All hail Larry Merchant

06.12.07 - By Lacey Kyler: As many of my Mushroom Mag readers probably know, I am a huge boxing fan and an even bigger fan of HBO's commentator, Larry Merchant. He is quite a character and one who undeniably raises the entertainment value of even the most monotonous of match-ups..

Lacey KylerFor almost 30 years, HBO has had a gem in Larry Merchant as far as unexpected laughs and classic quotes go, so why, why why WHY would they replace him with the dull, predictable, and insufferable voice of Max Kellerman? Larry Merchant is a boxing institution. His hilarious quotes coupled with his frankness while performing a post fight interview is unrivaled.

I have tuned into fights that I would normally have no interest in watching just to hear what he has to say about it. I have even known people who are not particularly boxing fans, but love the funny old man with the bad attitude. The thing I admire most about Larry is that he does not pretend that we are all blind to the fact that we are watching a boring fight. He tells it like it is. He is a man of the fans, not a network puppet, spewing 'oohs and ahhs' where they do not belong.

Larry is, of course, not without critics. Many feel that he is past his prime and should step down. There are even those who feel that Larry's harsh critiques and brazen manner hurt the sport of boxing. First of all, lighten up, Francis. Everyone loves controversy, and controversy sells. Boxing needs all the fans they can get right now, and anyone who is honest with himself will realize that Larry's colorful commentary is much more appealing than Kellerman's overexcited gushing.

Adulation from Larry is not a guaranteed right, as with some commentators. It is earned by putting on a good show for the fans, and many people do not like the fact that he does not promote the less than exciting showmen. He expects a fighter to be hungry, willing to take on anyone, and eager to make it an interesting fight. Much less than that, and he is not impressed.

Some will say that if a fan does not enjoy the more technical aspects of the sweet science and finds such bouts unexciting, then he does not know boxing, but not everyone has the time to be an analyst, especially the casual fans. I believe in fun, excitement, and entertainment and anything less than that is a waste of my time, and all too often, money.

I would like to thank Larry for not making me feel as if I am missing something due to my lack of tactical boxing knowledge. The majority of fans, even more than me, just want to see someone get KTFO after an interesting battle and that is exactly what Larry promotes. This is never a bad thing, because leaving it up to the judges is always a gamble.

I believe that as long as his wit is still intact, and he continues to call fighters out on national television, Larry should hold a place on HBO's starting lineup. He may be old, and he may be slow, and who knows, he may even throw a few back before fight time, but don't we all? So take your seat at ringside, oh great legend of the microphone, throw out some unforgettable lines and do us proud this weekend. I expect great things from this fight and cannot wait to hear the classic Larry Merchant give his take on all that is to come December 8th.

Lacey Kyler runs on advice column at the Mushroom Mag. If you have any pressing questions in your life and are in need of some advice, feel free to contact her at:

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Article posted on 07.12.2007

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