Jim Lampley has longtime been viewed as the voice of boxing. In a career that lasted over 30 years of covering events from Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas to Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennadiy Golovkin, Lampley regularly accompanied the sport in its biggest moments.
Casual viewers would be just as quick to recognize his voice as a boxing diehard due to his work in the biggest fight and even appearances in movies like Creed.
Personally, Lampley only deepened my love for the sport in the way he eloquently addressed the sweet science. Boxing was his passion, his admiration for the sport and its participants regularly gleamed through in his coverage, whether it was while calling fights or conducting interviews on his HBO series, The Fight Game with Jim Lampley.
Lampley was not afraid to express the emotion that accompanies boxing. There were a few high profile moments where he was moved to tears in what he was covering; I’d imagine I wasn’t the only one along with him that had “something in my eye” in those moments.
Boxing, in principal, is an emotional sport. It’s often a family affair; a reflection of community and brotherhood, and often acts as an allegory of the human spirit. Lampley’s ability to convey the weight of each bout not only added to the drama, but supplemented the reality of the moment.
He was able to comprehensively express the meaning behind two men battling in the ring in a way that we haven’t heard since HBO’s exit from boxing in 2018.
Towards the end of HBO’s Boxing run, the bouts began to get more one sided, less notable, and the fight cards became less deep. However, HBO Boxing was always must watch television due to its unrivaled level of production and of course the presence and work of Jim Lampley, who was–to me–the expressive representative of the spirit of boxing.
There has been an uprising of boxing viewership over the past few years. Once again boxing holds a strong place in the American and global sports consciousness.
Unfortunately, the coverage of these bouts does not always match the level of greatness that the fights themselves hold. A new generation of boxing fans will miss out on witnessing, and listening to the love affair between Jim Lampley and boxing.
Hopefully, we haven’t seen the last of Jim Lampley in fight coverage. But if we have, he will be remembered as one of the great voices of boxing, and will always have a strong place in the history of the sport.