Jim Lampley on 'The Fight Game'

When Jim Lampley was searching for inspiration for his new show, “The Fight Game with Jim Lampley”, which debuts on HBO at midnight ET on Saturday, he found it in what might at first blush be considered an unusual place.

“The guy who will sit in the studio and produce the show as I tape it is Bill Wolff, whose other gig is to produce Rachel Maddow’s nightly show on MSNBC,” Lampley revealed during a recent conversation. “And I chose him specifically because I admire the culture of that show, I admire the way they deliver information, I admire her way of building up evidence after evidence to support a point without having to say, ‘This is what you should believe,’ and that’s the kind of thing that I’ll be trying to do with ‘The Fight Game’.”

Read More at HBO.com.

HBO Boxing Schedule Packed with Action Through June

By Kieran Mulvaney

HBO’s boxing lineup for 2012 is picking up steam, with a host of big fights scheduled for the next several months. Take a look at what’s on the cards and let us know which fights you’re looking forward to the most, and why. 

Erik Morales vs Danny Garcia

March 24 in Houston

Erik Morales vs Danny Garcia - Photo Credits: Will HartAfter multiple world titles and 54 professional fights, Morales called it quits in 2007, only to return in 2010 and show he can still compete at a high level. But the undefeated Garcia, who was 5 years old when Morales turned pro, is a rising star. Is this one final step too far for the veteran?





Bernard Hopkins vs Chad Dawson

April 28 in Atlantic City

Bernard Hopkins vs Chad Dawson - Photo Credit: Will HartCan 47-year-old Hopkins reach into his bag of tricks one more time and turn back the challenge of Dawson? Their first encounter, last year, was ruled a no-contest after Hopkins injured his shoulder in the second round; fans will be hoping for a longer and more definitive battle this time.





Floyd Mayweather vs Miguel Cotto

May 5 in Las Vegas

Floyd Mayweather vs Miguel Cotto - Photo Credit: Hogan PhotosCotto looked as good as he has in years while securing revenge over Antonio Margarito last year, but Mayweather is an altogether different challenge. Following his 2007 victory over Oscar De La Hoya, this will be ‘Money’ Mayweather’s second assault on a 154-pound crown.





Lamont Peterson vs Amir Khan

May 19 in Las Vegas

Lamont Peterson vs Amir Khan - Photo Credit: Will HartPeterson took Khan’s junior lightweight belt late last year in an exciting fight that was overshadowed by controversy surrounding point deductions and a mysterious ringside ‘man in a hat.’ Khan looks to gain his revenge, while Peterson aims to prove his win in the first fight was no fluke.





Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley

June 9 in Las Vegas

Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley - Photo Credit: Hogan PhotosFormer 140-pound kingpin Bradley gets the superfight he’s been waiting for, against the Fighting Congressman from the Philippines. Will Pacman gobble up this latest challenge or will Bradley pull of the upset and emerge as a star?






So what do you think? How do you see these fights going, and which have you the most excited? Leave a comment on the HBO Boxing Facebook page or tweet us at @HBOBoxing, and we may feature your answers in a future post right here on InsideHBOBoxing.

HBO Boxing 2011 By the Numbers

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credits: Will Hart With 2012 underway, and a new season of HBO Boxing close to kicking off, here are a few facts and figures by which to remember the boxing year that has just passed.

The number of rounds it took for the long-anticipated meeting between junior middleweights James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo to explode into the war we all thought and hoped it would be.

The total number of punches thrown by both men in that dramatic first round.

Photo Credits: Ed Mulholland Bantamweight champ Fernando Montiel was supposed to provide, at the very least, a stiff challenge to Nonito Donaire, who was moving up from the junior bantamweight division. But two rounds was all it took for Donaire to flatten Montiel with a monstrous left hook that launched the Filipino Flash on the road to potential stardom.

The number of times Sergio Martinez knocked down Sergiy Dzinziruk during his middleweight title defense in March.

The number of times Dzinziruk had been floored previously in his professional career.

The sixth round was the highlight of the fast-paced clash between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto. Each man had already officially been down once when Berto dropped Ortiz and seemed to be closing in for the kill. But then a powerful left hand sent Berto to the canvas – and prompted HBO commentator Emanuel Steward to erupt in enthusiasm.

The number of rounds it took for Ortiz’s star, which had risen in the wake of his Berto win, to come crashing down to Earth: An intentional headbutt of Floyd Mayweather was followed by a point deduction and then, while Ortiz was attempting to apologize to Mayweather for the headbutt (for what appeared to be the third time), Floyd’s left hook and a right hand dropped Ortiz for the count.

Photo Credit: Will Hart The total rounds that Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have fought, without a clear winner emerging from their rivalry.

The average score, in favor of Pacquiao, of the nine scorecards that have been handed in over the course of the three fights he has fought with Marquez.

The sum of punches Miguel Cotto landed on the surgically repaired right eye of Antonio Margarito, en route to a tenth-round stoppage that avenged his controversial defeat three years earlier.

The points deducted by referee Joe Cooper from Amir Khan during Khan’s junior welterweight title defense against Lamont Peterson. The deductions would prove decisive in handing Khan a narrow loss, the second defeat of his career.

The number of cards televised in 2011 on World Championship Boxing, Boxing After Dark, and HBO PPV.

Boxing's Best Of 2011

By Eric Raskin

The 12 Days of Christmas are fun and all, but for fight fans, the end of 2011 is all about seven days of boxing. From December 26-29, HBO will replay the seven most memorable boxing matches of the year, including Fight of the Year candidates, history-makers and record-breakers, featuring some of the biggest superstars in the sport.

One thing all seven fights had in common was that they featured at least one combatant with something serious to prove (which is a not-uncommon ingredient in fights that turn out to be as great in the ring as they appear on paper). We’ll break down the action of all seven fights, with a little help from HBO commentator Max Kellerman.

Read More at HBO.com

HBO Boxing 2012 Wishlist. You Asked; We (Sorta) Listened

By Kieran Mulvaney

With 2011 drawing rapidly to a close, we took to Twitter and Facebook to ask HBO Boxing fans what was on their boxing wish list for 2012. And you responded en masse – so much so, in fact, that #Boxingwishlist was trending on Twitter earlier this week.

Some folks apparently didn’t quite get the question, and started listing the gifts they wanted to receive on Boxing Day; there’s not much we can do in the way of providing game consoles or tablet PCs, but maybe by this time next year, HBO Boxing will have been able to make some of those other dreams come true.

Let’s take a look at what you asked for:

Money, money, money

There’s no question who was the number one most requested fighter for 2012, legal issues be damned. And while, understandably, plenty want to see the long-anticipated clash between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquaio, there were also other requests for possible Money Matchups:

*Sergio Martinez vs. Floyd Mayweather or Pacman vs. Mayweather @AnttheSportsGuy
*Pacquiao v Mayweather...obvious @WorldBoxingNews
*Mayweather vs Sugar Ray Leonard #Fantasy - @DKyle24 (Don’t think there’s anything we can do to make that happen)

Bam Bam

Also right at the top of the request pile was a fighter who, with his action style and outsize personality, has realy become “must see TV” over the past 12 months or so: Brandon Rios.

*Marcos Maidana vs. Brandon Rios... @jgzm13 (There were quite a few requests for this particular matchup, and understandably so, given the no-nonsense action styles of both men.)
*Brandon Rios against any of the big names at 140! - Davide G.

Canelo, Chavez, Cotto and Martinez

Plenty of suggestions, too, for the big four names in and around the middleweight division: Sergio Martinez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, and Miguel Cotto:

*Martinez vs Chavez Jr. or Cotto vs Chavez Jr Canelo vs Martinez Canelo vs Chavez Jr - @soberon15
*Canelo vs [Victor] Ortiz would be a really good fight- Carlos G.
*Canelo vs Chavez Jr @rickthereckless

Heck, bring ‘em all on

For some, the option of just picking one or two possible fights was too restricting, given the sheer amount of matchmaking that could be done. From the lower weights to an emerging heavyweight, there are a lot of names that boxing fans want to see face each other in the ring in 2012:

*Kirkland-Alvarez, Bradley-Khan, Margarito-Maidana, Peterson-Alexander, Cotto-Mayweather, Gamboa-Chavez jr, Pacquiao-Martinez.... - Bigga S.
*Chavez Jr. vs. Martinez, Canelo Alvarez vs. Cotto, Rios vs. Maidana, J.M. Lopez vs. Gamboa, Angulo vs. Kirkland 2, Ortiz vs. Bradley, and end it all with Pacquaio vs. Mayweather - Gil O
*marquez vs morales cotto vs margarito pacquiao vs mayweather ortiz vs amir khan - Jack H.
*Seth Mitchell vs any Klitschko, Time for some action in the heavyweight division - Raynor R.

Twelve months from now, will we still be licking our lips at some of these matchups? Looking back on how they all worked out? Or salivating over other possible contests we haven’t yet considered?

In the meantime, be sure to tune into HBO Boxing early in the New Year, as several of your requested fighters will be in action: On January 28, Erik Morales and James Kirkland will be in separate bouts in Houston, Texas; the following week in San Antonio, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will take on Marco Antonio Rubio, while Nonito Donaire will swap punches with Wilfredo Vazquez Jr; and on February 25 in St. Louis, we’ll see a fascinating style clash between Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana, with emerging star Adrien Broner in the co-main event.

Thanks for watching and reading. Happy holidays, and we’ll see you in 2012.

The Best Modern Fights at 140 Pounds

Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credit: Will HartLamont Peterson’s win over Amir Khan last Saturday was an exciting fight tinged with controversy, making it the latest big bout in the 140-pound division to provide plenty of thrills and plenty to chew over in the aftermath.  Here’s a short list of some of the division’s other modern classics:

Aaron Pryor TKO14 Alexis Arguello

Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida. November 12, 1982

In a fight so good that it was later dubbed the Fight of the Decade, unbeaten Pryor defended his WBA 140-pound belt against lightweight champ Arguello. The two men threw a combined 238 punches in the first round alone, and each took turns to be on top. Arguello was behind on two of the three scorecards after 13, but appeared to have momentum; in between rounds, Pryor trainer Panama Lewis told his cutman to “Give me the bottle, the one I mixed.” What was in that bottle has never been determined conclusively, but the next round Pryor launched a furious attack that stopped Arguello for the win. Ten months later, Pryor stopped Arguello again, this time in 10.

Julio Cesar Chavez TKO12 Meldrick Taylor

Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas, Nevada. March 17, 1990

Both men were undefeated and each held a 140-pound belt when they clashed in Sin City. Taylor took the early points lead, tattooing Chavez with punches and outlanding him with his blinding hand speed. But Chavez was landing with more authority; if Taylor was winning the battle, Chavez was winning the war. In the waning moments of the final round, Chavez, trailing on the scorecards, knocked Taylor down heavily. The American made it his feet, but was unresponsive to referee Richard Steele’s commands, and Steele waved it off with two seconds remaining.

Kostya Tszyu TKO2 Zab Judah

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada. November 3 2001

This marks another meeting between rival beltholders, and another one that ended in drama. In the first round, Judah’s superior hand speed threatened to overwhelm Tszyu, but in the second, the Russian’s firepower started to catch up to the flashy American. Near the end of the round, Tszyu landed a right hand that knocked Judah down. Judah stood up, looked at referee Jay Nady, then staggered forward and sideways and hit the canvas again, prompting Nady to call a halt. A furious Judah attacked Nady and threw a corner stool across the ring, earning him a fine and a license revocation from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Marcos Maidana TKO6 Victor Ortiz

Staples Center, Los Angeles, California. June 27 2009

This was intended as a showcase for the hard-hitting, fast-rising Ortiz, and it appeared that would be the case when the American knocked down Argentina’s Maidana with a flurry of powerful punches midway through the first. But Maidana rose to his feet and promptly flattened the onrushing Ortiz with a powerful right hand. Ortiz survived and, in round 2, knocked down Maidana twice more. But Maidana kept coming, closing Ortiz’s left eye and overwhelming him with pressure. Ortiz stumbled to the canvas in the sixth in the face of a Maidana onslaught, prompting the referee to step in – a decision to which Ortiz acquiesced too easily for the taste of some fans.

Are there any fights would you add to this list? What fights in the 140-pound division would you like to see come together in 2012? Answer in the comments below.

PunchStat Report: Peterson W 12 (spl) Khan

By CompuBox

Khan was the busier fighter, while 8-1 underdog Peterson had the edge in power shots landed, hitting on 46%.

Relentless Peterson Wins Belts

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credit: Will HartGoing into Saturday's fight card, the talk of course was primarily of two men: Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson, the principals in the main event. Coming out of it, the talk was of three men: Khan, Peterson, and Joseph Cooper, the referee whose point deductions made the difference between Khan retaining and losing his junior welterweight world titles. 

Read More at HBO.com

The Nation’s Capital Prepares for a Night of Punishment

By Steve Marzolf

Photo Credit: Will Hart

For the first time in 18 years, fight fans in Washington D.C. are getting a live look at HBO boxing on Saturday night, when Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson face off in a unified super lightweight title fight at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The local fervor was obvious at the official weigh-in, where Peterson fans far outnumbered (though barely out-screamed) the dedicated enlistees of Khan’s Army.

Those packed in at the Carnegie Library in downtown D.C. received an extra dose of the star power they were looking for, with Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins appearing alongside Paul Williams and a grinning Adrian Broner. D.C. native and former Hopkins opponent Keith Holmes also welcomed Saturday’s fighters to the scales. As the official business began, De La Hoya promised: “D.C., we will be back with big-time boxing. Over and over again.”

Khan weighed in at 139 pounds, looking lean as usual, and Peterson’s slightly thicker frame topped out at 140 pounds. Whether the homegrown mascot will be able to take advantage of his power against Khan’s famous speed, however, remains the big open question going into tomorrow’s bout.

For the televised undercard, heavyweight and former Michigan State linebacker Seth Mitchell will put his undefeated record on the line against Timur Ibragimov of Uzbekistan. Mitchell officially outweighs his opponent by almost 20 pounds (240-and-one-half to Ibragimov’s 221 pounds). All the action starts at 9:45 pm ET/6:45 pm PT this Saturday night on HBO World Championship Boxing.


A Potential Fighter of the Year Has One Last Battle

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credit: Delane Rouse - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsOne year ago, Amir Khan celebrated his 24th birthday a couple of days before facing Marcos Maidana at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. That battle, in which Khan dropped Maidana in the opening round but had to withstand a furious late-rounds charge from his hard-hitting opponent, was voted as the Fight of the Year.

One year on, Khan celebrates (naturally) his 25th birthday, two days before taking on Lamont Peterson in Peterson’s home town of Washington, D.C. And should he deal with the threat posed by his once-beaten opponent in sufficiently impressive fashion, he may find himself recognized as the Fighter of the Year.

Other contenders have fallen by the wayside: Although Floyd Mayweather demolished Victor Ortiz in September, it was his only outing of 2011, which won’t be enough to garner the laurels. Manny Pacquiao fought twice, but did not look convincing on either occasion. Sergio Martinez and Nonito Donaire each had one spectacular win early in the year, but both followed that with uninspiring, hard-grafted victories over lesser opposition. Khan, in contrast, beat previously undefeated Paul McCloskey, then demolished Zab Judah, and now faces the highly-ranked Peterson.

Peterson, however, is not planning on lying down. He proved his resilience on the undercard of Khan-Maidana, when he rebounded from two knockdowns to secure a draw with Ortiz. He is not flashy, but he is technically sound. Khan will need to be careful not to overreach and leave himself off-balance, as he sometimes does after throwing flurries, as Peterson will look to punish him with counters.

Conversely, Khan will have seen the one time Peterson looked out of his depth, when he lost a lopsided decision to Tim Bradley in December 2009. Peterson was simply unable to match Bradley’s speed and angles. Those will be Khan’s big advantages on Saturday night.

For Peterson, it will be an uphill task. Although he is skilled, he is likely not as much so as Khan. Nor is he as fast or as powerful. Even so, the challenge he poses to the visitor are considerable, and the roar of the hometown crowd will only strengthen his undoubted spirit.

Amir Khan may be a few weeks away from being Fighter of the Year. But first, on Saturday he must make sure he is Fighter of the Night.