HBO boxing personality Harold Lederman is always wonderfully accessible to boxing fans and the media and will always share his comments and thoughts about the sport he adores. There are some well-known, boxing powers-that-be who could and should be more like Harold, which would help the sport’s popularity grow by expressing and verbalizing their love and enthusiasm for boxing news and issues, as Mr. Lederman does once again in this candid interview where he discusses Klitschko-Peter, Hopkins-Pascal, Williams-Martinez II, Floyd’s next move, Berto-Aydin and more…
BoxingInsider.com: Wladimir Klitschko vs. Sam Peter – were you impressed by that knockout performance?
Harold Lederman: “Not really. Wladimir has this Hit you once with a left jab, maybe drop a right hand on you, then grab you. That style bothers me. Robert Byrd (referee) let him get away with a lot of holding. It was a one-sided fight. It was all Wladimir. Samuel Peter, even though he’s in better shape, and is doing well with his new trainer, and he’s looking real, real good, for some reason he just couldn’t get off with Wladimir. He never really got his game together. It was a very one-sided fight for Wladimir. It was very easy for Wladimir. He’d land one or two shots, then he’d grab. Samuel Peter had no answer for it. Eventually, Wladimir knocked him out. From speaking with Emanuel Steward, I know Wladimir is a much better puncher than people think he is. Emanuel tells me that all the time. Emanuel has had a lot of tough champions in his life. So Wladimir is a tough guy to fight. He gets away with measuring you out there with the left, then he turns it into a hard left jab. And he drops the right hand on you. His big weakness is his jaw, but you gotta hit him on it to beat him. And Samuel Peter certainly had no success with hitting on the jaw. The question is, Who does he fight next? Personally, I’d love to see David Haye after Haye gets by Audley Harrison – I think he will. David Haye has a real good right. I don’t think he’s just gonna stand there and let Wladimir bang him around and hold him. I think it’s an interesting fight. Adamek might make an interesting fight with Wladimir just because he has so much heart. Boy, would that be an exciting fight in the Prudential Center (Newark, NJ).”
BoxingInsider.com: How do you see Paul Williams vs. Sergio Martinez II going?
Harold Lederman: Paul Williams is always in a good fight. Sergio Martinez is always in a good fight. When you see one good fight, generally speaking, the second one is pretty good. Gatti-Ward was pretty good and the next two were fabulous. What can you say. I think these two guys are gonna put on a show. Sergio with his left over the top and Paul Williams with his jab and left behind it. Paul will throw about a million punches. He piles up a lot of points with those punches. I think WIlliams won the first fight by two points but very, very close. Going down the stretch it could have gone either way. My daughter (the international boxing judge) Julie had it a draw. Sergio Martinez is a superb fighter, as we saw against Kelly Pavlik. Sergio Martinez is a very good fighter, he’s fighting better than ever. He sets up his shots, not the busiest fighter in the world. He’s crafty, a tough guy to get a good shot at, he’s always moving. He’s got real good legs. I’m looking for an outstanding fight.
BoxingInsider.com: Bernard Hopkins is taking on Jean Pascal. He has nothing to prove, he doesn’t need the money, he could get hurt here.
Harold Lederman: Oh yeah. You talk about dangerous fights. Who’s got more guts than Bernard Hopkins? You gotta give him credit.
BoxingInsider.com: It’s amazing. (Note: this next comment was added later for emphasis – When you have loud-mouthed cowards running around like Mayweather and Hayeweather).
Harold Lederman: Yeah, Bernard is amazing. It’s nothing to go into the lion’s den. When you go into the Bell Centre in Montreal, you’re going into the lion’s den. It’s not a very rowdy crowd, it’s a nice crowd but they really get behind Pascal who is a very good fighter. My daughter Julie really tipped me off to Jean Pascal. She judged his second fight with Adrian Diaconou. She said, Dad that guy had his shoulder thrown out three times in the fight. He was very strong. He swarmed all over Chad Dawson. Chad Dawson likes to box, use that right jab, throw that left hand out of the southpaw stance. Till round nine Pascal did a very nice job. In the ninth, Chad Dawson stepped up his game. In the 11th, Chad Dawson hurt him early but then he had that unfortunate headbutt, Dawson was badly cut and they had to stop the fight. But obviosly Jean Pascal is a very good fighter. So it will be interesting to see if old, crafty middleweight can hold off a young, strong light heavyweight.
BoxingInsider.com: Do you think he will?
Harold Lederman: Hard to say. You can’t put anything past Bernard Hopkins – the proto-typical Philadelphia fighter, sometimes he’s really amazing. Sometimes he fights – no one expected him – look at the night he beat Tito Trinidad. Certainly I put nothing past Bernard Hopkins. It’s going to be very interesting. I wish we had it on HBO. Really looking forward to see it.
BoxingInsider.com: Do you think Golden Boy is making a big mistake making Amir Khan vs. Marcos Maidana?
Harold Lederman: Wow [laughs]. Now you know Scoop, I’m from the old school that says, You gotta move up. You gotta take the shot when you can get it. Khan’s gonna get a great payday in Las Vegas on December 11. He’s ready to move up, to take the big step. Look at the division – you got Zab Judah vs, Lucas Matthyse on November 6. Bradley and Alexander. I think it’s a terrific division. Amir Khan has all the skills, he’s got a great trainer in Freddie Roach who watches all the tapes, does a lot of background, tells him what to look for. Maidana hasn’t been all that active. We all remember Maidana from that great win over Vicious Victor Ortiz. The truth of the matter is he’s had managerial problems. Maybe Amir Khan is catching him at the right time. I like Amir Khan. People say he got knocked out in one round by Breidis Prescott but Jack Johnson lost by KO early in his life. Joe Louis too. Everybody loses. All the greats have lost except for Marciano. I’m really looking forward to this, it should be an awful good fight. December 11 is going to be a big night for HBO.”
BoxingInsider.com: What do you think Floyd Mayweather will do next?
Harold Lederman: Oh my God, I wish I knew the answer to that one. I don’t know, I’m only a scorekeeper [smiles]. I don’t get involved in the politics of the business. If I were Floyd, I’d get back in the ring. He looked so good against Marquez and Mosley. He needs to fight. I really think he needs to fight before Manny Pacquiao. First of all, it will keep him busy, keep him out of all these little scrapes he gets into. Floyd is a great guy, I love Floyd, he’s given a lot of money to charity, he does a lot of work with children. He’s a good person, we know that he needs something to keep him busy. I’d love to see him take on someone at 147. I’d love to hear he’s going to fight Berto. It would be great for Floyd. Get him ready for Pacquiao, get a win, then we move on to Mayweather-Pacquiao. I think that would make him fight Pacquiao – get in the ring and beat somebody.
BoxingInsider.com: You don’t think he’s ready for Pacquiao right now?
Harold Lederman: No, I’m sure he’s ready now for Pacquiao. Why sit on the sidelines. Stay busy, keep your punches sharp, timing sharp. Just stay sharp. Fighting would put money in his pocket, keep him out of the clubs, keep him in the gym and, for Floyd in general, keep him in the public eye. So yeah, I think it’s so important, he could be the face of boxing. He’s so great. The guy’s a magnificent fighter – keep him in the public eye. Put him in there with Andre Berto. If they’d let me anywhere near Floyd, I’d talk him into it.
BoxingInsider.com: You don’t see it as he’s ducking Pacquiao?
Harold Lederman: No. I don’t think he’s thinking about Pacquiao. I think he’s thinking more about the legal case in Nevada. I think Floyd wants to be regarded by everybody for being the great fighter he is, so Pacquiao is definitely in his future. But why sit around and wait while Manny Pacquiao is staying sharp and fighting Margarito? If I were Floyd I would definitely take a fight.
BoxingInsider.com: What’s up with Berto?
Harold Lederman: Good question. I keep hearing Selcuk Aydin, the #1 contender (WBC) from Turkey. Everyone says he’s a very good fighter.
BoxingInsider.com: Have you seen him?
Harold Lederman: No. Never. I think you’d have to ask Don King and Al Haymon, people like that, about him. I spoke with Ahmet Oner, who represents him. And Ahmet told me he’s very, very good. I don’t think Andre Berto wants to give up the WBC title – the very, very famous WBC belt. So I think Berto will make the mandatory, will fight Aydin, I’m sure it will come off, hopefully on HBO. I think the date they’re talking about is November 27 which is Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas. I understand we might do a triple-header with Celestino Caballero, plus another fight. I hope that Berto is back in the ring soon. I love Andre Berto. I think he’s a terrific kid, terrific fighter, once again, he needs to fight. He’s gotta step up. Let him make the mandatory, keep his belt.”