HAROLD LEDERMAN knows a thing or two about scoring fights. A judge of high esteem, Lederman now scores the fights for HBO and, on September 16, will break down Canelo-Golovkin and deliver his round-by-round tally.
Here he tells Boxing News about the pressures of judging fights of this magnitude, and dismisses claims that Canelo will be favoured by the judges.
BN: A lot of people are saying if it’s a close fight, and it goes 12 rounds Canelo – being the home fighter – will get the decision. What do you make of that?
HL: I don’t think it’s true. It’s true in certain places I guess. Look, if you go to a fight in Idaho or Terence Crawford in Nebraska, then the home fighter will get the decision because the fans are shouting and screaming for just one fighter. But here you’ve got Adelaide Byrd and Dave Moretti who are really, really experienced judges and I don’t think either of them would favour the hometown guy.
And saying that, I really don’t think there is a hometown guy. As I see it, Canelo Alvarez’s hometown is Guadalajara in Mexico and Gennady Golovkin, his hometown is somewhere in Kazakhstan. So the judges won’t lean for one guy or the other – we don’t have to worry about that on Saturday night.
But it’s hard to deny that Golovkin is the ‘B-side’ of this promotion even though he brings three belts. It’s a situation that’s almost unheard of.
Right. But you’ve got to look at who sells the most tickets and that’s Canelo Alvarez. But that won’t influence the judges in any way shape or form because I think that the crowd is going to be equal in who they’re yelling for and screaming for in who they want to win. I really think it’s 50-50.
From your vast experience in judging, how common is it for a judge to feel the pressure from a fight of this magnitude?
I never, ever had that problem. Never. When I was involved in a really, really big fight – for example Muhammad Ali-Ken Norton III – I didn’t feel any pressure at all. I just scored it the way I scored any other fight. Look, it’s a fight. The judges will watch the fight and they’ll score it.
Do criticisms that judges get frustrate you? More so than ever before, the performances of the judges are scrutinized by television audiences.
You get used to it. You know at the end of the fight somebody is going to yell ‘what fight were you watching?’ There’s nothing you can do, it happens every single time. You tune it out.
What is your prediction?
I never ever predict the outcome of a fight and the reason is this: If I told you Golovkin was going to win everyone would say I was in favour of him before the fight started. Since I’ve called the score for HBO, I try not to pick a winner before the fight.