By Phil D. Jay
Larry Merchant has been vocal in his opinion of Floyd Mayweather’s next and possible future opponent as the veteran analyst prepares for another run-in with the five-weight world champion on Saturday night.
The 81 year-old will cover the Mayweather v Cotto event for HBO, as he did Floyd’s last bout against Victor Ortiz in September, when the pair had an infamous spat at the end of the fight with Merchant threatening to ‘kick Mayweather’s ass.’
As the two gear-up for another post-fight interview at the MGM Grand this weekend, Merchant has been far from approving of Mayweather’s next challenge in 154lb champion Miguel Cotto and believes that there seems to be only one result in Las Vegas.
“Mayweather has been so prudent in picking his opponents after defeating De La Hoya (five years’ ago), there's a built-in sense that 'If he agreed to fight Cotto, he must be 1,000% sure he's going to win.' Cotto's had a terrific career, he's fought everybody who's been available to him, but there's a question about his best being in the past,” Merchant told Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times.
Merchant is also of the belief that with WBC light-middleweight champion Saul Alvarez providing chief support against Shane Mosley on the night, that Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions are eyeing up a huge unification between ‘Canelo’ and ‘Money’ later in the year.
"The card is built for Mayweather to set up a fight versus 'Canelo',” explained Merchant.
“It couldn't be more graphic, that if Canelo looks good and given his standing as a young star among the largest market of boxing fans, that seems to be the direction Mayweather is pointing.
“They're not hiding it. They're virtually advertising it. ... The idea that both Mayweather and Pacquiao have made huge amounts of money versus other opponents who are less threatening makes it a disincentive to make the fight everyone wants to see.
“Mayweather can fight Canelo in the fall, and Pacquiao can fight Marquez v Rios winner.
“They have these options to make tens of millions of dollars, and the longer the fight doesn't get made, the more likely something will happen that it won't get made," he added.
Floyd Mayweather v Miguel Cotto is live on HBO pay-per-view and BoxNation (UK) later tonight.
Phil D. Jay covers boxing for worldboxingnews.net