I respect the time Larry Merchant has spent in the sport I love, but I have often found myself irritated by his comments, and wondering why he was still in his seat as an analyst. That time is coming to an end on Saturday night (9:30 ET) at the Toyota Center. The Nonito Donaire-Jorge Arce bout will be Merchant's last with HBO.
Merchant is 81 years old, out of touch and he has long exuded arrogance in the interviews he conducts post-fight. During the Adrien Broner-Antonio DeMarco bout on November 17, Merchant took issue with the fighters wearing pink gloves.
Jim Lampley and Roy jones, Jr. had to remind Merchant twice that it was to promote breast cancer awareness. Who in American doesn't know that? Moreover, who in professional sports doesn't know that?
This type of misstep wouldn't be so bothersome if Merchant hadn't always come off as boxing's version of Damien Sandow. For those who don't get the WWE reference, Sandow calls himself the intellectual savior of the masses.
Merchant's philosophical rants were at times aloof, misplaced and self-absorbed. He also seemed to take great pleasure in trying to make a fool of the fighters he interviewed after the bouts he covered. This would explain why fighters like Floyd Mayweather Jr. had run-ins with Merchant.
Per Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, and in accordance with my own recollection, Mike Tyson refused to be interviewed by Merchant.
While some may not like Tyson and even more may not like Mayweather, they both seemed to consider Merchant insulting in post-fight interviews. Don't believe for a moment that they were the only two fighters who didn't care for him.
On some platforms, Merchant's "poetic" epilogues and literary references may have fit like a glove. For my tastes, they were always a bitter aftertaste for the sweet science.
I truly do wish Merchant well in whatever he chooses to do from here. My issues with him don't go any further than what he contributed to HBO's broadcast of boxing, but somehow I think the telecast will be a little more enjoyable moving forward.
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