Larry Merchant Leaving HBO Analyst Seat, After 35 Years

BY The Sweet Science ON December 13, 2012
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Merchant2Larry Merchant will end his unprecedented 35-year run as a ringside boxing commentator for HBO Sports with the season finale of World Championship Boxing® this Saturday night (9:30 p.m. ET/PT) from Houston. Following the telecast, Merchant will be moving into another phase of his wide-ranging career.

"Starting in January, I will become a Tom Brokaw-like senior kibbitzer on major news and events in boxing," Merchant said, adding,"I was extraordinarily lucky to land with HBO when it was just a startup. I'm proud to be associated with so many talented people who made us into a groundbreaking network. I'm looking forward now to my new role and to new adventures in television, writing and the expanding media universe."

Ken Hershman, President, HBO Sports, said, "It is extraordinary to reflect on all that Larry Merchant accomplished at HBO Sports during the past 35 years. We've been honored to have him as a colleague and he'll always be a member of the HBO family."

Merchant worked side by side with Jim Lampley since 1988. Max Kellerman, who joined HBO Sports in 2005 and has alternated with Merchant the past few years, will now be the full-time HBO ringside boxing commentator and post-fight interviewer.

Merchant had one of the best seats in the house for three-plus decades , sharing his insights and observations on Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Arturo Gatti, Roy Jones Jr., Lennox Lewis, Oscar de la Hoya, Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and others as they built their careers on HBO.

Merchant also was part of the original correspondent teams for HBO's Real Sports and Wimbledon coverage. He wrote the Emmy®-winning documentary series "Legendary Nights" that aired in 2003.

Before HBO, Merchant was a reporter-commentator-producer with NBC Sports and the host of an award-winning panel show on USA Network. Previously he was a sports editor-columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News and a columnist for the New York Post.

The Boxing Writers Association of America honored Merchant for excellence in broadcast journalism in 1985 and with the A.J. Liebling Writing Award in 2009. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009 as well.

Larry was born and raised in New York City and graduated from Oklahoma University.

Comment on this article

Radam G says:

Great for LM! He will do outstanding in his next adventure. I'm glad that he is not yet retiring. We would miss him. He doesn't take bullsyetology. He spits da game -- right and wrong -- like it is. Holla!

deepwater says:

Great for LM! He will do outstanding in his next adventure. I'm glad that he is not yet retiring. We would miss him. He doesn't take bullsyetology. He spits da game -- right and wrong -- like it is. Holla!


larry is the man and stands up for himself. youtube him when he attacks a guy who got in the way of his interview.larry can fight!

maromero says:

Larry is going out like a true champ, he called out Floyd Mayweather but we werent in 1960 anymore,even though he felt otherwise. I admired his courage for tempting Chavez Sr to give him a hook hard enough for Larry to curl up like a fetus. But im 100% sure that he would have not let go of the mike, being the true legend that he is.Thank you Larry for your anecdotes that sounded out of place sometimes but I forgave you because I knew that you were drunk.

DaveB says:

Good luck to Larry. He has been a staple at HBO for so long it is like a friend leaving. @maromero You are one funny hombre.

kidcanvas says:

damn he's been with me all my life pretty much . Good Luck larry !

Bernie Campbell says:

Now what commentator is gonna take his place to dis the Black Fighter! Maybe they should consider Joe Herron from San Antonio! I dont know how good he is at dissing though!

dinglerma says:

Larry, We are going to miss. Love your insights and comments and monickers to this great boxers. 'Am glad though that last great superfight happened in the Paquiao-Marquez IV fight with the drama that day. Or shall i dream , this Saturday, on the Donaire-Arce fight.

the Roast says:

Just heard of this. Very sad to say goodbye to the Grandfather of fight night commentary. Larry Merchant is my all time fav. Without Larry Merchant there would never been the Roast. 35 years. I was 10 years old when Larry started. Merchant shaped the Roast. Best wishes going forward with new projects LM. I may have been your biggest fan.

Radam G says:

Hehehe! So touching! LM never held baby Radam, so he missed da G p!$$. Holla!

Radam G says:

BTW when I was 10 months old. Hahaha! Holla!

ali says:

So glad Larry is leaving now it time to get rid of Kellerman.

brownsugar says:

Knowing when to leave while you're still on top and have all of your faculties is the stepping stone to greatness. Watching Larry get in the last word seemed like a boxing tradition. Better to leave now than to have to be forced out. He's had a long and prosperous career. Personally....... moving forward..... I'd like to see a more diverse line up, different athletes and announcers given opportunities. Not that there was anything wrong with Larry, Jim, Jones and Max...but now that Larry is gone I'd like to see a different formula.

dino da vinci says:

Knowing when to leave while you're still on top and have all of your faculties is the stepping stone to greatness. Watching Larry get in the last word seemed like a boxing tradition. Better to leave now than to have to be forced out. He's had a long and prosperous career. Personally....... moving forward..... I'd like to see a more diverse line up, different athletes and announcers given opportunities. Not that there was anything wrong with Larry, Jim, Jones and Max...but now that Larry is gone I'd like to see a different formula.


Thing is, this job is not as easy as it looks. Done correctly, it greatly enhances the product. Done poorly it can borderline destroy what should have been a wonderful viewing experience. The great ones, Bernstein, Farhood, Lampley, Kellerman, etc. make it look easy. Flip side, is having to repeatedly watch a poor fella struggling and keep stepping on his own tail.

ali says:

Bring back Lennox Lewis try and get Paulie M.Keep Jones and try to get Jus Johnson as your play by play guy.

Radam G says:

SCLA Ali, YUP! They gonna listen to yo' @ss! Hahahaha! Gus Johnsom is a Showtime talkin' idiot -- I mean talking head. HBO oughta do some diversity jive, and holla at a million-dollar doll. Perhaps Layla Ali or the "Farmer's daughter. HBO could even bring the "Mermaid" Ann Wolfe or Chris Byrd's sister. Her name slips my mind at this sec, but the Roast will holla. Holla!

SouthPaul says:

Ain't a horse can't be rode and a cowboy can't be thrown.


Thats my all time favorite line from Merchant after a fighter would get his wig split.


Funniest moment? Many of them but when Hopkins told Larry " nice haircut, Larry, I like it!" That had me lmao (think it was after him and Roy were woofing it up over the 60/40 I'll whoop yo' *** confrontation).

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