Larry Merchant on Mayweather-McGregor

By Robert Ecksel on August 25, 2017
Larry Merchant on Mayweather-McGregor
Larry had to get in a gratuitous dig. No matter how true. No matter how well deserved.

“Listen,” said Merchant, “how many black eyes do you think boxing has already? If it’s a black eye, it’s another black eye…”

Larry Merchant can no more be blamed for aging than he can be blamed for the man who replaced him on HBO.

Merchant recently appeared on FNTSY Sports Network and spoke about Saturday’s fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, between boxing and MMA.

“They’re different sports, they’re different games, and that’s fine,” said Merchant. “One is a version of street fighting and one is a version of a different form of man-to-man combat.” Merchant sighed. “It’s an exhibition, it’s a show, and there are precedents for it. Later in his career Muhammad Ali made a lot of money by going to Tokyo to fight a star wrestler. And—I hesitate to call it a fight—but whatever the spectacle was—it turned out to be a disaster and even the very proper Japanese fans who filled the arena were booing.”

No one expects the Irish in Vegas to be “very proper” either.

“This goes back to the earlier days in boxing,” explained Merchant, “a hundred years ago when fighters or retired fighters would use their marquee names whether to go on stage or to find some rassler to wrestle. So it’s nothing new. It’s attractive in this case because Mayweather and McGregor are good at marketing themselves. But as I frequently said about Floyd Mayweather when he ‘fought’ that the excitement stopped when the first bell rang.”

Larry had to get in a gratuitous dig. No matter how true. No matter how well deserved.

“So look,” Merchant said. “There are probably 10,000 guys out there who could beat McGregor in a boxing contest, and 10,000 guys out there who could beat Mayweather in an MMA-style brawl. But if they put themselves in there and a lot of people are talking about it, my attitude is anyone’s entitled to put up a tent and invite people in and if they want to come in and pay money for what is actually a fraud, then hey—look who’s the President of the United States.

“We’re good at putting shows on like that.”

I hoped the host would change the subject. He didn’t say a word.

“I knew Trump when he was promoting Tyson in Atlantic City,” said Merchant. “He’s a version of Don King; say anything you can to make the sale. They’re business guys, salesmen, circus barkers, con artists…”

If Mayweather bests Rocky’s record by beating a guy who had never boxed, would it be, technically speaking, a “black eye for boxing”?

“Listen,” said Merchant, “how many black eyes do you think boxing has already? If it’s a black eye, it’s another black eye. It will come and go and if they make over $100 million, everybody will say, ‘Well, they put one over.’”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Read More Blogs
Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Paul Magno 03:56pm, 08/26/2017

    Merchant truly has become the face of boxing—elderly, cranky, habitually off the mark, and utterly unable to adapt…

  2. Tokyo Rosenthal 09:41am, 08/26/2017

    Larry’s right about the fight, about MMA and about Trump. Just one more black eye! They’re all a bunch of carnies, pitching us to come on in and see the side show. The other new side show attraction is Clarissa Shields. She’ll come and go and women’s boxing will be no better off than it was before.

  3. Art 05:16am, 08/26/2017

    McGregor landing a ‘big punch’ has as much a chance as a snowflake in Hell.. The best boxers couldn’t do it, so an inexperienced, slow fight rookie can ???  No, no, no !!!

  4. Flash 10:46pm, 08/25/2017

    Mayweather agreed to the 8 ounce gloves because McGregor has truly upset him. Mayweather may be overconfident, or simply right. Mayweather wants to knock McGregor out very badly and he believes that the greater likelihood of this coming to fruition is with the utilization of the lighter gloves that will add additional concussive power to the boxer’s punches. Mayweather wants to punish McGregor as badly as he possibly kind and is undoubtedly quite certain that McGregor as a neophyte boxer has little to no chance of landing anything having with even a remotely slight possibility of hurting him before Mayweather rains a blizzard of blistering leather all over McGregor’s head that he will be so cut up and swollen he won’t even be able to see Mayweather, never mind hit him with a punch of any consequence.  The acquiescence of the Mayweather camp to agree to McGregor’s macho bravado to use the lighter, more dangerous gloves has the great potential to morph into one of those indelible “watch What You Wish For” instances that will be emblazoned on prize fighting history as Floyd tries to Kill Conor, however, McGregor possesses an anesthetic left hand that may possess the very real possibility that if he lands that left cross on the dome then the Irishmen will go home…with the biggest upset in Boxing history.  That is the only reason to even watch this mismatch, because if the lad whose fighting career began long ago on the ‘Emerald Isle’ in the Crumlin Boxing Club has retained those memories when he was a lonesome school boy boxing champion who knew where to put it every time.  McGregor knows how to throw a punch with all of his concussive power embedded in that left that if it lands flush, Mayweather will go down and out.

Leave a comment