HBO World Championship Boxing

Last updated
HBO World Championship Boxing
Title card for HBO World Championship Boxing, 2013.png
WCB title card, from 2013 to 2018
Genre Boxing telecasts
Presented by Jim Lampley
Max Kellerman
Roy Jones, Jr.
Theme music composer Ferdinand Jay Smith III
Country of originUnited States
Original languagesEnglish
Spanish (SAP & HBO Latino)
No. of seasons45
Production locationVarious boxing stadiums
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running timeVarious
Production companyHBO Sports
Original network HBO
HBO Latino
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatSurround sound
Original releaseJanuary 22, 1973 (1973-01-22) 
December 8, 2018 (2018-12-08)
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.


HBO's pay-per-view distribution arm, TVKO was formed in 1990, which debuted in 1991 with Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman, was rebranded HBO PPV in 2001. [1]

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 (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 and an ownership transfer of parent WarnerMedia to AT&T also played a role in the decision, with an HBO executive commenting that "HBO is not a sports network." [2]

Memorable events

Famous matches broadcast on World Championship Boxing include:

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. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Additionally, a video game carrying the brand name HBO Boxing was released for the PlayStation in 2000, which was published by Acclaim Entertainment under their Acclaim Sports banner.


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.

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

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.

Chon Romero was one of the commentators for HBO Boxing's Spanish telecasts. [7]

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

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

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  1. "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.
  2. Matthews, Wallace (September 27, 2018). "HBO Says It Is Leaving the Boxing Business". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  3. "TruTV to broadcast boxing series". Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  4. "Turner Sports Returns to the Ring With HBO and SpiderCam on Friday Night Knockout on truTV". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  5. "HBO Latino Enters the Ring". Multichannel News . October 9, 2002. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  6. "HBO Latino Launches New Boxing Series, Generación Boxeo, Debuting Exclusively, Thursday, April 27". WarnerMedia (Press release). April 24, 2006. Retrieved July 29, 2020.