One of my first reactions after Larry Merchant and Floyd Mayweather almost scuffled following the shocking end to the Mayweather-Victor Ortiz in Las Vegas on Sept. 17 was, Well, we will never see Larry Merchant call another Floyd Mayweather fight.
Merchant disagrees. He told NYFightblog that there was no blowback from HBO management, and that he thinks many people would "look forward to a rematch." (Like a cagy ring vet, he hedged when I asked him if he meant between him and Floyd, or Floyd and Ortiz. I can safely state that there is more interest in Mayweather-Merchant than another fight with Ortiz.)
"It's been a positive," the octogenarian analyst told me during a Friday phoner. It probably didn't hurt that the replay numbers for the fight were through the roof, reportedly, as news of the Floyd vs Larry post-fight fracas went viral.
It was a positive in the Merchant household as well. Wife Patricia, who's been hitched to Larry for 32 years, snapped up a "I Wish I Was 50 Years Younger, And I'd Kick Your Ass" t-shirt, and has taken to wearing it while she does her workouts. She was watching the fight with a friend, and they were "shrieking and rolling on the floor with laughter," he told me.
While Merchant allowed that on the next such occasion he might handle things differently, and kick it back to Jim Lampley, because he realizes fighters can be agitated while still in the heat of battle, he looks back on the event and says: "It was a giggle.
"It was an exhilarating few days on the merry-go-round, then it slowed down, and I got off. I call boxing the theater of the unexpected. And this was one time I was involved."
That beef spurred a week's worth of water-cooler debate. My take: I tune in to boxing to be entertained. That was entertaining. And it left me marveling at Merchant's fire, and hoping I have similar spunk when and if I get there.
PS If you want to order one of those t-shirts, here is a link I found.