For 35 years, Larry Merchant has been ringside for HBO, calling some of the biggest fights in the sport. Last night in Houston, when Nonito Donaire knocked out Jorge Arce in three rounds, Merchant called his final fight for the company.
The 81-year-old journalist will stay with HBO Sports in some capacity, though an exact role hasn't been determined yet. He'll be around, though, because a guy like Larry Merchant doesn't just disappear.
Here's what Merchant said on the HBO broadcast last night, alongside his longtime broadcast partner, Jim Lampley:
"This is the final, final thoughts. I've been lucky to be in this sporting life for a long, long time. But the luckiest thing that ever happened to me was to join a start-up company that became what HBO is today, a breakthrough creative world network. And nothing I've done could match that.
"But, now, there's another future. Might be here, it might be there, it might be anywhere, it might be everywhere. I can't possibly thank all the talented people and friends who I see as the adults who really make all this happen, and who have allowed me to play in the sandbox for all these years. But I do want to single out a few people who started this enterprise and nurtured it: Michael Fuchs, my friend Seth Abraham, the matchmaker Lou DiBella, and the executive producer Ross Greenburg.
"I also want to thank the fans, those who cheered and jeered me. The fighters who put a part of their lives at stake so that our lives can be richer. The media, my colleagues and friends. And my family, my wife Patricia. They're far-flung and throughout the country. They've always supported me. And just imagine living for at least 35 years with an old fight degenerate.
"And I have to thank you, Jim, for your generosity over the years. We didn't make it as long as The Rolling Stones, but we did pass The Beatles."