In this corner with Russ Anber: Lederman tribute - 'he loved the game'

Russ Anber
25/05/2019 7:07am

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO

In his latest column, Russ Anber pays a fond tribute to his friend, the late Harold Lederman, HBO Boxing's 'unofficial judge'…

Harold Lederman and I first met and became friends when HBO started coming to Montreal and doing some of the fights there, notably ones involving Jean Pascal.

He was the first broadcaster who publicly noted on air the emergence of my company Rival Gloves as a major boxing brand. That was really nice of him. In fact, when he came to Montreal he would always come by the Rival office. One time he asked me to make a bathrobe for his wife and we did just that.

Every time I saw Harold he always made time for me and talked to me. I wouldn't say I was special in that respect because Harold had time for everybody. He was really genuine. We would talk about boxing, the past, the current state of affairs. We would travel together too - for example when we were both in Macao for a card he and I were on the same boat going back to the mainland and ate together. I have some lovely memories of private times hanging out with Harold, talking boxing and enjoying each other's company.

Harold just loved being in the boxing world. And he was very successful - he made himself into a trademark, of course, the unofficial judge. In terms of his judging, you could see when he spoke on TV the trait he liked most in fighters which was effective aggressiveness. Sometimes his cards would favour certain guys as they had that style he liked. I wouldn't say I agreed with him all the time because I didn't - but then no one is going to agree with someone else 100 per cent of the time.

Above all, Harold was a great guy who enjoyed being involved with the sport at all levels - he liked the fighters, the trainers, the characters in and around boxing. He saw the evolution of the sport and the changes in the sport for the good and for the bad. And we would talk about these changes, whether they pertained to boxing on television, of the commissions or whatever.

I don't know anybody who had a bad word say about Harold - and I don't know how anybody ever could because I never heard him speak badly about anybody. He always had a smile on his face and was happy to talk to anybody. He wasn't cynical or bitter, he loved the game and it's what he lived for.

It's pretty ironic that shortly after HBO called it a day Harold passed away too. He survived all the eras on HBO, all the analysts and talent who came and went, but he always stayed.

It's sad that HBO went out like a lamb and not a lion. Harold deserved a full tribute on HBO. Jim Lampley did do something but it didn't have the same impact that it would have done if it was a big segment aired on the night of a big fight, a fight which matched the standards of the great days of HBO, not the sort of fights they were showing towards the end. Harold deserved better.

Russ Anber is on Twitter and Instagram @russanber.
Russ was speaking to Luke G. Williams