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Boxing notes: HBO to have rare teaming for Khan-Peterson fight

Jim3HBO will announce next week that Jim Lampley will be joined ringside at the Dec. 10 Amir Khan-Lamont Peterson fight in Washington, D.C., by previously rotating commentators Larry Merchant and Max Kellerman.

The teaming has been described by one HBO official familiar with the deal as a "once and only" situation created by boxing commitments for expert analysts Roy Jones Jr., who has a fight against Max Alexander, and trainer Emanuel Steward.

Merchant, 80, has rotated color-commentatorduties with Kellerman, 38, since 2007, when an expiring Merchant contract led HBO to expand Kellerman's duties.

Merchant engaged in an entertaining post-fight exchange with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September after Mayweather delivered a pair of punches that were legal but appeared to cross the line of good sportsmanship.

"You never give me a fair shake," Mayweather said on the broadcast, advising HBO to fire Merchant.

Kellerman worked Manny Pacquiao's close Nov. 13 decision over Juan Manuel Marquez and is assigned to Saturday's Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito rematch at Madison Square Garden.

Kellerman hosts a sports radio talk show weekdays on KSPN-AM (710).

HBO, Top Rank Meet: With boxing's 2012 schedule a major work in progress, HBO and Showtime executives are huddling with powerful promoter Top Rank this week in New York to help firm up fight dates.

Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum said his organization's young world champions Nonito Donaire -- who has a February pay-per-view date set against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. -- and Brandon Rios will play prominent, busy roles during the year, along with Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Oxnard's Rios (28-0-1, 21 knockouts) will defend his world lightweight belt Saturday at Madison Square Garden against England's John Murray. Rios, however, has struggled making the weight, according to those close to him, and may be ready to move to 140 pounds (junior welterweight).

There's been upheaval in premium network boxing, as former Showtime Sports chief Ken Hershman will take over for resigned Ross Greenburg at HBO early next month, and Oscar De La Hoya's former attorney, Stephen Espinoza, is now directing Showtime.

Showtime outspent HBO to land a January rematch between Ventura's Victor Ortiz and former world welterweight champion Andre Berto.

Arum said he has a good rapport with Espinoza, and said he would not expect De La Hoya to now turn most of his marquee fights  to Showtime rather than its former close ally under Greenburg, HBO.

-- Lance Pugmire, reporting from New York      

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Photo: Jim Lampley. Credit: Steve Freeman / NBC

 
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