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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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?