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Q&A With Jim Lampley

Jim Lampley discusses his illustrious career with HBO, growing up in Hendersonville, North Carolina and why boxing is such an exciting sport.

HBO:
What was the first fight you announced for HBO?

LAMPLEY:
First fight I called for HBO was Mike Tyson vs. Tony Tubbs in Tokyo. This fight took place just as Mike was presenting his new wife Robin Givens to the world, just as his manager Jimmy Jacobs was dying, moments before Don King was about to move in on his world. We didn't know it, but Tyson was already near his apex and about to turn downward for the long haul.

HBO:
In your experience working for HBO, what was the most exciting fight you ever saw?

LAMPLEY:
Most exciting fight I have called on HBO was the first meeting between Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward. When I stood up to do the post-fight on camera, my stomach muscles were tight and sore from the tension of watching them take their lives into their hands and trade shots.

HBO:
In your opinion, who is the pound for pound best fighter ever to lace up the gloves?

LAMPLEY:
Best pound for pound fighter ever was Sugar Ray Robinson. At his best weight, welterweight, no one has ever been surer to win against top competition or more exciting to watch.

HBO:
What makes boxing such a great sport?

LAMPLEY:
What makes boxing so exciting is the depth of the psychological confrontation each fight produces. To fight is to test your limits as a person, and it is fascinating to watch a sport in which no response, whether physical or psychological, can be hidden. Boxing reveals everything about its combatants.

HBO:
What did you do professionally before working with HBO?

LAMPLEY:
Before I called fights I did everything else a sports commentator can do in thirteen years of working for ABC Sports and subsequent stints at CBS Sports and NBC Sports. I still play a role as an Olympics studio host at NBC Sports. And I run a production company which fosters movie and television projects both sports-related and sports-unrelated.

HBO:
Where did you grow up?

LAMPLEY:
I grew up in Hendersonville, North Carolina and Miami, Florida. The first live fight I ever attended was in Miami Beach February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay beating Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship of the world.

HBO:
What was you major at college?

LAMPLEY:
I have a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also completed coursework for a masters' degree in mass communications at UNC-Chapel Hill. Never wrote the thesis, do not have the degree.

HBO:
As a kid, what did you dream about being when you grew up?

LAMPLEY:
Growing up, I dreamed first of being a professional football or baseball player, then later I thought of becoming an episcopal priest, then an English teacher. I got into sportscasting by accident.

Jim Lampley

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