HBO Commentators: Which Boxer-Fighter They Do Resemble The Most

Eddie FantiniCorrespondent IMay 5, 2010

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 19:  Jim Lampley, HBO commentator during the WBC Eliminator Middleweight fight.  Kelly Pavlik won the fight with a seventh-round TKO at FedExForum on May 19, 2007 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

This little "game" needs no introduction. I'll go straight to the point:

JIM LAMPLEY - The guy is good, doesn't makes many mistakes, is not looking for the "big quote" very often, knows how to entertaing without saying obvious or outrageous things. Not the best of all time, definitely, but it's as close as the best you can get today. While I hold Barry Tompkins higher in my all-time list, I have to admit Michael deserve the money he is being payed, fight after fight. Many people didn't like the "BANG BANG BANG BANG...." thing during Pacquiao Clottey, but I think it was a genuine attempt to make a sparring session look interesting. Can't blame him for the snooze fest. Sometimes he loses some credibility because he has to feed the old man (Merchant) to keep hi IN the discussion, so he cosciently "lowers his level" to don't make Larry look too bad.

COMPARISON: a very good, well rounded fighter with good skills => Miguel Cotto

LARRY MERCHANT - The first time I ever heard him it was: "WOW, the guy kicks ass!". After a whille it became Mr Obvious.  He would prefer a slugfest rather than a great boxing match (he witnessed so many....I envy him on this one), he is more of a fan than a boxing expert. He is much like the fighters he loves: brawlers who throw a lot of punches hoping for the big one to land on the opponent' chin, but miss badly quite often (just as he is looking for the big quote but misses badly much more often than not). Just a "one trick pony" today.

Want to hear some hilarious quotes (or crappy ones, depends on the side you're taking) ? Here we go:

"Harold (Lederman), you called it ring generalship. I call it bycicle riding" (Martinez Pavlik round 5, Sergio was schooling Pavlik). Wat fight were you watching, man?

"He (Martinez) can outbrawl ya, outguts ya, etc". OUTGUTS??? It sounds as bad as I ever heard. OUTGUTS has a bad sound, period. Plus, when an old man uses the form YA instead of YOU, probably it's a sign he wants to "look young" => pathetic attempt.

" Just as blacks identify with heroes like Jacky Robinson and Muhammad Alì, white people occasionally invested in Vince Lombardi" (Holmes - Cooney). I love'em all. BUt comparing Lombardi to, take Jacky Robinson out of this and leave Alì and Marciano. It would sound a lot better than that, being a proper comparison."

...and the list could go on. My attempt however is not to annoy you, so I'll stop here. He is a piece of history right there on HBO, but as an old fighter who doesn't know when to hang up his gloves, he doesn't reckognize his time has come.

COMPARISON: brawler with much more heart than skills => Carlos Baldomir (I feel Carlos could feel rightfully disrespected by reading this one.)

HAROLD LEDERMAN - Definitely my favourite one. Has the ability of entertain you in 20 seconds. He knows he has just a few seconds to explain his points of view and he does it. Sharp as a razor, has the guts to "go against the grain" (read: Merchant's opinion) when he feels it has to be done. Verly colorfull character, in my opinion he could be a one-man show. My favourite Lederman quote:

"The only thing Shane Mosley hasn't hit Margarito with is the stool and the referee."

COMPARISON: Ray Leonard, in his own little thing.

Emanuel Steward / Lennox Lewis - two not so loquacious commentators, they show to the general public the secrets and mysteries of this wonderful sport. As "insiders", ofthen they see what we can't and they often teach us something new. While Manny is a big figure than Lewis in that crew, sometimes Lennox is more soft-spoken. They tolerate the old man just enough. As Lewis as a fighter, we won't understand how good they are until they will leave the show.

COMPARISON: saying Lennox Lewis would be too obvious, so I'll go with Larry Holmes, another great boxer not much appreciated until he hang his gloves for good.

Max Kellerman - Not a regular host, Max is very passionate in his job. The biggest knock on him is that he always seems to SHOUT rather than talk. Although I agree with that, it's undeniable that has what it takes to be a solid number two. Sometimes he gets lost in the discussion and doesn't say always something relevant. Other times, like the post-De La Hoya vs Mayweather (he openly called out Kazmarek, who scored 7 to 5 for Oscar), shows flashes of his great potential. It's a mistery man to me, he needs to be more consistent and he'll be very good. Needs to improve but the potential is clearly there.

COMPARISON: He doesn't follow the textbook, much like Zab Judah. Hopefully, he won't waste his talent like the Brooklyn Fighter did.


That's all, folks! I also found very interesting SkySport commentators (the British ones): very sober, not much for the show, much more for the skills (like Steward and Lewis). They don't despise or praise a fighter too much. An interesting different bell for somebody who is not afraid of listening something "different" and leaves the "nationalistic feelings" out of this sport. Because, at the end of the day, it's just a fight.