Harold Lederman once said to yours truly, “Rich I see that boxing is your passion.” The response from here was, “I can see it’s your passion and you live and die for this sport.” So true was the passion and the love of boxing for Harold Lederman who passed away at the age of 79 Saturday at a hospice in Rockland County NY after a long fight with cancer.
The other passion with yours truly and Lederman? Both Bronx guys were groomed and learned how great the sport of boxing was in a borough of champions. The longtime ringside boxing judge would gain more fame as the renowned and longtime unofficial judge at ringside for HBO Boxing.
And he was the first of a kind to provide scoring at ringside. Other networks have followed and of course you can’t duplicate what Harold Lederman offered with his insights, Knowledge of the rules, and of course how a fight should be judged made the telecast that more interesting It worked at HBO for years.
But nobody did it better. As much as they continue to score and analyze, it is not the technique of a Harold Lederman. He always said that ring generalship was a key and more than the punches to the body or how many blows were landed.
To the loyal viewers of HBO Championship Boxing, it was Harold Lederman and his unofficial scores from ringside. It was coming after Jim Lampley would say, “Harold How do you Have it?” And then it came, “Jim, I got it…..” And there was always that brief analysis as to why, well sometimes going over the time allotted, and Lampley would go with it.
They had to go with it, and they did because Harold Lederman knew boxing better than some of the managers, trainers, and promoters who were instrumental in making HBO Boxing the longest running cable television outlet for the sport.
You listened to that moment when Lampley threw it to Lederman. The unofficial scoring for the most part was accurate. And believe this, without the ability of having open scoring, there was a better perspective as to how a fight was going when Harold Lederman went to his scorecards.
“At the end he was calling HBO scores live from his home,” said Lee Samuels a former publicist for Top Rank Boxing. “Worked with him so many times in ballrooms, the arenas, and he had a perspective about the sport that was so clear to understand.”
Samuels, now a boxing coordinator for Top Rank will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame up in Canastota, NY the weekend of June 7. Lederman was inducted into the Hall in the class of 2016.
He judged over 100 title fights. Favorite fighters, far too many to mention and that could be understood. And when you asked Harold Lederman over the years about his all-time favorite fight? There was always a hesitation and a similar response as there were too many to categorize as an all-time favorite.
More importantly, and this comes from a personal perspective, Harold Lederman loved life. He loved being around the people. The fight fans were also his passion as well as his family. His daughter, Judy, is a well known judge of ringside fights and respected with all the major boxing organizations.
Many don’t recall, before becoming an official in the sport, Harold Lederman was a fan and owned a pharmacy up in Rockland County. He helped many and that included yours truly after a corneal eye transplant in 1986.
The eye drops were not available. Harold Lederman, part time boxing judge, still a pharmacist, rushed those special eye drops to the Bronx.
“From one Bronx boxing guy to another,” he said. And from one boxing guy to another it was the beginning of a great relationship at ringside and at the press conferences. At least we know the unofficial scoring at ringside provides that better perspective on boxing telecasts.
So the next time they go to the scoring remember the voice and knowledge of Harold Lederman.
RIP and keep scoring!