Floyd Mayweather and Larry Merchant -- the HBO analyst who almost threw down while Merchant interviewed Floyd in-ring after Mayweather scored a controversial KO win over Victor Ortiz in Vegas Saturday -- do not, shall we say, send each other holiday cards.
After Mayweather beat Carlos Baldomir via unanimous decision on Nov. 4, 2006, in Las Vegas, Merchant asked him post-fight if he thought he was entertaining in the fight, implying he wasn't, because people were booing and "leaving after the tenth and eleventh round."
"You always give me a hard time," Mayweather said. "You never give me the credit I really deserve."
"You got a shutout, we all gave you credit for that," Merchant responded.
"I appreciate that, but you don't give me the credit I deserve. You good at commentating, stick to commentating, let me do the fighting. I'm the best at what I do, that's why I'm with HBO, HBO is my family, HBO is my home. You can learn boxing, come to my camp, you can learn boxing from Pretty Boy Floyd. You just a commentator, stick to commentating."
"That's exactly what I'm doing and I'm asking you the question," the analyst answered.
"It's more like this, don't always be a critic and be so negative, let's be positive. I got the victory tonight, under any circumstances, so all you can do is respect me for that. Every time a fighter come out there, I know you keep your fingers crossed. You hoping and wishing that a fighter can beat me. I'm the king of the throne and Floyd Mayweather is here to stay," the fighter said, as Merchant tried to interject. "I can win under any circumstances. You always talk, so let me do the talking ... Larry Merchant is just a commentator, he don't know nothing about boxing."
Merchant didn't get flustered, and continued his interview, asking Floyd if he wanted to fight Oscar De La Hoya. Yes, Floyd said.
"Thank you very much, congratulations again, Floyd," Merchant said, before sending it back to Jim Lampley.
Merchant has as many haters as admirers among fight fans. Some don't care for his speaking style, some think he is biased in his commentary. I admit I'm an unabashed fan. And I can only hope I'm as sharp, and ready to rumble, at age 80, as Larry is.