Harold Lederman, Boxing Legend and Judge, Dead at 79

Longtime boxing judge and HBO personality Harold Lederman died Saturday at the age of 89 following a long battle with cancer.

Lederman, who served more than 30 years as the unofficial scorer on HBO sport broadcasts and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016, began judging boxing in 1967.

According to Yahoo Sports, he joined the HBO sports team in 1986, where he helped a generation of fans understand the rules and methods of scoring the sport.

HBO confirmed Lederman's death Saturday following a tweet from former network executive and veteran promoter Lou DiBella.

"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," DiBella wrote.

Lederman worked on HBO as an analyst and kept his longtime role as an unofficial scorekeeper long before he retired from judging in 1999.

"Harold Lederman had a lifelong love affair with the sport of boxing," HBO Sports executive vice president Peter Nelson said in a statement to CBS News. "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," the statement continued.

Jim Lampley, who began working with Lederman at HBO Sports the same yea and also earned induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, shared his own statement praising his friend after news of his death surfaced.


"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," Lampley said. "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."

Among the significant fights Lederman judged were Muhammad Ali-Ken Norton; Michael Spinks-Gerry Cooney; Evander Holyfield-Dwight Muhammad Qawi; Larry Holmes-Spinks; Marvelous Marvin Hagler-Mustafa Hamsho; Michael Dokes-Mike Weaver; Wilfredo Gomez-Lupe Pintor; Donald Curry Marlon Starling; Cooney-Ken Norton; Roberto Duran-Carlos Palomino and Matthew Saad Muhammad-Marvin Johnson.