By Phil D. Jay
Commentator Larry Merchant is set to square up to Floyd Mayweather eight months on from his post-fight spat with the five-weight world champion following his defeat of Victor Ortiz.
The 81 year-old now famously coined the phrase ‘If I was 50 years younger, I’d kick your ass’ to Mayweather in his after-fight interview, leading to the story going global. The veteran broadcaster is taking it all in his stride as the two lock horns again on Saturday night as Mayweather fights Miguel Cotto and expected the nod from HBO to call the fight.
"I wasn't surprised. It's an entertaining sidebar to the main event, and I think it's the right choice," Merchant told Lange Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times.
"In part because of people's expectations of a 'rematch' or something like that. What happened last September went viral and there's a natural curiosity about it."
"He's had this problem with other media people. I'm not the only one in this club. Anybody who does what we do — ask questions and push for answers, who aren't part of his fan club or worship him … can be perceived as the enemy. For me, it's not personal and it's not a popularity contest. It's just doing what needs to be done to get the story. There are no hard questions if you have the answers. I don't think I'm any tougher on him than anyone else. Perhaps one issue is he presents himself as the villain before the fight, and then wants everyone to turn on a dime and adore him immediately after."
Merchant then commented on now infamous catchphrase when asked by Pugmire if he believes he could have actually kicked Mayweather’s ass if he was 30 - replying: "If I snuck up behind him and he wasn't looking, yeah, I probably could've kicked his [rear]. Otherwise, I have my doubts."
Mayweather, 35, is aiming to claim his 43rd professional victory at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and whatever the result, all eyes will be on ‘Money’ and Merchant as the cameras roll for round two.
Phil D. Jay covers boxing for worldboxingnews.net
Tags: Floyd Mayweather Jr. , Larry Merchant