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Merchant on Floyd-to-Showtime

2/19/2013

So, is this a game changer? Floyd Mayweather (43-0 with 26 KOs) jumping ship from HBO, for whom he has worked with since 1997, to Showtime. Does this actually change things for the boxing world as a whole, or just for Floyd, as it's just another entity signing his immense check? I posed these question to Larry Merchant, the analyst who called HBO home for 35 years and left his seat there at the end of 2012.

"It's a statement," Merchant told NYFightblog. "It's something Showtime and CBS wanted. They have a lotta bucks. It's not a good thing for HBO. It's a big win and a statement."

Merchant noted that underneath Floyd's first fight on this new deal, against 31-1-1 lefty Robert Guerrero (lives in Gilroy, Calif.; turns 30 on March 27), the contract calls for him to fight up to six times over 30 months. "That's a big deal," he said.

And does Floyd's May 4 foe have a chance to hand him his first defeat? "Floyd will be favored, at very big odds, which will reflect the chance Guerrero has. It could be six to one, or ten to one. There were question marks after Floyd's fight against Miguel Cotto (May 5, 2012, UD12 win). He'll be 36 soon (on Feb. 24). Guerrero hasn't fought any elite fighters, much less at welterweight. For a lot of fans, the Canelo-Trout fight will be a more competitive fight. That's a helluva fight."

While I had him on the phone, I asked the 82-year-old Brooklyn-born ex newspaperman what he is up to these days. "I can't say right now, I'm in discussions with various people," he said. "I can say I am flying to New Orleans tomorrow to make a cameo in a new boxing movie, with Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone. It's Rocky versus Jake (LaMotta)!"

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