Popular boxing broadcaster Lederman dies at 79

HBO Boxing commentator and ex-judge Harold Lederman is interviewed during a screening of the HBO Original Series of "On Freddie Roach" in January of 2012 in New York City (AFP Photo/Michael loccisano) (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Respected boxing judge turned broadcaster Harold Lederman, best known as the unofficial scorekeeper for HBO Boxing, has died at 79 after battling cancer, veteran promoter Lou DiBella said Saturday.

Lederman began his career as a boxing judge in 1967 and joined the cast of HBO World Championship Boxing in 1986.

His death comes less than six months after he worked the final card on HBO, to cap the cable television network's 40-year run in the sport.

"Just learned that my friend of 30 years, Harold Lederman, has succumbed to the cancer he fought so hard," DiBella said on Twitter, adding that Lederman "was one of a kind & there will never be another".

His praise for the knowledgeable and always ebullient Lederman was echoed by figures throughout the boxing world, and by Lederman's former colleagues at HBO.

"Harold Lederman had a lifelong love affair with the sport of boxing," Peter Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports said in a statement. "Over the past fifty years he was universally respected and celebrated by the many people who make the sport what it is.

"Harold was happiest when seated ringside, studying the action and scoring the fight. When he joined HBO Sports in 1986 he added a new and critical component to live boxing coverage.

"Viewers embraced his unique style and his command of the rules while his broadcast colleagues relished his enthusiasm and boundless energy."

Lederman earned his license from the New York State Athletic Commission to judge title fights on June 26, 1967.

He judged more than 100 title fights while maintaining his pharmacy practice in New York.

His commentating career began before he retired from active judging in 1999, and his detailed explanations of how he analyzed and scored bouts were a key feature of HBO's boxing telecasts.

"No one in the sport had more friends, because no one in the sport was more deserving of friends," said HBO boxing announcer Jim Lampley in a statement.

Lederman was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016. His daughter Julie Lederman followed in his footsteps and became a boxing judge.