HBO World Championship Boxing
|HBO World Championship Boxing|
WCB title card, 2013
|Presented by||Jim Lampley
Roy Jones, Jr.
|Theme music composer||Ferdinand J. Smith|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Original language(s)||English (occasional interpreters)|
|No. of seasons||33|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Surround sound|
|Original run||January 22, 1973– Present|
|Related shows||Boxing After Dark|
HBO World Championship Boxing is an American sports television series, premiering in January 1973 that has shown a number of significant boxing events in the last 40+ years.
Famous matches broadcast on World Championship Boxing include: The Rumble in the Jungle, in which Muhammad Ali regained the world heavyweight title from George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1973; Thrilla in Manila, the final encounter between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier; Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney, for the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship; The Battle of the Champions, when Aaron Pryor beat Alexis Argüello in their first fight; Carnival of Champions, in which Wilfredo Gómez beat Lupe Pintor, and Thomas Hearns beat Wilfred Benítez; Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns fight, billed as The War; Thunder Meets Lightning, in which Julio César Chávez beat Meldrick Taylor with two seconds remaining in the twelfth round; Michael Moorer vs. George Foreman, in which Foreman KO'd Michael Moorer to become the oldest heavyweight champion of the world at age 45; James Douglas's stunning upset of Mike Tyson for the undisputed world heavyweight title in Tokyo, Japan; The World Awaits - Floyd Mayweather, Jr. beat Oscar De La Hoya for the WBC super-welterweight title; "Undefeated" - Floyd Mayweather, Jr. beat Ricky Hatton to retain the WBC welterweight title with a TKO in the 10th round; and The Dream Match - The Welterweight match between Manny Pacquiao (moving up 2 weight classes) against Oscar De La Hoya (moving down 1 weight class). Pacquiao won by TKO before the 9th round began (De La Hoya retired on his stool).
Additionally, a video game carrying the brand name HBO Boxing was produced for the Sony PlayStation.
The current main broadcast team is Jim Lampley on blow-by-blow, with former ESPN reporter Max Kellerman as color commentator, replacing Larry Merchant, who retired in December 2012. For the last two years of Merchant's contract he and Kellerman alternated telecasts.
The analyst position is presently held (when he is available) by former multiple-division world champion Roy Jones, Jr.. Current super middleweight champion Andre Ward has filled in on occasion. The position was previously by former world heavyweight champions George Foreman and Lennox Lewis, and most recently (until his death) by legendary trainer Emanuel Steward.
Harold Lederman, a former boxing judge, serves as "unofficial scorer," giving his scorecards after every three rounds, sometimes two. Lederman also previously voice-overed the rules under which the fight would be conducted before handing back to Lampley for pre-fight introductions; however the rules are now simply flashed on-screen to save time. Former judge Steve Weisfeld also appears in this role, usually when Lederman's daughter Julie is judging a fight and as such Harold cannot be on television due to the conflict of interest.
Michael Buffer is an unofficial member of the team as ring announcer for most HBO fights.
Prior to 2009, TSN, a basic-cable sports channel in Canada, held the Canadian broadcast rights to most HBO boxing events, often airing them live (with ads inserted between rounds) if they did not conflict with other sports properties on the channel. Since January 2009, HBO World Championship Boxing, and other HBO boxing events, have aired live on HBO Canada with later repeats on TSN.
- Boxing After Dark (a television boxing program airing on HBO from 1996–present)
- KO Nation (a short-lived television boxing program that aired on HBO from 2000–01)
- Showtime Championship Boxing (a television boxing program airing on Showtime from 1986–present)
- ShoBox: The New Generation (a television boxing program airing on Showtime from 2001–present)