Larry Merchant refers to the sport of boxing as the "theater of the unexpected." But sometimes the wacky goings on in the sweet science defy the imaginations of even the most been-around-the-block fightwatcher.
It's a fair bet that the 80-year-old Merchant, who was born in Brooklyn and worked at the New York Post in the '70s, didn't wake up Saturday morning and predict that that evening, he'd nearly get into a fistfight with 34-year-old Floyd Mayweather, maybe the best prizefighter in the world today.
If you missed the drama on Sunday morning ...
After Mayweather had the Marquess of Queensberry shooting ashes out his coffin from spinning so hard, because Mayweather scored a KO4 win in Las Vegas by smashing foe Victor Ortiz while Ortiz was apologizing for headbutting him, Merchant interviewed Mayweather.
The HBO analyst said the crowd was in an uproar because many felt that he took shots at Ortiz "unfairly." He asked Floyd for his side.
Mayweather said he got hit with a dirty shot, and blamed Ortiz for not protecting himself at all times. Merchant tried to redirect Floyd when he launched into a promotional spiel, and the situation went from slightly uncomfortable to tense.
They watched the replay of the possibly dirty KO. Floyd said Ortiz could have a rematch.
Merchant tried to continue the Q&A and Floyd abruptly tried to end it. "You know what I'm going to do, because you don't ever give me a fair shake, so I'm going to let you talk to Victor Ortiz," Mayweather said. "I'm through. Put someone else up here to give me an interview."
"What are you talking about?" Merchant replied, in a fiesty fashion.
"You never give me a fair shake, HBO needs to fire you," the boxer said. "You don't know s--t about boxing. You ain't s---. You not s----. "
"I wish I was fifty years younger and I'd kick your ass," Merchant replied, up in Mayweather's grill, as close as Ortiz got.
"You won't do s---," Mayweather said, as his crew pulled him away.
This was not the first time to two had beefed with such rancor. NYFightblog recalls Mayweather and Merchant sparring back in 2006. Check back in the next post to get the lowdown on their first tussle.
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