Triller made perhaps the best move it’s made during its brief foray into boxing on Tuesday when it announced it had hired Hall of Famer Jim Lampley to be its lead play-by-play announcer.
Lampley hasn’t called boxing since HBO got out of the sport at the end of 2018, though he has remained engaged in the fights. The main event on the first fight he’ll call will have undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez defending his belts against George Kambosos on June 19 in the main event of a pay-per-view card in Miami.
Lopez was just beginning his rise to prominence as HBO was exiting the boxing space. Lampley said the opportunity to call a Lopez title defense was appealing.
“I haven’t met, covered him nor have I met him, but part of what intrigued me about this opportunity was a chance to get in on the ground floor covering a guy who could be the next big thing,” Lampley told Yahoo Sports. “I watched his fight with Loma [Vasiliy Lomachenko] … could not help but be impressed that not only was Teofimo able to beat him with relative ease — I didn’t think it was a close fight — but it was impressive the psychological command he had. The event didn’t throw him in any way, shape or form.
“I’d been waiting for an offer to come along that was meaningful and I would say doing a Teofimo Lopez title defense at this stage is a very meaningful, significant way to get back into it.”
Lampley was essentially the voice of boxing for three decades when he was at HBO and he remains the sport’s preeminent play-by-play man.
During his time away from boxing, he created and is teaching a journalism course at the University of North Carolina, his alma mater, called “The Evolution of Storytelling in Electronic News Media.”
He’s paid attention to boxing and was looking for a place to land again. He said he hasn’t been as in depth on the sport as he once was, but has missed few significant bouts.
“I have watched the legitimate fights but I have not watched what I guess I’d call the show biz variants,” he said. “Basically, I am still in touch the same way I previously would have been. I watched [Tyson] Fury-[Deontay] Wilder. I watched the Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez unification bout a couple of weeks ago. I watched the Canelo-Billy Joe Saunders fight. All that kind of stuff.
“Triller wants me to call legitimate prizefights. They want me to bring my image as a serious guy to those moments when they engage in serious fights like this.”
So don’t expect to see Lampley doing boxer versus musician bouts or YouTube stars against MMA fighters. But if it includes elite boxers and Triller has it, Lampley will be on the call.
He’ll make a bit of history when he returns, as well. Triller’s show will mark the first time in the four-belt era that there are two bouts for the undisputed championship on the same card.
In addition to Lopez versus Kambosos in the main event, Franchon Crews-Dezurn will meet Erin Cederroos for the undisputed women’s super middleweight title.
“It is an honor and a privilege to welcome the preeminent voice in boxing, Jim Lampley, to Triller Fight Club,” Triller's Ryan Kavanaugh said. “We will blend all the best elements of music, entertainment and sports, and there is no one better to help lead our broadcasts for fans of all ages than Jim.”
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