Julie Lederman Interview Don’t Judge Her! By Ken Hissner (July 20, 2010) Doghouse Boxing
Her father was a professional boxing judge and would take her to the boxing matches when she was around five and show her how to score the fights. There were times when she had to sit way up in the stands but always seemed to work her way down in eye site of her father. When the time came for her to become a judge of her own she would travel by herself in the beginning to some of the worst neighborhoods to judge. As a woman she found out that you are in a man’s sport and you would be under a magnifying glass and especially when your father was such a well known judge. Though she doesn’t mind being called Harold Lederman’s daughter Julie, the judge, she would just like to be known as Julie Lederman boxing judge.
Believe me, after almost two hours on the telephone interviewing her I felt she was “one of the guys” with her knowledge and experience traveling to such places as Germany, Mexico, Republic of South Africa, Canada, Japan, Puerto Rico and South Korea. If someone else was a protégé of Harold Lederman and a man they wouldn’t be scrutinized as much as Julie Lederman let alone do the fine job she does. “I traveled all over the world by myself. There are two things to remember when you go to a foreign country. Get rest and watch what you eat. I do some research before I go, and bring food when necessary.”
“You develop a bond with a close knit group of friends in the business like Steve Weisfeld, Steve Smoger, Max DeLuca and Craig Metcalfe. Those I admire are Tom Kaczmarek, Jerry Roth, Duane Ford, and when he was alive, Arthur Mercante, Sr. who would always take me under his wing. Eva Shain, Carol Castellano, and Melvina Lathan were role models when I first started judging.
“She is very competent and always prepared. As I circle (referee) the ring and if my eyes are drawn there she is always focused on the action. Her scorecard is always ready when I pick it up,” said Steve Smoger. This is from one of the top referee’s in the world. “I think that Julie is a terrific judge, conscientious, impartial and extremely knowledgable”, said Steve Weisfeld. That’s from one of the top judges in the world.
Too many times we’ve seen it in the fight game where there was Arthur Mercante and then along came Arthur Mercante, Jr. There was “Smokin” Joe Frazier and here comes Marvis Frazier. Julie Lederman grew up in the shadows of her father Harold and learned the ropes to become one of the better judges in the game today.
Carol Polis opened a whole new world for women judges and Lederman is a perfect example that with time comes improvement. “Lederman has proven to be a very solid and fair judge”, said Davie Avila of The Sweet Science in 2009.
Lederman may have judged the last fight of Joe Calzaghe when he defeated Roy Jones, Jr. His final record was 46-0 just three shy of equaling Rocky Marciano’s 49-0. Lederman has been judging since her first fight at the Huntington Hilton, NY, in 1996. There have been so many bouts and title bouts she has judged. To name a few are Jones-Trinidad, Taylor-Pavlik I, Ruiz-Holyfield III, Simon-Wright in South Africa, Corrales-Casamayor and Forrest-Mosley I. In that one Tom Kaczmarek and Melvina Lathan were the other two judges. She also judged Laila Ali-Burton, Pavlik-Lockett, Holt-D. Hopkins, Morales- Raheem, Chavez, Jr.-Duddy, Pascal-Deaconu, Williams-Martinez and Davey Hilton in Canada.
“I really don’t like the spotlight and try to be as low key as I can. I guess you know I am not one to do interviews (google confirmed that). My father is in the spotlight. I am an official. When he was judging, and I traveled with him, I would watch him do whatever he had to do to stay out of sight, stay away from the fighters and their camps. He would just do his job and go home. That’s how I am. I usually sit with the officials, watch and score all the fights on the card (whether I’m working or not), then go home. My dad leaves the arena and he is mobbed by people asking for his autograph or pictures.
Julie Lederman was more than kind enough to in addition to the interview answer some questions.
KEN H: How old were you when your dad took you to your first fight?
JULIE L: My mom says about four or five years old.
KEN H: Do you ever have anyone come up to you during a fight and try to start a conversation and if they do what do you do?
JULIE L: The only people close to us are the photographers, and I talk to them before the fight starts. Occasionally someone forgets and tries to talk to you, but if you ignore them they realize what they are doing and stop. You can never lose focus.
KEN H: What is your opinion of even rounds?
JULIE L: It’s rare, but it can happen. If there is an accidental foul that causes the fight to be stopped, and it’s after the fourth round has been completed, we have to score partial rounds. If there is little or no action, there may be an even round.
KEN H: What is the biggest fight you have judged?
JULIE L: Holyfield vs Ruiz III and Sam Peter vs Jameel McCline which both were for the Heavyweight championship were big fights, Roy Jones Jr. vs Joe Calazghe, Jones-Trinidad, Forrest-Mosley I where I worked alongside my mentors Tom Kaczmarek and Melvina Lathan. A fight I worked most recently, Vanes Martirosyan vs Joe Greene at the new Yankee Stadium had special meaning to me. My father had judged Ali vs Norton III at the old Yankee Stadium back in 1976. When I walked into the stadium, they were showing Ali vs Norton on the big screen. It brought back memories and I just stopped, looked around and pinched myself.
KEN H: Have you and your dad ever judged on the same show?
JULIE L: We have worked on the same show, and the same fights. It was at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in 1999. We worked the entire card together, about nine fights. It was the last time my father judged professionally.
KEN H: Do you get together with the other judges after a show or even at intermission to discuss the bouts?
JULIE L: We sometimes discuss strange rounds, and my dad and I try to watch fights together when possible.
KEN H: What kind of notice do you usually get to work a show?
JULIE L: It varies. It could be a month or as little as a week. If someone else has an emergency and can’t make it, you may get a call.
KEN H: If a boxer dominates a round but is knocked down just before the bell how would you score that?
JULIE L: A knockdown is for the most part scored 10-8, however if the fighter who got knocked down clearly wins the round, it could be scored 10-9.
KEN H: How much added pressure when you go to a foreign country and you have to judge a bout with their hometown hero in the fight?
JULIE L: There is no added pressure. You have to score a fight how you see it, round by round. Each round is a separate fight, there is no champion once the bell rings, there is no hometown hero etc.
KEN H: I cannot tell you how I enjoyed talking to you and believe me the next time I see you in person I will introduce myself and it will not be during the show. (Since the interview I saw Julie with Steve Weisfeld in Newark, NJ, and made a point to say hello. She was very gracious and friendly just like Steve.
JULIE L: Thank you Ken. It was my pleasure.
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