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Volume 25 No. 44
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Weekend Plans With HBO’s Jim Lampley: Canelo-GGG Rematch

Lampley was inducted into the Int'l Boxing Hall of Fame back in '15 after decades of covering the sport
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

HBO's JIM LAMPLEY will be calling the shots for Saturday's PPV CANELO ALVAREZ-GENNADY GOLOVKIN rematch at T-Mobile Arena, and the longtime broadcaster earlier this week took THE DAILY behind the scenes on how he preps for the sport's biggest weekend of the year. Lampley, who entered the Int'l Boxing HOF back in '15, touched on his expectations for the fight, why it means so much to the boxing world and if he'll manage to keep an eye on the day's college football scores in the anticipated leadup. Lampley said of the main event card, "Their first fight a year ago was a see-saw battle between two dedicated sportsmen ... who respected each other. That's over with. This is a blood-feud grudge match." 

CALM BEFORE THE STORM: These weekends are pretty regimented in terms of the work schedule. Friday is a day of preparation. We meet with every fighter on the card, and in this instance we're covering four fights. So there will be sit-down meetings with them to go over their résumés and prep, and to also get a look at them physically. Then there's a long detailed meeting with producers and the commentary team. We prepare conversationally for all the various things that can take place during the course of the telecast. How do we fill each level of the broadcast if a fight runs short? The single most unpredictable thing in any boxing broadcast is how many rounds are you going to get from each fight. All of that is used to help prepare the audience for the main event. Once all of that is over, which includes a half-hour to go into the weigh-in, then it's dinner with a large group of my family members who are coming to the fight. We'll have about a dozen of us. Then there's a stack of reading material. I'm familiar with a lot of it just from having covered several of the fighters on the card in the past. But there's still something to be said for glancing over it. You never know when something might pop up that you haven't looked at. 

FIGHT NIGHT: Saturday I'll get up and have a haircut, get breakfast with my wife and then I'm at the arena by 12:30pm PT. Then I'm doing a lot of voice-over recording for certain elements of the broadcast that are prerecorded such as the commercial billboards. Then MAX KELLERMAN and ROY JONES arrive, and we rehearse whatever on-camera segments we're thinking of doing during the broadcast. Things to help keep the viewers engaged as we get closer to the main event. Then there's the crew meal, where all 60-70 of us eat in a room together. If there are any last minute details that have to be covered usually they are addressed in that room. Then I go ringside, get makeup and prepare to do the show. It's obviously several hours long and our goal is to get the fighters for the main event into the ring at the right time. You manipulate that by using all of your fill segments and covering up areas where there are knockouts. If those don't happen you'll push along from spot to spot and make sure ultimately the main event goes on as close to when it's supposed to as possible. Then it's the fight. Afterward I have a dinner for 18 people at a restaurant near T-Mobile. After that I'll relax for the evening and then Sunday morning will fly out to my home in California. 

CAN'T LOSE SIGHT OF THE GRIDIRON: I don't have to keep an eye on college football scores because Roy Jones never has a single moment where he doesn't have a mobile device of some kind in his hand, and this time of the year on Saturday he's watching college ball all day. So Roy is my college football monitor. He's watching games even at our ringside table while we're in preparation for the live broadcast. He does have to stop once we begin, but I don't miss a thing having him there. 

THE MATCHUP: It's practically impossible to imagine better circumstances. These guys are two of the four or five most significant fighters in the sport. Golovkin is the sport's most-revered, supreme power attacker. He is a knockout machine who is uncompromising with his offensive approach. Alvarez is the number one power counter-puncher, an equally aggressive fighter whose mindset is different only in the sense that he doesn't move first. In other words, they could not be better matched, tactically, for each other. It's also setting up to be as angry a fight as I can remember.

Know of someone you'd like to see featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot an email to tleary@sportsbusinessdaily.com.