UPDATE: Jim Lampley has released the following statement:
“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 December 8. Nothing was more important to the legacy of HBO Boxing, so in that we can all take solace. Now his scorecard is complete.”
When HBO left the live boxing game at the end of 2018, we lost the boxing programs that had given so many of us our start as fans of the sport, and the personalities that went along with those shows.
One of those personalities was Harold Lederman, the exuberant boxing judge who joined the HBO World Championship Boxing team in 1986 and was there until the very end, a 32-year run on our airwaves, sharing his scores, breaking down what he saw, bantering with Jim Lampley and all the rest.
Lederman passed away today at the age of 79 after a battle with cancer.
Harold was just one of the good guys of boxing, a jovial, engaging personality who truly loved the sport. In the latter years of boxing on HBO, he hosted fight previews as a series called “Hey Harold!” that the company put on YouTube. They were just always fun, he had the same passion then that he’d had for decades.
HBO released the following statement from executive vice president of HBO Sports Peter Nelson:
“Harold Lederman had a lifelong love affair with the sport of boxing. Over the past fifty 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.”
Friends, fans, and colleagues remember him on social media:
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
In the press room, I was asking Harold about Michele Piccirillo (for some reason). In that same Harold Lederman voice he used on the broadcasts, he said, “OK, Josh” and led right into his explanation. What a legend. He’ll be missed.— Josh Katzowitz (@joshkatzowitz) May 11, 2019
You’ll see and hear this a lot but no one loved boxing more than Harold Lederman. If there was a fight — big or small — Harold was there, seated ringside. Always got a thrill talking to him at HBO shows as a kid, right into my professional career. RIP to a true one of a kind.— Dan Canobbio (@DanCanobbio) May 11, 2019
RIP Harold Lederman. One of the 1st guys that befriended me in this business and and I am forever grateful that. A tremendous boxing person and better guy.— Marc Abrams (@MAbramsboxing) May 11, 2019
RIP to the great Harold Lederman, who died this morning after a long illness. pic.twitter.com/28saxsos5M— JSantoliquito (@JSantoliquito) May 11, 2019
Immensely sad to hear of the passing of my old friend and colleague Harold Lederman. Harold was one of the good guys: always had time for everyone, and absolutely loved to talk boxing. A truly kind, gentle soul. RIP.— Kieran Mulvaney (@kieranmulvaney) May 11, 2019
Harold Lederman . Condolences to the Lederman family.— Andre S.O.G. Ward (@andreward) May 11, 2019
RIP Harold Letterman. @shotfighter26 was passionate about the sport he loved, enjoyed it as a fan when he was not working and was as nice a person as I have met in the TV business. Will miss talking boxing with you Harold.— Bernardo Osuna (@osunaespn) May 11, 2019
Those of us at Bad Left Hook send our best wishes to Mr. Lederman’s loved ones.