HBO World Championship Boxing

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HBO World Championship Boxing
Title card for HBO World Championship Boxing, 2013.png
WCB title card, 2013
Genre Sports/boxing
Presented by Jim Lampley
Max Kellerman
Roy Jones, Jr.
Starring Various
Theme music composer Ferdinand Jay Smith III
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Spanish (SAP & HBO Latino)
No. of seasons 33
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time Various
Original network HBO
HBO Latino
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Surround sound
Original release January 22, 1973 (1973-01-22) – December 8, 2018 (2018-12-08)
Related shows Boxing After Dark

HBO World Championship Boxing was an American sports television series, having premiered on January 22, 1973 that has shown a number of significant boxing events since then.

WCB's first event was fought in Kingston, Jamaica, where George Foreman defeated Joe Frazier in two rounds to win the world heavyweight championship.

On September 27, 2018, HBO announced they would be dropping boxing from the network following its last televised match on October 27, although there were two additional airings, one on November 24, 2018 and the last on December 8, 2018. Various issues in the boxing business, including the influx of streaming options 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 and an ownership transfer to AT&T's WarnerMedia also played a role in the decision, with an HBO executive commenting that "HBO is not a sports network."[1]

Memorable events

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; 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; 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), 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), and Alvarez vs. Cotto in which Canelo Alvarez outpointed 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.[2][3]

Additionally, a video game carrying the brand name HBO Boxing was produced for the Sony PlayStation, which was published by Acclaim Entertainment under their Acclaim Sports banner.


The 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 held (when he is available) by former multiple-division world champion Roy Jones, Jr. Andre Ward or Bernard Hopkins fill in when Jones is unavailable. The position used to be held by former world heavyweight champions George Foreman and Lennox Lewis, and most recently (until his death) by trainer Emanuel Steward.

For pay-per-view fights, Bob Costas and James Brown used to host the telecast while Lampley called the fight; however Lampley now does both.

Harold Lederman, a former boxing judge, serves 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 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 was an unofficial member of the team as ring announcer for most HBO fights.

Chon Romero is one of the commentators for HBO Boxing's Spanish telecasts.[4]

Former commentators include: Len Berman, Barry Tompkins, Fran Charles, Gil Clancy, Howard Cosell, Don Dunphy, Sugar Ray Leonard, Al Michaels and Jerry Quarry.

International broadcasts

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.

See also


  1. ^ Matthews, Wallace (September 27, 2018). "HBO Says It Is Leaving the Boxing Business". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  2. ^ "TruTV to broadcast boxing series". Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Turner Sports Returns to the Ring With HBO and SpiderCam on Friday Night Knockout on truTV". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 2 May 2015.

External links

  • HBO Boxing (HBO's Boxing website, updated weekly)
  • HBO Boxing Schedule
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