By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, former HBO analyst Larry Merchant was again in the thick of the action as WBC junior middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez added the WBA bauble to his collection with a unanimous decision victory over former champion Austin Trout.
Calling the contest from ringside for Golden Boy Promotions’ international broadcast, Merchant seemed to favor Alvarez’s precise punching over Trout’s determined fortitude, with a seventh round knockdown scored by ‘Canelo’ certainly helping his cause.
Three judges would agree, as scores of 118-109, 116-111, and 115-112 all favored the Jalisco, Mexico native.
Shortly after the bout, I touched base with Merchant, who shared with me his thoughts on Alvarez’s rising star status as well as his opinion as to why a fight with pound for pound stalwart Floyd Mayweather likely isn’t on the near horizon.
This is what Merchant had to share.
“I thought it was a good speed chess match and I thought the boxer-puncher beat the boxer. Canelo landed the heavier shots, scored the knockdown; I thought he won the fight.”
Poise and intuitions…
“I think that he showed the same qualities tonight, against a top fighter, that he showed as an 18, 19 year old against lesser fighters. He has tremendous poise, intuitions in the ring, and he can box and he can bang. And he knows when to do either one. I think it’s an important win. He attracted 39-plus thousand people.”
Officially ending the Mayweather-Pacquiao hype?
“For the last few years we’ve heard ‘Mayweather and Pacquiao’ and ‘Pacquiao and Mayweather’. A 22-year old kid has ended the conversation at the highest level. Do I want to see him for Mayweather? Yes. Is that going to happen? I don’t think it’s likely to happen anytime soon.”
Alvarez becoming a proven attraction…
“He’s proven himself as a star attraction. He answered the questions in a very positive way about why he was perceived and turned out to be a champion. He has a chance to be a supernova, not just a star. Because he is such an attraction, everybody within 10 pounds is not going to want to fight him. And it sets up some interesting potential fights [aside from] Mayweather.”
Why a fight with Floyd Mayweather likely isn’t next…
“I don’t think it is, because Mayweather is supposed to have a six-fight contract [with Showtime] and usually a fighter doesn’t want to put that kind of a deal in jeopardy. And I think that Alvarez poses a serious threat to him. He’s a naturally bigger guy, he’s strong, he’s tough. I don’t see that happening sooner rather than later. But, in the meantime, he becomes a star attraction all over.”
Staying involved in covering fights after calling his last HBO bout this past December…
“I like doing it. I couldn’t do it for all those years if I didn’t like doing it. I’m in the position now, where, if it’s a good fight and it’s in a good place and if somebody makes me an offer, I’m a freelance guy and I’m for hire.”