Mayweather vs. Ortiz: HBO Announcer Larry Merchant Crosses the Line

Robert CotterCorrespondent IISeptember 18, 2011

While undoubtedly the biggest news of the night will be Floyd Mayweather's "controversial" (and I said that in the lightest of terms) knockout of Victor Ortiz, the action that occurred just after the fight should stand as an embarrassment to HBO Sports and long-time analyst Larry Merchant.

After repeatedly insinuating that Mayweather's knockout was in some sense dirty, Mayweather expressed his displeasure with the lack of respect he's received from Merchant his entire career and implored him to go interview Ortiz.

That's when Merchant, whose been known to lose his composure before, became irate and warned Mayweather "I wish I was 50 years younger and I'd kick your ass!"

With those comments, any semblance of impartiality and professionalism that Merchant previously laid claim to flew out the window. The apparent vitriol Merchant holds for Mayweather clearly doesn't stem from tonight's argument, but rather some dislike bordering on contempt that he has held for years.

Long known as the "poetic" voice of HBO boxing, this may be the beginning of the end of Merchant on the air.

It seems obvious that after tonight's outburst, Merchant should no longer be allowed to call Mayweather fights or events. Wishing bodily harm on someone and impartiality don't seem to mesh too well, and with secondary analyst Max Kellerman covering more and more events, it may be time to say goodbye to the old Philadelphia columnist. 

What Merchant said was worse enough, but his inability to separate his personal feelings towards Mayweather and his job are an egregious offense to his network and profession. Without impartiality, journalist and broadcasters are nothing but fans with a platform.

HBO, it's time to remove Mr. Merchant's platform.