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Jim Lampley: Harold Lederman was ‘the greatest boxing fan of all time’

Lampley and Lederman worked together for decades, and Lampley says that Lederman’s legacy is easily secure.

Edison Miranda v Kelly Pavlik Getty
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Jim Lampley was a guest on At the Fights on SiriusXM to discuss his friend and colleague Harold Lederman, who passed away this weekend at age 79.

Lampley and Lederman worked together on HBO boxing broadcasts for three decades, and Lampley says that Lederman’s legacy with fight fans and the public and the sport of boxing is secure and easy to sum up.

“The greatest boxing fan of all time. What people most loved about him was his unbridled passion and love and spirit for the sport,” he said.

“He knew everybody in the arena who had anything to do with the fight. He knew every local governing body official, he knew every timekeeper, he knew every undercard referee. There was nobody of any operational significance in the sport whom Harold didn’t know. Within the boxing world, that I think is the most important part of his legacy.

“In terms of broadcasts, I have said this many times in private and for the last couple days I’ve had the opportunity to say it in public: that’s the most imitated voice since Howard Cosell. When I worked with Cosell back in the day, I used to say there are millions of people out there who do Cosell better than Cosell. Well for the last 15 or 20 years, there have been millions of people out there who do Harold even better than Harold.”

Lampley, of course, was the man on the other end of Lederman’s trademark, “OK, Jim!” when Harold would be introduced to share his unofficial score, and he notes the significant of those two little words for everyone.

“If you look at social media over the course of the past day or two since this news got out, ‘#OKJim’ is the overwhelmingly dominant symbol of what fans remember about him,” Lampley said.

“The irrepressible personality, it all blends together. What an amazing statement, I think, and I truly believe it’s true, that no sportscaster since Cosell has been imitated by the public as lethally and irrepressibly as Harold was. I don’t know who replaces that. That voice was unique.”

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