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HBO World Championship Boxing is an American sports television series on premium television network HBO, premiering on January 22, 1973.

HBO World Championship Boxing
Title card for HBO World Championship Boxing, 2013.png
WCB title card, 2013
Presented byJim Lampley
Max Kellerman
Roy Jones, Jr.
Theme music composerFerdinand Jay Smith III
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Spanish (SAP & HBO Latino)
No. of seasons33
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running timeVarious
Original networkHBO
HBO Latino
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatSurround sound
Original releaseJanuary 22, 1973 (1973-01-22) –
December 8, 2018 (2018-12-08)
Related showsBoxing After Dark

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

HBO's pay-per-view distribution arm, TVKO, which debuted in 1991 with Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman, was rebranded HBO PPV in the early 2000s.

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 eventsEdit

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.[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 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.[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 broadcastsEdit

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 alsoEdit


  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 linksEdit