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Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Looking forward to Floyd-Cotto, and Floyd-Merchant too

By Michael Woods

I am looking forward to the Saturday night PPV clash between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto, for sure. But I must put it out there, I am not giving Cotto's a snowball's chance in hell in this era of global warming to beat Mayweather. That doesn't, however, mean I am not curious about what will unfold, both during the fight, and after. You may recall the fight after Mayweather's last fight, when he and the inimitable Larry Merchant, the pugnacious poet laureate, nearly threw down. Right after Mayweather finished off Victor Ortiz in round four, Merchant questioned him, in the ring, about the fight, and the curious circumstances in the final round. Mayweather, long a card-carrying member of the Not That Big A Fan of Larry Merchant Anti-Fanclub, quickly grew heated. He declared that Merchant didn't know jack about the sport, that he should be fired and that  the interview was over, basically. Merchant reacted in a manner totally unexpected for a octogenerian: "If I were fifty years younger, I'd kick your ass." I hooted, and announced my pay-per-view money well spent.

Fast forward back to today. HBO maintains that Merchant, who is working the Mayweather-Cotto card in  Vegas Saturday, is slated to talk to Floyd afterwards, as is custom when he works in the analyst chair.

I asked Mayweather's right-hand man, Leonard Ellerbe about that situation, wondering if they had plotted out a plan if and when Mayweather and Merchant are in each others' vicinity?

"Why talk about that?" Ellerbe answered. "He don't think about Larry Merchant. Floyd isn't into things the media is into. He could care less about Larry Merchant. He does what he does."

I noted that in the first episode of HBO's 24/7 infomercial-docuseries, Mayweather said he wouldn't talk to his nemesis, that he would instead head to the dressing room and exult with pal 50 Cent.

"That's what he said, that's what he's doing," Ellerbe replied. "He's not thinking about no interviews. He's going to dominate his opponent, put on outstanding performance for the fans, please his fans, get his check and go about his business, in that order."

I asked HBO if they had a contingency plan, if Mayweather won and refused to speak to Merchant. "We are not going to speculate," spokesman Kevin Flaherty answered. "Let's hope for a great night of boxing."

The Brooklyn-born Merchant has said he's ready and willing to do his job, which is to query the winner and loser post-bout. So, just a little subplot to be aware of if you are planning on watching the event on Saturday night.