Larry Merchant Retires: HBO Boxing Commentator Ends 35 Year Run

Longtime HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant, 81, last night called his last fight for HBO.

Merchant’s contract with the cable network was expiring, and according to the New York Daily News, “both sides decided it was as good a time as any to do this. “They will part company on good terms.”

He was at ringside in Houston last night for the finale of his HBO career to call a fight between junior featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire and former titleholder Jorge Arce.

Merchant, who had started his career as a print sports columnist, provided pugilistic commentary on HBO for 35 years

The Bleacher Report had this to say about the highly regarded boxing analyst:

“Merchant was without a doubt one of the most respected boxing minds in the business … His unique insight into the sport, willingness to say whatever was on his mind and, most of all, fearlessness toward even the biggest names will all be missed from ringside.”

ESPN offered this insight into the career of Larry Merchant:

“Merchant joined HBO as an analyst in 1978 and has been ringside to call hundreds of major fights through the years involving just about every star champion in the sport as well as to handle post-fight in-ring interviews after the fight.”

Merchant said that he will “parachute in” occasionally to give TV boxing commentary, but he also added that he wants to stay active according to Yahoo! Sports:

“I’m not the retiring kind. I look forward to my next act. I’ve had a few discussions with people. It could be in writing. It could be in television. It could be in the new media space. I’m going to see what develops and see what I feel I should do.”

Merchant had a famous exchange with Floyd Mayweather after the latter defeated Victor Ortiz in September 2011. Merchant ended the post-fight interview by telling Mayweather, “I wish I was 50 years younger and I would kick your ass.” Watch the video of the Merchant-Mayweather confrontation below: