With HBO saying goodbye to the boxing world on Saturday night in Carson, Calif., fans will get a farewell from one of the most familiar faces on boxing TV for the last four decades, as Larry Merchant will return to the airwaves.
Merchant, it’s reported by ESPN, will talk to longtime broadcast partner Jim Lampley between one of the three fights.
“Nothing cosmic, but I’m pleased to be invited to hang with the old gang, and fans, one last time.”
Merchant, now 87, was a key figure on HBO boxing broadcasts from 1978 until his retirement in 2012. He was poetic at times, blunt at others, and never afraid to ask tough questions. Perhaps the most memorable moment of his long run came near the end of it, in 2011, when he was questioning Floyd Mayweather after Mayweather’s controversial knockout of Victor Ortiz on HBO pay-per-view.
With a combative Mayweather giving Merchant guff, Merchant replied, “I wish I was 50 years younger, and I’d kick your ass!”
But that was just one of many colorful Merchant moments over the years. He wasn’t afraid to criticize a fighter to their face, which won him fans and “haters” alike over many years.
Personally, I think it’ll be nice to see him back one last time on HBO. If we’re going out, let’s see the whole gang.