HBO Broadcast Team Announcing or Selling?

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Vasyl LomachenkoAccording to HBO’s broadcast team, the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Romulo Koasicha was a battle between a world class fighter and a once and a lifetime fighter. After several more rounds, many fans were ready to revolt once more as the broadcast team once again showed such bias that it bordered on a love fest, and in doing so has started to harvest a loathing from fans toward Vasyl Lomachenko due to the broadcast teams love fest.

Over the last five-plus years, the HBO Broadcast team has shown more bias towards the house fighter. From Miguel Cotto to Gennady Golovkin to Vasyl Lomachenko, the trio of Max Kellerman, Jim Lampley, and Roy Jones Jr have become salesmen for the fighters. Most of the time the broadcasters are gushing about how wonderful the fighter is, how great the action is, and every fight has something special. They have helped develop fans hatred of the HBO fighters for the proposed love fest that the broadcast team gives them.

Max KellermanOne fighter referred to Kellerman as “A Fan Boy” another referred to his act as “Dick riding” and many other non-HBO fighters view him as a shill. While Kellerman has a passion for the sport, often he comes across as a uber fanboy. His breathless awe of almost every fight and declaration that a rising prospect is the next boxing great is grating.

The worst has been Jim Lampley, who for over several decades has been considered the gold standard for broadcasting. A member of the 2015 Boxing Hall of Fame, Lampley has been one of the best play by play men for not only boxing but for several Olympics as well.

He garnered several awards and has called many huge fights over the past 30 years for HBO. In short he is the real deal and adds prestige to any fight that he calls. But lately even he has succumbed to the love fest that is going on within the confines of HBO.

120506-jim-lampley-1024The most famous moment was during the Pacquiao-Clottey when he started describing the action and using the word “Bang Bang” After several combinations from Pacquiao over an overmatched Clottey, Lampley was talking as if he was Pacquiao.

“Try and stop it BANG! BANG! Here I come. BANG! You wanna throw sometime? BANG! You wanna throw back? BANG!”
That’s right, a Boxing Hall of Famer was acting like a 10-year-old. Utterly embarrassing.

The biggest thing most people are taught is that the media is to be objective and avoid hyperbole. To tell the story rather than embellish or become part of it. To treat every athlete the same regarding objectivity and recognize the strengths and weakness.

It is not difficult to understand what has gone on with HBO as they have become part broadcast network/ part promoter. Fight fans are also catching on to this as they see the love fest between HBO’s sacred cows and their future stars. Saturday was living proof as the praise that was heaped on Tim Bradley, and Lomachenko was enough to make the most casual fan feel dirty.

Roy-Jones-Jr-001The sad part is that there are some fantastic broadcasters who would be much better in the roles of Kellerman and Jones. Chris Byrd did great work when he was part of the Fox Sports broadcast. Boxing scribes Steve Kim and Doug Fisher have both been fantastic and objective on Estrella commentary and could give more insight than Kellerman.
For years, boxing fans always poked fun at UFC’s Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg as two guys who were not only yes men but also awful announcers. They were always overrating the UFC stars and rarely criticized any of the action. Boxing broadcasters were much better and objective.

But after last Saturday night the HBO broadcast team is now focusing on a certain group: lowest-common-denominator fans who are willing to buy what HBO is selling. Call me one of the guys who is demanding a refund.