HBO Caves To Mayweather, Will Muzzle Merchant

HBO PPV provided the public with boxing’s most memorable showdown in 2011, televising a Sept. 17, 2011, ring exchange that somehow generated hundreds of millions of web video views despite the limited distribution of pay-per-view.

Floyd Mayweather gets HBO to censor Larry Merchant, Jim Lampley

(HBO Allowing Mayweather to Censor Merchant, Lamps? Keep Reading) 

Six days ago, new HBO President Ken Hershman proudly announced an HBO PPV fight on May 5, 2012, that seemingly suggested a rematch of the celebrated combatants whose earlier HBO post-fight exploits produced a mountain of positive media coverage previously unseen by a sport relegated to margins of the mainstream.

I’m talking, of course, about HBO PPV’s much-anticipated return bout already touted by a boxing news site and in a recent chat featuring ESPN boxing writer Dan Rafael as “Merchant-Mayweather II.”

If you’ve only recently been released from capitivity, the first meeting between the principals took place in the ring after Mayweather defeated an overmatched Victor Ortiz with a blow later attributed to Mayweather by Merchant - and citizens of the lower 48 states - as a “sucker punch.

The actual Mayweather-Merchant blow-by-blow featured by HBO after the fight on Sept. 17, 2011:

Larry Merchant: You were in charge of this fight. You were aggressive in trying to take advantage…

Floyd Mayweather: You know what I’m gonna do cause you never give me a fair shake, you know that? So I’m gonna let you talk to Victor Ortiz. I’m through. Put someone else here to give me an interview. Talk to Victor Ortiz!

Larry Merchant: What are you talking about?

Floyd Mayweather: You never give me a fair shake. HBO needs to fire you. You don’t know (expletive) about boxing! You ain’t (expletive) You’re not (expletive)!

Larry Merchant: I wish I was 50 years younger and I’d kick your (expletive).

Floyd Mayweather: You won’t do (expletive)!

Bereft a post-fight injection of well-founded reality by Merchant, longtime boxing reporter Steve Kim would’ve probably spotlighted a short-changed HBO PPV audience. Instead, Kim celebrated what may have been the 80-year-old’s finest professional hour:

In the aftermath of Larry Merchant’s verbal altercation with Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night (shortly after the sucker punch heard ’round the world leveled Victor Ortiz), if you typed “Larry Merchant Mayweather” into Google, you’d get a listing of over a million results.

After telling a tantrum-throwing Mayweather, “I wish I was 50 years younger and I’d kick your ass,” in response to the temperamental pugilist’s claim that Merchant didn’t know “sh*t” about the sport, Merchant immediately became a part of pop culture. Want proof? Go to and you’ll see Merchant, of all people.

As it related to “Star Power,” ironically, it was Merchant, the longtime boxing analyst for HBO Sports, whose star has shined the brightest.

In Merchant’s TMZ interview, taped while the HBO announcer walked through the Vegas airport the day after the fight, the TMZ reporter remarked to a beaming Merchant:

“I gotta give you a lot of credit. Just for that comment alone you should be with HBO Boxing forever. No one (at HBO) should tell you when to go or when not to go.”

Even without that kind of pricelesss publicity, with Mayweather yet another in a long line of boxers, managers and promoters whose only use for fans is as braindead ATMs, never has Merchant and fellow ringside ancient Jim Lampley been more important. The reality of the PPV boxing business is that keeping up appearances with the sport’s precious few drawing cards means selling matches to the public that were never intended as anything other than to top-off of a boxer’s entourage.

Go to that well enough times without the context and credibility Merchant and Lampley provide and the public can only be bought off for so long.

Though if information recently obtained by SbB from multiple sources is any indication, new HBO President Ken Hershman might be willing to give it a try.

While in negotiations for the May 5 Mayweather fight, Mayweather instructed his representative Al Haymon to inform HBO’s Hershman that if the boxer was to fight on HBO in the future, Lampley and Merchant must surrender the right to discuss any and all of Mayweather’s affairs outside the ring on the HBO telecast. The ban would include any discussion of Mayweather’s management team.

Mayweather previously demanded the same ban during past fight negotiations with former longtime HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg but Greenburg never ceded any measure of editorial control of HBO’s own broadcasts to the boxer.

Multiple sources have informed SbB that Hershman, who recently took over for Greenburg, has since agreed to Mayweather’s ban demand.

According to sources Hershman also later informed prominent boxing promoters Bob Arum and Gary Shaw of the on-air editorial concession HBO had granted Mayweather.

Additionally, Hershman agreed to surrender the right of Lampley and Merchant to discuss any outside-the-ring affairs of other fighters repped by Haymon.

Lampley and Merchant have been informed of their new, on-air editorial limits pertaining to Mayweather and other Haymon-repped fighters with the latter ban going into full effect this Saturday when Haymon-repped Adrien Broner fights on HBO.

When contacted Thursday and told that Hershman and HBO had agreed to ban Lampley and Merchant from discussing Mayweather’s affairs outside the ring and the fighter’s management team - along with a similar policy for other Haymon-repped fighters - an HBO Spokesman told SbB, “that’s completely untrue. That didn’t happen.

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Did Pacquiao Pound De La Hoya Into Retirement?

It turns out that maybe the Manila police and Philippine Army knew something about Manny Pacquiao that the rest of us didn’t ahead of his “Super Fight” against Oscar De La Hoya. Like that there would be good reason for the people of the Philippines to be celebrating on Saturday night, because despite having a huge size and weight disadvantage, Pacquiao would be too fast, too smart and - yes - too strong for the aging Golden Boy.

Manny Pacquiao rearranges the beautiful face of Oscar De La Hoya

Whether they were prophets or just looking for a night off, their hero lived up to his end of the bargain, beating De La Hoya’s to a pulp before forcing his corner to throw in the towel before the start of the ninth round. (It was so bad that Jim Lampley was practically in tears at one point while describing how Pacquiao was “rearranging De La Hoya’s beautiful face.” Get a hold of yourself, man.)

Read more…

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Says HBO Is Racially Biased

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is retired from boxing, but that doesn’t mean he’s retired from talking. The outspoken pugilist gave the first interview of his post-boxing life to The Grand Rapids Press and covered a wide range of topics.

Retired Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Money Mayweather says he loved playing the role of the villain, and he’s really retired from boxing. His most interesting comments were directed towards HBO’s boxing coverage and the announcers in particular. Read more…

Oscar De La Hoya Would Never Conspire To Create A Money Doubling Rematch With Floyd Mayweather

OSCAR SCORES $25M+ IN SCRATCH WITHOUT A SCRATCH: It was a Cinco de Mayo to remember for boxing fans here in Los Angeles last weekend as our favorite son, Oscar De La Hoya, once again proved why he is such a universal favorite in the hard-scrabble streets of East L.A.

De La Hoya Mayweather

Any boxer who can steal swing a $25M purse without getting hit a single time in 12 rounds and laugh it up post-fight with Larry Merchant, all the while convincing *knowledgeable* boxing fans that the event was legitimate, will always have the love and respect of Boyle Heights barrio dwellers.

Oscar De La Hoya Floyd Mayweather Jr.

And it’s also comforting to note that Oscar would never, ever conspire with an opponent to set up a scenario in which neither suffered a scratch while both, thanks to a soon to be announced rematch, will ultimately double their money.

Oscar De La Hoya Floyd Mayweather Jr.

No wonder boxing fans are resting easy today, knowing that the integrity of the sport remains as strong as it has ever been - and that it’s safe from the UFC Barbarians at the Gate.

Floyd Mayweather Sr

But don’t take my word for it that boxing is as strong as ever - take the word of all the gigantic celebrities who were on hand for the scam fight last weekend. Like Flavor Flav and Thomas Hearns:

Flavor Flav Thomas Hearns

An apparently anklet-free Jim Lampley and lightly comatosed Larry Merchant:

Larry Merchant Jim Lampley

And everyone’s favorite dirty ol’ man(ager):

Tommy Lasorda

I can only imagine that as the owner of the largest lesbian porn collection on the West Coast, Tommy Lasorda no doubt must’ve been awed Saturday night watching a lesbian survive 12 grueling rounds in the ring with the *heavy-handed* Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Jim Lampleys Second Try Apology At Being Really Really Sorry

SOMETIMES WRONG IS RIGHT - WHEN YOU’RE JIM LAMPLEY: Awful Announcing tracks down a brand-new apology from Jim Lampley, who was recently beat down by a San Diego County Judge for violating a restraining order against a girlfriend who accused him of domestic violence.

Jim Lampley

After the judge sentenced Lampley to probation and and a 52-week domestic violence rehab program (ack!), he quipped. “The thing that I am most guilty of is choosing (the) wrong woman.”

Not surprisingly, Lamps is now all lawyered up, with this new spiffy spin: “I am offering my full and unconditional apology to Miss Sanders and her family, as well as to all my friends, family and professional colleagues who have been unwarrantedly damaged by the events of that night.

Does that mean sales of the George Foreman grill have plummeted? Or Larry Merchant’s movie career is on the wane?

And we’re all hoping against hope that this isn’t also the reason Harold Lederman was passed over as a ringside judge for the latest Cruiserweight title bout at the Golden Nugget.

Lamps, you should be ashamed of yourself!

Lampley’s Girlfriend Was Miss California 2003

So you have Miss California 2003 in a California apartment on New Years Eve… Would you hit it?

Jim Lampley Miss California 2003

Well, Jim Lampley did.

Lampley Charged With Felony Domestic Abuse

LAMPS SUFFERS LOW BLOW: If you thought I have previously plumbed the deepest depths of sports-related tasteless humor in this space, you would be wrong, sir. reports that Jim Lampley was recently arrested felony domestic abuse
. Lampley was also once married to TV newscaster Bree Walker, who was born with deformed hands.

Jim Lampley Arrested Of Domestic Abuse

The comments area of the TMZ reportage of the Lampley abuse story wrought this caustic crack:

Bree Walker

Jim Lampley is a little touchy these days. …

Jim Lampley is a little touchy these days.

The HBO boxing announcer, still smarting over the Barrera-Juarez fiasco last weekend, called into Dave Smith’s KMPC-AM talk show in L.A. twice on Monday to address Smith’s skewering of HBO boxing *experts* Harold Lederman and Larry Merchant.

While stopping short of a shoutfest, Lampley sparred with Smith after the KMPC host said that over the years, Lederman and Merchant consistently have completely different scorecards than the vast majority of ringside observers (press and otherwise).

In other words, HBO hacks score the fight based on which fighter network executives want to win.

The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports a "fear th…

The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports a "fear that shoe companies will cease giving money to schools because NBA players are more effective billboards."

Adidas shoe guru Sonny Vaccaro: "That day is coming, and we’ll let the NCAA pay the bills for shoes and gear. I don’t need the schools in Florida when I have Tracy McGrady to wrap up the whole state."

If that day ever comes, it’ll be the best thing to happen to college hoops.

- MAY 7, 2003

Jim Rome set sail on his "maiden voyage" yesterday as he launched his new TV show on ESPN.

Highlight from the lid-lifter: Panelist Jim Lampley intimating that the pay-for-porn option on Mike Price’s hotel room TV may have cost the Bama coach his gig.

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