To start, my thoughts on Jim Lamply:
I have to say in Jim's defense that when he was at HBO 20 years ago, he did not play up to certain fighters like he does now. His illustrations and delivery where articulate, to the point, and focused more on unbiased commentary. Jim tries very hard to generate exciting fights, and when a fight is exciting, he was, and remains a joy to hear.
I wonder if the powers that be at the time, such as Kerry Davis and Ross Greenberg encouraged pom-poming of the fighters that HBO had under contract? Larry Merchant in contrast, told it like it was, most of the time. However, you may recall that he got banned from a telecast once for saying that "Delahoya's entrance music, sucked."
I think when Roy Jones and especially Delahoya came on the scene, the powers that be behind the scenes might have insisted that the name fighter was bigger than the event itself, and I recall that when Lou Dibella was matchmaker, he put on some of the BEST boxing for HBO! Lou was the brain-trust behind the original Boxing After Dark, and the development of brining Gatti to the network with classic wars, just like Erik Morales, Marco Barrera, and Kennedy McKinney. A far cry in contrast of today, when HBO BAD is used as a marketing tool to build up fighters for PPV paydays. House guys like Delahoya still gave shit some of the time, (Campas) and Jones, (Frazier.) and I remember Lou apologizing for the Jones-Frazier shit but said there wasn't anything they could do, because they had to show Roy's fights because he was under contract, regardless of opponent.
Showtime seems to think that quality fights are more important than cheer-leading for a popular name. Don't build up a "future star" with mediocre competition. Just give the fans great two-sided fights. HBO commentary should be exciting more the fights that have two-sided action in the ring, with a good hint of doubt as to who will win before the fight takes place. The problem is, guys like Lamps would OHHH and Ahhh one fighter against a bum, just because it's Delahoya or just because it's Jones.
I also appreciate the effort that HBO commentary and Showtime can be objective when a house fighter gets a decision that they don't deserve. (Williams-Laura-HBO, Cloud-Campillo-Showtime.) This shows that they can be objective when they work at it and the opportunity presents itself.