By Luis Sandoval
Former HBO analyst and commentator Larry Merchant was on hand at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, CA as he got a firsthand look at Zou Shiming whose fight he will be calling from ringside on July 27th in Macao, China.
Merchant has entertained us through out the years with his wit and entertaining yet informative rants while at HBO. For anyone who has ever interviewed Merchant, you always know you will get a great interview and great insight only he can provide.
On this day I asked Larry for his thoughts on a topic that had fans surprised as it was said HBO is not interested in having WBO/WBA Super Bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux back on their airwaves. The last time we saw Rigondeaux on HBO was this past April where he thoroughly outclassed highly ranked and pound for pound fighter Nonito Donaire.
While Rigondeaux’s performance was effective and dominant, some thought it simply wasn’t exciting enough and instead of praise, Rigondeaux received criticism.
Merchant was asked what his thoughts were regarding HBO’s decision in regards to Rigondeaux.
“I congratulate them. Rigondeaux is a beautiful boxer but this is prize fighting and prize fighting is entertainment. If you can't make the people want to come back and see you, it’s just like going to a restaurant; they don't feed you well, you don't come back. They feed you well, you come back. And he's got to know that this is a professional game and it’s not an amateur game” Merchant would tell BoxingScene.
While some will agree with Larry, some will disagree and wonder why it’s Rigondeaux who’s been forced to be the martyr in this situation. Whatever stance fans take, Rigondeaux will need to continue his reign as unified champion off network television for the time being.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @Truewest007. You can also tune in to BoxingScene Radio, Boxingscene’s official audio show every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with hosts Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.