Tom Loeffler talks HBO memories ahead of boxing closure after 45 years
Working with HBO for 25 years, Tom Loeffler is in a unique position as his company, 360 Promotions presents the final boxing telecast of the network’s remarkable 45-year history in the sport.
First entering the arena as a noted Southern California based boxing manager, Loeffler worked with four of the most talented and most watched boxers fighting on HBO; Kevin Kelley, Shane Mosley, Oba Carr and James Toney.
“My first fight on HBO was when Kevin Kelley won the WBC Featherweight title from Goyo Vargas Dec 4, 1993, almost 25 years to the day.
“Kevin was the first Featherweight on HBO since Salvador Sanchez and they loved him because he was an all action fighter that was much more exciting than the heavyweights he would be paired with on the broadcast.
“Kevin vs Naseem Hamed at Madison Square Garden on December 19, 1997 was one of the most exciting fights I had seen with 6 knockdowns in 4 rounds, “said Loeffler.
“Kevin’s most exciting win was against Derrick Gainer, when his eye was completely closed and he landed the KO punch in the 8th round.”
“I was able to get Shane Mosley on HBO in 1997 when he defeated Phillip Holliday for the IBF Lightweight Title, when nobody wanted to fight him.
“That was the start of Shane’s long run of dominant fights. During the same time period I was managing Oba Carr who fought Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad and Ike Quartey in world title fights,” continued Loeffler.
“Shortly thereafter I worked with James Toney after he lost to Roy Jones Jr for a number fights on HBO.”
In 2003, Loeffler began working with heavyweight world champions Vitaly and Wladimir Klitschko forming K2 Promotions as a new promotional entity under which the brothers fought in the United States as well as Europe.
“We had a great deal of international success with both brothers and HBO played a very large role televising many of their fights which garnered tremendous TV ratings.
“I remember the historic fight on HBO against Lennox Lewis at Staples Center and then a year later when Vitali finally won the WBC heavyweight championship at Staples.”
Bursting onto the scene on September 1, 2012, Loeffler brought middleweight world champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin to the attention of U.S. boxing fans as he made his memorable HBO debut, stopping Grzegorz Proksa in the fifth round.
“Gennady’s HBO debut truly stamped him as a must-see TV attraction and the network was instrumental in building him into one of the biggest international stars in the sport, that could have only been built on the HBO platform.”
“I was able to get Chocolatito Gonzalez on HBO when the flyweight division was not popular in the US and he became recognized as the best pound for pound fighter shortly afterwards.
“I was able to put Alexander Usyk on HBO for two of his fights, which gave him his exposure in the US market. One of the biggest accomplishments was breaking the glass ceiling and getting Cecilia Braekhus on HBO as the first female champion ever on the network.”
“HBO has done an extraordinary job creating stars in boxing and I’m proud to have worked with these tremendous athletes and very grateful for HBO and their support of the sport of boxing throughout the years.”