Vitali Shaposhnikov – Jealousy, lack of social understanding and acceptance, and general mainstream lifestyle are the direct causes for our society’s rejection of the abnormal. People tend to have less and less patience and respect towards that which they have never seen or experienced.
When Lance Armstrong kept going strong and winning races, people started looking for something that he is doing wrong, hinting at steroid use. There are great minds and athletes all over the world who are being wrongfully accused or badmouthed for things they didn’t commit. It seems that fame has its own side effect. Perfection is harshly judges in any aspect of life..
Larry Merchant has been involved in boxing for well over 45 years. Before joining HBO in 1978, he was a professional columnist for Philadelphia Daily News and the NY Post. This man lives and breathes boxing. He is professional commentator, writer, historian, and an analyst for out sweet science. In many people’s opinion, including my own, he is easily a boxing guru. Many people on the other hand, have a different view of him.
Larry has a temper. He has been known to attack people in the ring and not on one occasion: (http://boxingstop.blogspot.com/2009/06/hbo-boxing-announcer-larry-merchant-at.html). Roy Jones had something to say about him during the Morales vs. Pacquiao fight, stating that Merchant doesn’t really know boxing. At some point in time, Mayweather Jr. blew up at Larry for saying that his fight was not too exciting for the fans. Some would say Larry can be rude at times, and say things that are generally bad for boxing.
Lately, boxing fans as well as the professional boxing sector started saying that Larry is no longer good for boxing. They say he is too old, senile, and just too self centered to do his job. When Merchant said “Castillo used his hands more when he was making his way from Cuba to Florida”, people called him a racist and declared that he needs to be immediately fired by HBO. There is always someone out there looking to find something wrong in Larry Merchant, but this is no easy task.
Merchant is something boxing cannot do without. Max Kellerman is vigorously being groomed to replace Merchant, and take his spot as the HBO boxing analyst. Maybe with time Max can achieve some success in taking over Larry’s job, but he is already too late to become the next Merchant. Our favorite old man with grey hair, wearing a well fitting tuxedo, has the guts and bravery to speak his mind. He is not afraid to ask what we all truly want to know, and is not fearful of saying what we are all really thinking. He does all this for us, on national and sometimes international TV.
When Larry told Mayweather Jr. that his fight was boring, Floyd blew up. Why? Maybe because he felt the truth in it? When Larry interviewed fighters after their fight, he didn’t dilly dally around and ask weaseled questions, instead he got straight to the point. After Floyd defeated Juan Manuel Marquez, Max Kellerman got attitude from Mayweather Jr., saying that Max does too much talking. Max’s response to the verbal attack was: “Jim!” asking the guys in the media room to switch to Jim Lampley so no further embarrassment would occur. He then joined Jim and Emanuel for a post fight discussion. Max was visibly upset and frustrated, but avoided retaliating. But we are in the sport of boxing, not tennis; if you screw things up in tennis its 15-love, if you screw up in boxing, it’s your head. That’s where Larry Merchant’s character and experience comes into play. Larry would not quit, he would finish the whole interview, asking everything that we could possibly want to know.
Merchant’s boxing wisdom is something to be treasured. He knows all, and can respond to any boxing question in a deposition setting within seconds. If Larry really wanted to, he could easily destroy a boxer’s image with a few simple interviews and a short sitting at a keyboard.
There were many instances where Larry’s experience and devotion was evident. He is always ready to go to war for us fans. Whether it’s an interview, or just a behind the scenes editorial, Larry is always ready to talk boxing. HBO is digging a hole for itself, and its digging a deep one. Boxing has been a sport in decline for some time now, and making it less exciting and more linear is not going to help. Whether you are an avid hockey fan, basketball junkie, or a football enthusiast, everyone knows Larry Merchant. John Madden to football is what Larry Merchant is to boxing. A household name that we all should treasure and respect.