HBO World Championship Boxing
|HBO World Championship Boxing|
|Presented by||Jim Lampley |
Roy Jones, Jr.
|Theme music composer||Ferdinand Jay Smith III|
|Country of origin||United States|
Spanish (SAP & HBO Latino)
|No. of seasons||45|
|Production location||Various boxing stadiums|
|Production company||HBO Sports|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Surround sound|
|Original release||January 22, 1973 –|
December 8, 2018
|Related shows||Boxing After Dark|
MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout
HBO World Championship Boxing (in later years stylized in its title card as HBO Boxing – World Championship) is an American sports television series on premium television network HBO. It premiered on January 22, 1973 with a fight that saw George Foreman defeat Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica.
On September 27, 2018, HBO announced they would be dropping boxing from the network following its last televised match on October 27, though two airings on November 24 and December 8 were its last editions. Various issues in the boxing business, including the influx of streaming options (such as DAZN and ESPN+) and issues with promoters, along with declining ratings and loss of interest in the sport among HBO's subscribers, made continued carriage of the sport untenable. HBO's long-term move to upscale dramatic programming, an ownership transfer of parent WarnerMedia to AT&T, and re-focus around the upcoming streaming service HBO Max also played a role in the decision, with an HBO executive commenting that "HBO is not a sports network."
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 1974;
- the Thrilla in Manila, the final encounter between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and HBO's first program when the service uplinked to satellite in 1975;
- Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns I and II
- When Wilfred Benítez beat Roberto Durán
- Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney, for the World Boxing Council (WBC) 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 defeats Roberto Durán and Hector Camacho beat Rafi Solis - both fights shown on the same night, days after they had taken place
- Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns fight, billed as The War;
- Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman, billed as The Battle of the Ages;
- 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 knocked out Michael Moorer to become the oldest heavyweight champion of the world at age 45;
- James "Buster" Douglas's stunning upset of Mike Tyson for the undisputed world heavyweight title in Tokyo, Japan;
- Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis II;
- Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward trilogy, in which the first fight, Ward beat Gatti by majority decision, while Gatti beat Ward twice, in second and third fights by unanimous decision;
- Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez tetralogy, in which the first fight ended in a split draw where Burt Clements incorrectly scored 113-113, despite three knockdowns, the second fight ended in Pacquiao winning by split-decision with the knockdown scored in round three as the difference in the fight, the third fight, in which Pacquiao won by majority decision and the final fight of the rivalry resulting Márquez knocking out Pacquiao in the sixth round with one second left;
- Bernard Hopkins vs. Oscar De La Hoya;
- 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;
- 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 technical knockout before the 9th round began (De La Hoya retired on his stool);
- Mayweather Jr. vs. Pacquiao, when Mayweather outpointed Pacquiao over 12 rounds in one of the most widely seen fights around the world in boxing history (on May 2, 2015, simulcasted with Showtime);
- and Saúl "Canelo" Álvarez's outpointing of Miguel Cotto by 12 round unanimous decision on November 21, 2015.
World Championship Boxing has also had three spin-off series, Boxing After Dark, KO Nation, and MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout—a weekly broadcast co-produced with Turner Sports for sister cable network TruTV, while its multiplex Spanish channel HBO Latino aired its two spin-off series Oscar De La Hoya Presenta Boxeo De Oro (focused on fighters from De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions) and Generación Boxeo.
The main broadcast team was Jim Lampley on blow-by-blow, with former and future 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 was held (when he was available) by former multiple-division world champion Roy Jones, Jr. Andre Ward or Bernard Hopkins fill in when Jones was unavailable. The position used to be held by Sugar Ray Leonard and former world heavyweight champions George Foreman and Lennox Lewis, and most recently (until his death) by trainer Emanuel Steward.
Harold Lederman, a former boxing judge, served as "unofficial scorer," giving his scorecards after every three rounds, sometimes two. Lederman also used to voice-over the rules under which the fight would be conducted before handing back to Lampley for pre-fight introductions; however the rules were later simply flashed on-screen to save time. Former judge Steve Weisfeld also appeared in this role, usually when Lederman's daughter Julie was judging a fight and as such Harold could not be on television due to the conflict of interest.
Michael Buffer was 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 to 2018
- KO Nation— a short-lived television boxing program that aired on HBO from 2000 to 2001
- Showtime Championship Boxing— a television boxing program airing on Showtime from 1986 to the present
- ShoBox: The New Generation— a television boxing program airing on Showtime from 2001 to the present
- Top Rank Boxing on ESPN— a television boxing program airing on ESPN
- Premier Boxing Champions— a boxing promotion organized by Al Haymon and a television boxing program airing on multiple broadcast and cable networks from 2015 to the present
- "HBO and Showtime Climb Into the PPV Ring" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 24, 1990. p. 28. Retrieved July 29, 2020 – via World Radio History.
"HBO and Showtime Climb Into the PPV Ring" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 24, 1990. p. 29. Retrieved July 29, 2020 – via World Radio History.
- Matthews, Wallace (September 27, 2018). "HBO Says It Is Leaving the Boxing Business". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- "TruTV to broadcast boxing series". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- "Turner Sports Returns to the Ring With HBO and SpiderCam on Friday Night Knockout on truTV". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "HBO Latino Enters the Ring". Multichannel News. October 9, 2002. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
- "HBO Latino Launches New Boxing Series, Generación Boxeo, Debuting Exclusively, Thursday, April 27". WarnerMedia (Press release). April 24, 2006. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
- "ENTREVISTA A CHON ROMERO ANALISTA DE HBO DONDE HABLA DE COTTO, JUANMA, PACQUIAO, BRONER ENTRE OTROS TEMAS". MR.BOXING.