Merchant Got No Blowback From HBO Bosses From Floyd Fracas….WOODS

MayweatherOrtiz_Hogan56About three weeks away from the skirmish with Floyd Mayweather which will stand as a healthy portion of his legacy, Larry Merchant is making no apologies for his conduct. In fact, the octogenarian HBO analyst termed the kerfuffle “a giggle” when he spoke to TSS Friday afternoon.

“Normally, I'm on the sidelines and this time, I was in the middle,” he said.

The tsunami of dissemination meant that video of the near tussle between Mayweather and intermittent nemesis Merchant spread worldwide within hours. And that Merchant quickly was getting congratulatory emails from the world over, and hearing from old buddies from decades past. He isn't displeased with the response to the tense standoff, nor does he seek to shape or spin his involvement. “It was a giggle, to have this kind of spontaneous combustion catch fire at this stage of my life.”

As for his legacy, he told TSS, “I have no control over that. I never worry about things I can't control.”

He said that many a writer and broadcaster has weighed in, and patted him on the back, for having scored with a counterpunch to an athlete who may not know how good he has it.

He said his wife Patricia thought the back and forth between her guy and Floyd was a hoot. In fact, she purchased a “I Wish I Was 50 years Younger, And I'd Kick Your Ass” t-shirt, and wears it when she's working out, at their home. “Sometimes she'll watch the shows, and I'll say something on the air, and she may shudder and wonder why I had to be the one to say it. This time she got it. She knows me better than anyone, and if it brought that out in her, that's a bonus.”

I Tweeted after the skirmish that we just saw Merchant call his last Mayweather fight. He indicated otherwise, alluding to the fact that many would like to see “a rematch,” though he craftily hedged when I asked whether he meant him and Floyd, or Floyd and Ortiz. But no, there was no blowback from bosses, he told me.

I asked him the last time he'd been in a fistfight. Merchant had to travel back to when he was 7. Some kids were giving him the business, so he called up to his mama, in their Manhattan apartment. “Fight your own battles,” she yelled back to him. He had some scraps, he said, but mostly on the football field.

Merchant isn't in minimizing mode, seeking to smooth things over with Mayweather. When alerted to the fact that Floyd was still calling for a change at HBO, for the network to install boxers or ex boxers to call the action, he dismissed Mayweather's reasoning. “It's like saying because you haven't milked a cow, you don't know what milk tastes like,” Merchant said. “And  if he thinks he knows more than Emanuel Steward, that speaks for itself.”

He sums up his current attitude towards Mayweather like this: “Many athletes are used to total worship, and unconditional love, I get that. Some need it more than others. That's all I'm saying.”

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Los pesos pesados, el boxeo y yo Por Luis A. Hernández Creo que comenzó a gustarme el boxeo desde el 7 de febrero de 1882, fecha en la que se efectuó el último campeonato de boxeo sin guantes entre los pesos pesados en la ciudad estadounidense de Mississippi, a pesar de que aun faltaban 67 años para mi nacimiento. Y especifico pesos pesados, porque pese a que en mi país, Cuba, hubo excelente boxeo en la mayoría de las divisiones durante muchísimos años, luego de asentarme en los Estados Unidos, tropecé con un boxeo mediocre, pese a lo cual, aun en aquellos tiempos de 1994 podían verse vestigios de lo que fue buen pugilismo. Ocho años antes, en 1986, se había efectuado uno de los peleones más fabulosos y sangrientos de la historia de los pesos medianos, cuando luego de regresar de un retiro de cinco años, el ya por aquel entonces legendario estadounidense Ray Sugar Leonard le arrebató las fajas de la Federación Internacional y de la Asociación Mundial de Boxeo nada menos que a su compatriota Marvin Hagler. Más tarde, tuve que ver como se le hacía la apología en los pesos completos a un controversial y polémico Mike Tyson con más pegada que boxeo; al retorno de George Foreman (otro ex campeón olímpico al igual que Leonard) quien también regresó y con 45 años se apropió de la diadema. Y a otros como Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, sólo para comprender que Cassius Clay fue el rey de la era moderna en este peso en la vida profesional, que tuvo un verdadero extraclase en el cubano Teófilo Stevenson entre los “amateurs”. Al margen de cualquier disquisición boxística o filosófica, los que amamos al boxeo, por respeto a aquel marqués de Queensberry, quien estableció reglas e introdujo los salvadores guantes, solo pedimos que mejore en salud. <a class="commentsButton" title="Comment" href="http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&noquote=1&p=10885" target="_blank">Comenta sobre este articulo </a>