If anyone watched the Hatton v. Pacquio fight last night, the biggest loser wasn't Ricky Hatton. It was Larry Merchant whose inane lipid-eyed commentary damages more brains than Pacquio's right hook.
Larry Merchant, the tuxedoed stooge, is boxing's old joke told over and over again. He's the Chris Matthews of sports TV. He never prepares any notes or questions. Instead, he relies on his mind to pull out questions that alternate between insulting—like those asked after the Tyson v. Holmes fight and the Mayweather Jr. v. Carlos Baldomir—and just plain insipid, most of the questions he asked Pacquio last night. "What were you thinking going into the fight?' "Did this fight mean a lot to you?" It's like his mind is thinking "Flapjacks. Flapjacks Flapjacks!!!"
Interviewing a fighter after a fight can never be easy. Either he is demoralized or he is ecstatic. In either case he wants to get the fuck out of the ring. But these post-fight interviews are collective shame-inducing events with Merchant on the mic. HBO Sports has a host of actually really good commentators—among them Manny Steward, Lennox Lewis and Max Kellerman,—who actually know boxing and aren't drunk assholes. It's time to send the blue-eyed devil out to pasture and save us all the added indignity of watching a buffoon drown in the verbal mire of his own make.
Some of his best moments are below.