By Gregory Stangrit, allboxing.ru
Larry Merchant is a veteran analyst and commentator for HBO, and a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Merchant has worked for the channel since 1978, and in this recent interview he talks about Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez and other topics.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., why doesn't he want to fight Manny Pacquiao?
Merchant: Here a couple of points. First of all, Mayweather has earned a lot of money since the fight with Оscar De La Hoya. Secondly, I don't think he's afraid of Pacquiao. But I think for the first time in his life, Mayweather believes that he can go into a fight in which he is not absolutely sure of victory. He very carefully built his image on the fact that he had no injuries, although it has never mattered in boxing, and he used his dominance in boxing for the negotiations. Arguing that "if I have to fight with this guy, then I have to get the best."
On the criticism of Mayweather fighting Marquez, and whether or not Pacquiao is too small for Mayweather
Merchant: Juan Manuel Marquez vs Mayweather was a brilliant step from a business perspective. Returning after more than one year of inactivity, and facing a smaller, aged-boxer. However, Marquez had a big name, and there was the question of Mayweather's long absence, amd Mayweather's return to the ring attracted people's attention. Pacquiao has had two close fights with Marquez on a smaller scale, but on the other hand Pacquiao stood up and fought with boxers who Mayweather has refused to negotiate with - Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.
Pacquiao proved that he can fight with larger opponents. When they were 16 years olds, they both weighed 106 pounds, the only difference was that Pacquiao was already a professional, and Mayweather was still an amateur. Floyd moved up in weight ahead of Pacquiao, and now he is a natural welterweight, and Pacquiao is probably now welterweight boxer. He is smaller than Mayweather, but he is not flinching, and enters the ring against big and tough opponents.
Should Pacquiao fight Sergio Martinez?
Merchant: This is like the time when everyone wanted to fight Oscar De La Hoya, and now the money is centered around Manny Pacquiao. Boxing is a sport, but business too. And Martinez's desire is understandable. He does not have a large number of fans in the U.S. and, of course, he wants to fight with Pacquiao. But I don't think Pacquiao, who moved up to fight at welterweight, should fight the world champion at middleweight.
With whom should Pacquiao have fought on May 7?
Merchant: I think he should have fought Marquez. It already has a story because of their first two fights. But I don't think it should take place at welterweight. But among all of the possible opponents [with the exception of Mayweather], Shane Mosley may very well be the most dangerous. I could cite all sorts of bizarre arguments, for example, what would happen if Mosley fought with Marquez? Or how would Mosley look in a fight with Michael Katsidis? I understand that many people have already written Mosley off.
But despite the two recent fights, one of which that I believe he won [Sergio Mora] and with whom no one would have looked good, I think that even 75% of Mosley could cause problems for Pacquiao.