Posts Tagged ‘Jim Lampley’

BANG! Jim Lampley Resigns with HBO for Multi-Year Deal

Posted: October 9, 2017 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Fight News
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Four-time Sports Emmy winner Jim Lampley will continue his tenure as HBO’s lead boxing voice with the network announcing a new multi-year deal with the veteran broadcaster.

The news was confirmed today via Peter Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports.

“For nearly three decades, Jim has been the most prominent television voice in boxing,” said Nelson. “His work is universally recognized as the standard in the sport and we are thrilled to know he will continue in this high visibility role for years to come. Jim’s high journalistic standards, historical knowledge of the sport and enthusiasm for sharing the backstories of the fighters who enter the ring enriches the broadcast experience for the HBO audience.”

Lampley, who called his first HBO bout in 1988 when Mike Tyson faced Tony Tubbs, has been the dramatic voice that’s accompanied some of boxing’s seminal moments, including Gatti-Ward I, Foreman-Moorer and Pacquiao-Marquev IV.

“I’m very lucky to have spent nearly three decades working in HBO’s unique culture, and grateful for the chance to keep doing it,” said Lampley in a prepared statement.  “It’s always been my natural home.”

Under the new deal, Lampley’s will continues his duties doing play-by-play for World Championship Boxing, Boxing After Dark, HBO Pay-Per-View, and The Fight Game.


As much as we joke about Jim’s excitement and catchphrases coming from phantom punches, the man knows how to add to the drama of a fight. Many of us were raised on his commentary and I welcome having him around a few more years. There’s no one else left that has his flair and we’ll definitely miss him when he decides to hang up the mic. Until then, let’s enjoy the HARD RIGHT HANDs! and BANGs! while we can.


What was supposed to be a showcase bout for Zab Judah nearly turned into a coming out party for Lucas Matthysse, who dropped the Brooklyn fighter and lost an extremely close split decision last Saturday (November 6).

Judah had a hometown advantage of sorts fighting in Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center, the site of his last fight and KO victory over Jose Armando Santa Cruz. But through the first five rounds, Judah had boos rained on him for failing to open up against an opponent viewed as out of his league. The former welterweight champion was content to work the jab and sparingly throw his quick straight left. He was controlling the majority of the rounds, but Matthysse made it competitive by focusing his hooks to the body.

Matthysse began to pick up the pace in round six. His corner wanted him to throw Zab off early by boxing. Now, the young fighter was outworking Judah behind lead hooks to the head and body. Zab tried to reassert himself with short flurries in round seven, but Matthysse was active enough to prevent him from stealing it.

In round eight, Judah backed off Matthysse’s momentum by landing several sharp straights left. But in the ninth, Matthysse came right back by catching Judah with clean right hands. That punch would nearly spell disaster for Judah’s career in the very next round.

In round 10, Lucas Matthysse timed a right hook through a backpedaling Judah’s gloves. The shot took out Judah’s balance, and he cowered to his knees as Matthysse pressed for a follow up.

Here, Judah’s experience paid off. Despite being caught with another hard shot, this time a left hook, Zab Judah was able to hold for the majority of the round. The young Matthysse was too overzealous looking for the KO, and Zab used that to slip punches and tie him up to survive.

The danger remained heightened in the 11th. Matthysse had no respect for Judah’s power, and pressed him the entire round. Anytime Judah tried to stand his ground and trade, he got the worst of it, usually in the form of a right hand to the face.

To his credit, Zab Judah closed strong in the 12th. He moved well and kept Matthysse on the end of his jab. When Matthysse got close, he was clinched before he could launch any significant offense. Both flurried at the end, but it was Judah who controlled the round.

Final scorecard for the bout were razor-thin, awarding Zab Judah the win by split decision: 114-113 Matthysse, and 114-113 twice for Judah.

The match was a title eliminator  for the IBF and WBO belts respectively held by Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley. But considering Judah’s difficulty with a fighter he was supposed to soundly beat, it’s likely he’ll face at least one more tuneup before challenging for a belt.

One the undercard, Robert Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 KOs) proved too strong and skilled for a game Vicente Escobedo (22-3, 14 KOs). Guerrero scored two knockdowns (rounds three and six), and won a unanimous decision by scores of 100-90, 98-90, and 96-92.


Zab Judah better be thankful Larry Merchant wasn’t in the booth on Saturday. The team of Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman, and Roy Jones did their best to hype up Judah’s performance. They tried to emphasize that Judah was a totally different fighter at 140 instead of 147. What I viewed, and what Larry Merchant would’ve verified, was the same old Zab Judah.

I like Judah, but I know what would happen if he gets fed to any of the 140 beltholders: Amir Khan, Devon Alexander, or Timothy Bradley. Notice I said “fed,” because that’s exactly what it would be, a massacre. Those young guns would have run last Saturday’s Zab Judah out of the ring. I know Kathy Duva, who now promotes Judah under Main Events, saw the same thing and won’t put her fighter anywhere near those guys in the immediate future.

I’ve accepted Judah’s limitations long ago. I hope he can put together a decent win streak, and cash out with one of the title holders by mid or late 2011.

“Atrocious…this decision sucks!” HBO commentator Jim Lampley

Neither Shane Mosley nor Sergio Mora did much to further their careers last night (September 18), as both men waltzed to a dubious draw in their PPV feature match.

From the start, the 39-year-old Mosley was the aggressor against an opponent eight years his junior. Mora was overly cautious of Mosley’s power and refused to engage at all in the opening three rounds. In the second, Mora even went into full retreat and forced Mosley to literally chase him across the ring to engage. Although he carried these rounds, Mosley’s proved to be ineffective in landing any damaging shots and allowed himself to be clinched up close.

An accidental clash of heads opened a cut above Mora’s right eye in round four. The sight of his own blood seemed to briefly awaken the Latin Snake, as Mora caught Mosley clean with a right hand to the head. Unfortunately, Mora would again lapse into a backpedaling routine in the next few rounds, which elicited loud boos from the crowd.

Mosley trainer Naazim Richardson was not going to let his charge off the hook even though it appeared he was well ahead. Richardson implored Sugar Shane to stop allowing himself to be easily clinched on the ropes, and to unleash his signature body punching down the stretch.

“I seen you do the work, I know you’re in shape,” Naazim pleaded with Mosley. “You’re letting him off the hook when you get him on the ropes. That ain’t you. He needs to be paying a price for that.”

Mora would not make a stand until the 11th and 12th rounds. There, Mora did what you would have expected him to do as a Mexican-American fighting on a card celebrating Mexican Independence Day. He exchanged hooks on the inside with Mosley and refused to give ground. Mosley returned in kind. The fighting woke up the crowd, although neither man seriously hurt the other.

The verdict appeared to be foregone conclusion due to Mosley’s aggression and how he outlanded Mora in every round. But amazingly, the judges had the bout 115-113 Mora, 116-112 Mosley, and 114-114 to render the split decision draw.

Mosley admitted he had a lot of difficulty due to Mora’s size, and he hopes to get a fighter closer to his stature like Miguel Cotto in his next bout.

“It would have been different if I was fighting someone my height and weight,” Mosley explained. “Mora moved, ran away, rested and held. There were lots of head butts and that effected me.He was moving too much so it was hard for me to get my shots in.I still want to fight someone more my weight and height like Cotto.”

Mora, even though he landed in single digits in several rounds, believed he did enough overall to take the bout. He would admit that he made a foolish error in not listening to his corner, who told him in the middle rounds he needed to pick up the pace.

“I came to win and I wanted to win, but my respect for Shane Mosley got in the way,” Mora stated. “I got hard-headed and should have listened to my corner.  They were telling me it was close and I thought I was winning the fight and my respect for Shane got in the way. He threw really good punches. He hit me with some hard shots. Going 12 rounds with Shane Mosley says something in and of itself.  Honestly, I thought I won the fight.”

 20-year-old Saul Alvarez (34-0, 26 KOs) impressed many with a 6th round KO over iron-chinned former champion Carlos Baldomir (45-13, 14 KOs). At 39 years old, Baldomir brough nothing to the fight except his ability to absorb shots. Alvarez obliged him with flush hooks, straights, and close uppercuts in every round. Baldomir would try to retaliate, but he was much too slow to counter Alvarez’s bombs.

The rounds of punishment finally caught up with Baldomir’s chin in round six. In between exchanges, Alvarez caught him with a short left thook that immediately put the tough Argentinian on queer street. The power sent him crashing face first onto the canvas. Baldomir gamely made it to a knee as the ref reached 10.

“It is true that he hits hard.  I was surprised by his power,” Baldomir said. “I am going to go home and think about what I am going to do next. He is the real deal. He is going to be a real champion. No one has hit me like he did.  No one has knocked me down like he did.  He is definitely the real deal.”

Any questions of Vivian Harris still being a contender at junior welterweight ended brutally tonight at the hands of a younger, faster and more vicious Victor Ortiz.

After a measured first round, Ortiz quickly dropped his foe in the second with a beautiful parry followed by two accurate straight lefts. Ortiz pounced on Harris, trapping him against the ropes and scoring another knockdown off a right hook. Harris would hit the canvas for a third time after Ortiz knocked him off-balance with another left hand for a 10-6 wipeout score.

“The fighter that’s supposed to be shot, is getting shot,” quipped HBO commentator Larry Merchant.

In the hole 20-15 after two rounds, Harris went for broke at the beginning of the third by pressing Ortiz behind right hooks. But all that did was speed up the end, as Ortiz  made him fall flat on his face with a short right hook on the inside. Harris spit his mouthpiece out in submission, and the referee waved off the massacre.

Ortiz is the #1 contender for Timothy Bradley’s WBO belt, but he also expressed his desire for a rematch with Marcos Maidana. In addition, he hoped that this performance helped to redeem him in the eyes of fans.

“These fans either love you or hate you, and I hope they love me after tonight!” said a beaming Ortiz in the post-fight interview.

Daniel Ponce de Leon proved to be too strong for Antonio Escalante. The powerful Ponce de Leon patiently walked Escalante down with damaging straight left hands from his southpaw stance. By the third, he had already landed 51% of his power shots (78 of 152). Against a hard-hitter like Ponce de Leon, that is almost always fatal. Escalante tried to press the fight and was promptly dropped with a clubbing overhand left followed by a short right hook.

Escalante fell flat on his back and was clearly seeing stars, prompting the referee stoppage from Tony Perez. Daniel Ponce de Leon improves to 40-2 with 33 KOs, and is now the mandatory challenger for Juan Manuel Lopez’s WBO title. In their 2008 fight at super bantamweight, Lopez scored  a 1st round TKO. 


This was an entertaining albeit mismatched undercard saddled by a  HORRIBLE main event. Mora got ripped (and rightly so) by the HBO team, but I’ve seen him perform much better and be exciting. I have no idea why he would choke up now after already having big fights against Vernon Forrest.

Mosley tried to blame Mora’s size for his issues, but I see other concerns. Mosley’s punches had less snap on them, and his reaction time is not good. He takes much longer now to pull the trigger. I don’t see this version of Mosley being able to beat any of the belt holders or big name fighters at junior middleweight. Ideally, I’d like to see Shane call it day.

Saul Alvarez is developing nicely and is going to be a serious problem by this time next year. Baldomir got one last payday and I’m not mad at him

Ortiz did what he was expected to do. But we won’t truly know about his resolve until he’s in a do or die situation again. Harris is another one that does not need to be in the ring again. He just can’t take the punches anymore.

Ponce de Leon was a beast last night! He’s a solid contender who unfortunately plys his trade in a loaded featherweight division. It’ll be hard for him to pick up a title.

This Saturday (August 14) light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (25-1, 16 KOs) will defend his WBC title against Chad Dawson (29-0, 17 KOs).

The bout has intrigue as it involves two young, prime light-heavys in a division noted for its older stars. For the past two years, Dawson’s competition has consisted of matches with Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, both aged 41. For Pascal, it will be his biggest test since losing a decision to Carl Froch in 2008.

The fight will take place in Pascal’s adopted hometown of Montreal, Canada. Check out Steward’s breakdown of this “technical” fight and which fighter he thinks will take over in the second half.

I will post my own full breakdown and prediction later this week.