Larry Merchant: Legendary Boxing Analyst Reportedly Retiring

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IDecember 13, 2012

Somewhere, probably on a private jet counting large stacks of hundreds, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is likely celebrating. 

According to Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, Larry Merchant, boxing's famous ringside analyst who had some ugly run-ins with Mayweather and others, is calling it quits:

Larry Merchant, HBO's fearless, cantankerous and often controversial boxing analyst, is stepping out of the ring after a 35-year run.

Merchant, 81, will work his last fight Saturday night during a "World Championship Boxing" card in Houston, Texas.

Merchant's contract was set to expire soon."Both sides decided it was as good a time as any to do this," one boxing source said. "They will part company on good terms."

Fearless is a good word to describe Merchant.

The man who began his sports career as a columnist established himself as boxing's most popular—and controversial—figure while working for HBO Sports for the last 35 years.

During his time as a ringside commentator, analyst and post-fight interviewer, Merchant not only had heated disputes with Mayweather, who called for him to be fired following his fight with Victor Ortiz, but also with Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya. 

Still, it's the now-famous line that Merchant shot back at Mayweather on that night that exemplifies what made him special:

"I wish I was 50 years younger and I'd kick your ass."

Amidst all the controversy, Merchant was without a doubt one of the most respected boxing minds in the business. ESPN's Dan Rafael has, on multiple occasions, called Merchant "the greatest television boxing analyst of all time."

His unique insight into the sport, willingness to say whatever was on his mind and, most of all, fearlessness toward even the biggest names will all be missed from ringside.