Larry Merchant Says "Spontaneous Combustion" Caused Mayweather Altercation

Larry Merchant felt personally and professionally insulted by Floyd Mayweather Jr on Saturday night. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

In an ESPN radio interview, HBO Sports analyst Larry Merchant spoke about his post-fight blowup with Floyd Mayweather Jr:

"I'm in a long line of media people that he feels have not given him as much credit as he gives himself. ... I'm interviewing Mayweather, and I think he's absorbing the boos in the crowd, which are getting more explosive, more inflammatory, and he understands he's not going to get all the credit he deserves again. And that's what I think set him off, in my opinion."

... [Asked] about his own response, Merchant said he had no idea where it came from.

"It was spontaneous combustion," he said. "You're getting personally insulted as well as professionally insulted, and I was just trying my best to ask the questions that everybody wanted answered. And suddenly he assaults me that way, and I just, you know, went off.

The explosion from Mayweather, leading to Merchant threatening Floyd via time machine, is one of the most-talked about stories that came out of the fight.

But the idea of Larry Merchant feeling insulted by a fighter -- who was insulting him -- is kind of rich. Merchant has insulted plenty of fighters over his decades in the sport. I don't even think Larry is really off in his assessment of Mayweather as a "prima donna" and control freak, but as much as part of me kind of thinks Victor Ortiz got what he had coming from Floyd, another part of me thinks Merchant got what he had coming, too. And vice versa, in the case of Mayweather vs Merchant. It did greatly tickle me, I admit, that Floyd tried to get tough with an 80-year-old man who didn't take a backwards step.

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