Thursday, February 14, 2013
Weisfeld added to HBO telecasts
By Dan Rafael
New Jersey's Steve Weisfeld has been a professional boxing judge for 22 years and has been on the scoring panel for some 1,500 bouts, including numerous world title fights. For many years I have considered him to be one of the very best judges -- if not the best -- in the United States.
But Weisfeld, who has worked fights around the world, has resigned as a judge to take a gig with HBO, which has hired him to serve as a rules expert on its telecasts. He will handle any rules interpretation or clarifications that may arise during the bouts.
Weisfeld's first show will be on Saturday night (10:30 ET/PT) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., where he will work the televised card featuring Adrien Broner-Gavin Rees and Sakio Bika-Nikola Sjekloca.
"Our producers see him in the same manner as the role that Mike Pereira plays for the NFL on Fox," HBO spokesman Ray Stallone told ESPN.com. "He's our rules expert."
Pereira was the NFL's vice president of officiating from 2004 to 2009 before joining Fox to serve as a rules expert and interpret calls on the network's NFL telecasts.
While it's a shame to see boxing lose an extraordinarily competent judge, HBO is adding depth to its roster and, although not saying so publicly, clearly will groom Weisfeld as Harold Lederman's eventual replacement.
Lederman, 73, who was recently elected to the California Boxing Hall of Fame and will be inducted in October, has been with HBO as its unofficial ringside judge since the 1980s. He will continue to serve in his role -- including on Saturday night -- and isn't going anywhere any time soon.
He recently signed a contract extension with the network and has been a tremendous asset to boxing fans watching HBO fights for years. Lederman's role has, at times, included discussing rules during fights, but now that will fall to Weisfeld. HBO said their roles won't overlap.
One area where we might see Weisfeld's scoring prowess come into play is when the network airs a split-site doubleheader. I would not be surprised to see Lederman at one site to score and Weisfeld at the other.