One of the people most synonymous with boxing on HBO has died. Harold Lederman, the boxing judge and unofficial scorer for HBO’s broadcasts died at 79 after a hard fought battle with cancer.
Lederman began his boxing career as a ringside judge back in the 60s. In addition to being a licensed pharmacist, Lederman judged fights for over 30 years, retiring in 1999. While he was a judge, Lederman began working with HBO as an analyst in 1986 and when he retired as a judge, Lederman became HBO’s unofficial judge and kept viewers aware of how the fight was going by putting himself in the shoes of the judges.
Lederman’s infectious enthusiasm and intricate knowledge of the rules made him a natural on TV. Due to his accomplishments both as a judge and on the mic, Lederman was inducted to the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016.
The boxing and sports community reached out with condolences for someone who was a pillar of the boxing world.
Extremely sad day in #boxing as Harold Lederman has died at age 79. A great friend to everyone in the sport. I have many memories of our many discussions over the past two decades. He was the most genuine person I ever met in this sport. #RIP
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) May 11, 2019
The WBO family is deeply saddened by the death of Harold Lederman. Mr. Lederman was an outstanding judge and a true lover of the sport. He was integral in the growth of the WBO. Our condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/cI2iPC0mlt
— WBO (@WorldBoxingOrg) May 11, 2019
One thing I'm truly grateful for is that Harold Lederman was inducted into the @BoxingHall in 2016 before he passed away and was able to revel in that tremendous honor. If they had a Hall of Fame for nice, genuine people, he'd be in that, too.
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) May 11, 2019
Just learned that my friend of 30 years, Harold Lederman, has succumbed to the cancer he fought so hard. @shotfighter26 was one of a kind & there will never be another. He loved #boxing, fighters and his family unconditionally. He lived his life on his terms. Godspeed. #RIPHarold
— Lou DiBella (@loudibella) May 11, 2019
RIP Harold Lederman 🙏🏼 Thank you for always being so kind to me and for your grand contribution to the sport we love so much
— Crystina Poncher (@CrystinaPoncher) May 11, 2019
Just heard the sad news about one of the happiest and nicest people I know. Harold Lederman good man, unanimous decision.
— Teddy Atlas (@TeddyAtlasReal) May 11, 2019
Rest in peace, Harold Lederman, a boxing icon and one of the sports most decent people. For decades, Lederman was a fixture at shows ringside, big and small. And would talk boxing with anyone.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) May 11, 2019
I am very sorry to learn of Harold Lederman passing away. A passionate boxing man, a boxing judge and unofficial judge for HBO for many years. Our prayers for Eileen and Julie in this moments . Let’s celebrate his life , May he Rest In Peace pic.twitter.com/4foWHl5ZZ3
— Mauricio Sulaiman (@wbcmoro) May 11, 2019
In a statement, Lederman’s HBO boxing partner Jim Lampley said about his passing, “It was one of the greatest privileges of my broadcasting career to work with Harold Lederman, whose unique humanity and lifelong love of boxing brought joy to the hearts of millions of fans, show after show after show. They waited for his moments, they were thrilled by his insights, they gloried in imitating his voice. No one in the sport had more friends, because no one in the sport was more deserving of friends.”
“As deeply saddened as I am by his passing, I am equally deeply joyful that he made it to the final bell on Dec. 8. Nothing was more important to the legacy of HBO Boxing, so in that we can all take solace. Now his scorecard is complete.”
Executive VP of HBO Sports Peter Nelson said, “Harold Lederman had a lifelong love affair with the sport of boxing. Over the past 50 years he was universally respected and celebrated by the many people who make the sport what it is. Harold was happiest when seated ringside, studying the action and scoring the fight. When he joined HBO Sports in 1986 he added a new and critical component to live boxing coverage. Viewers embraced his unique style and his command of the rules while his broadcast colleagues relished his enthusiasm and boundless energy.”
“He was an historian and walking rulebook. He always had time for you whether you were a heavyweight champion or just a spectator looking to say hello. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Eileen, and daughters Julie and Iris. There isn’t a person in the sport who won’t miss our Harold Lederman.”
Many times, Lederman’s scorecard would be more accurate than the actual judges and it’s an unanimous decision from everyone that we have lost a giant in the industry.
[Photo: Pat Orr and Jeff Julian]