Larry Merchant, Hang Up the Mic
The only thing worse than announcers lauding a boring fight are announcers pooh-poohing one a mediocre one. Sure Klitschko-Haye was not as good as we thought it might be, but do we really need to hear Larry Merchant tell us that one of the contenders is “wetting” himself?
Although I applaud HBO for even putting commentators that don’t scream wildly with every punch, or insinuate non-existent background stories – like say ESPN – lately Merchant sounds depressed. It was hard to remain neutral scoring the rounds as Merchant over and over again dug into the “Hayemaker.” At one point Jim Lampley almost reprimanded him saying, “You’re in an odd form tonight, Larry.” Thirty years is a long time to do anything. Could it be Merchant is burnt out?
A conversation about Larry Merchant’s recent groggy commentary has been going on at Boxingscene since the Klitschko-Haye fight. Although I don’t know if, as some in the forum suggest, his bias is against African-American fighters, however I do agree that he can’t stand to watch unorthodox technical boxing a la Floyd Mayweather Jr., Bernard Hopkins. Older fans probably feel the same way, but I don’t have to listen to them; Larry on the other hand is inescapable.
Hell, at the end of the day, it’s a sport, and most people want to relax and enjoy it. Life is hard enough, do we really need sports announcers telling us things we like suck? Imagine watching the NBA playoffs, or the Superbowl with commentators insulting the players, or saying, This team is horrible and nowhere near as good as teams used to be.
Why aren’t kids watching boxing? Maybe in part because this old pendant can’t stop himself from telling us how the sport is a state of decline.
Larry can ask all the boxers he wants when they’ll retire, but when being a boxer announcer feels like a telecasted sigh, maybe it’s time to hang up the microphone for good.
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