Claressa Shields and Cecilia Braekhus send HBO’s boxing coverage into the sunset.
Tonight a revered era in boxing comes to a close.
HBO Boxing has its final telecast tonight live from the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.
Ironically, making her HBO debut is two-time U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist and women’s middleweight world champion Claressa Shields (7-0, 2 KOs). She returns to the ring just three weeks after her unanimous decision victory over Hannah Rankin.
The 23-year-old champion will defend her title against 28-year-old Femke Hermans (9-1, 3 KOs) of Londerzeel, Belgium.
The main event features boxing’s most prolific female fighter, Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs). The 37-year-old Norway native defends her world welterweight title against Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (18-4-3, 1 KO).
The HBO Sports team will call all the action as announcer Jim Lampley ends his 30-year premium broadcast career tonight.
“I feel like I’m very psychologically prepared for another life — and it will be, in some ways, another life because I won’t be calling boxing matches anymore,” Lampley told The Los Angeles Times. “But I have been aware of the thought process for quite a while, and I’m a loyal corporate soldier.”
HBO’s boxing coverage, once the industry’s Gold Standard, crumbled in the face of ESPN Plus and the new streaming service DAZN, which has forever changed the landscape of the sport.
Showtime Sports’ alignment with fighter adviser Al Haymon and his Premier Boxing Champions stable four years ago began their demise.
“We’ll have some moments,” Lampley continued. “We should not leave the air without a retrospective. Max [Kellerman], Roy [Jones Jr.] and Lampley deserve a chance to say goodbye. We reached out to Larry [Merchant] and he has graciously agreed to accept. All of those things will make the evening worthwhile. I’m going to do my best not to cry and we’ll see, but there’s still a long way to go.”