against the Argentine fighter Vicente Rodriguez. Even though he holds the WBO championship, most fans recognize him as the Lightweight champion because the other champions both come from Japan and the other from Australia...these fighters have not had the exposure that Broner has enjoyed.

DT - Broner has had 22 fights and won 18 by knockout.

HL - He is undefeated, got good power, and a fighter that is fun to watch. The first time we saw him was in a fight with Daniel Ponce de Leon and he won by a close decision. At that time we didn't realize what kind of power he had.

DT - His opponent is Eloy Perez...who is also undefeated.

HL - Eloy Perez is a West Coast kid from Sacramento of Mexican descent. He has been saying that because he comes from a line of tough Mexican fighters, he will give Adrien Broner a tough time in this fight. He just might do that because he is a real, good boxer. He hasn't got a lot of knockouts but he has won his last two fights by knockouts.

DT - Sounds like Perez is willing to fight with Broner?

HL - Eloy Perez is saying that he has found some power and will stand in there with Broner. I like Adrein Broner...he has a lot of 'Mayweather Style' showmanship about him. He has a certain bravado, brashness, and is a very good all round fighter. You may have noticed that he brings his hair brush with him to the ring and has his dad brush his hair after the fight...he is very flamboyant about the outfits he wears into the ring...a real character. We are looking forward to watching him on Saturday night.

DT - Harold, we know that the two mega fights this summer will be on HBO PPV.
A quick thought about Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto?

HL - I know everyone will favor Mayweather in that fight...I think that Miguel Cotto will be very comfortable at 154 pounds. Cotto is a dangerous puncher with a great left hook to the body. He is not a shot fighter and has looked very good as a Junior Middleweight.

DT - I think Manny Pacquiao is taking a big risk by fighting Tim Bradley...your take on that fight?

HL - This is a very risky fight for Manny Pacquiao...Bradley fights the Evander Holyfield style...right handed but leans in with his head. Because of his style, we see a lot of head butts. There is always the chance you are going to get cut in a fight with Tim Bradley. He is aggressive, hits hard, and takes a good punch. He should put up a very good fight with Pacquiao.

DT - Harold, how is your fight with prostate cancer going?

HL - Very well, thank the Lord. I'm through with the radiation treatments and the Urologist says so far I doing okay. The doctors will know more around the end of March whether I am done or not...I am hoping for the best and remain in good spirits.

DT - Our thoughts and prayers are with you and we all look forward to hearing your work on many more fights for HBO.

HL - David, thank you and let's hope for a couple of great fights this Saturday on HBO's Boxing After Dark.

Readers: I am taking Broner and Madiana by knockout. Your thoughts?

***David Tyler replies to all his e-mails and loves to hear from the readers. Comments, Questions, Suggestions, E-mail David now at: dtyler53@cox.net

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