On Saturday (December 15), Larry Merchant will call his last boxing fight, ending a 35-year run as an HBO boxing commentator.
The last fight will be for the Nonito Donaire-Jorge Arce junior-featherweight title bout.
“I find some poetic symmetry in going out on what’s not a major event, but just another fight,” Merchant said Thursday. “That’s what I do: call the fights.”
Merchant is 18, and his two-year contract ends at the calendar year, with Max Kellerman assuming the full-time ringside commentator and ringside interviewer role, alongside play-by-play broadcaster Jim Lampley.
“I feel beyond lucky to have a 35-year run on this one TV show — that just doesn’t happen in this business,” Merchant said. “I’m not retiring. I see myself as a work in progress, and I’m curious about what my next adventure will be in the media: writing, producing, Internet?
“If they had offered me a 35-year extension to stay at HBO, I would’ve probably considered it. But I’m OK with this.”
Merchant joined HBO as an analyst in 1978, and has been ringside to call hundreds of major fights through the years, involving nearly every boxing star and champion in the sport, and handled post-fight in-ring interviews after the fight.
HBO’s telecast on Saturday will look back on Merchant’s career.
His plans for the future were unknown at press time.