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.

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]

About Phillip Bupp

News and soccer editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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