When Boxing Writers Talk: David P. Greisman And Tim Starks On Larry Merchant, Rick Ross, The Perils Of Aging And More

(Above: a video Dave and I talked about separate from our WBWT Gchat session. And another one we didn’t talk about: Larry Merchant roughing up  someone during a interview!)

me: It’s like that y’all, it’s like that y’all, it’s like this and like that and like that y’all.

David: You know, if I were five years older I’d write the shit out of you.

me: If you were five or six years older, you’d be 95 years old.

me: Did you see the “Larry Merchant” trending on Twitter stuff on Sunday? Funniest shit in a while.

One of the jokes was like I just said.

Another was like, “Larry Merchant is the realest nigga alive.”

David: Do you think Larry Merchant was in the right?

me: Another was like, “Call me Big Meech, Larry Merchant. Whippin’ work, hallelujuah.” Great Rick Ross reference.

I do think he was on fair ground. But as a holier-than-thou mofo who’s interested in journalistic standards (at least, that’s what I’ve been called for wanting to, you know, keep people to the basic minimum standards): DO YOU?

David: I’ve lost my composure with a couple of insolent sources before, but I’ve never told any of them I wanted to beat them up. I might’ve thought it, though. It’s hard to blame Larry, though. Floyd was looking for a reaction, and he loves to push buttons.

What I’m wondering about is the reaction of the regular boxing fan to this fight’s ending.

We hardcore followers can blame Victor Ortiz, blame he deserves. However, how many casual fight fans turned off their televisions happy? They’ll blame Mayweather for that, too.

me: Yeah. I was overly optimistic, I expect, about what casual fans would think of all the shit that went down. Late yesterday and all day today, I’ve heard a lotta “Fuck this boxing” rhetoric. You?

David: I saw some of that from friends who don’t typically watch the sport. The big pay-per-view fights might not get the biggest possible audiences, but they will draw interest from those who’d otherwise be watching something else.

Most of these folks are people who do not and did not spend money to watch the fight. They found streams or joined friends. Some people might say that there’s no lost opportunity if these people aren’t happy. But they were potential customers, people who might’ve watched boxing more often, or at least watched Mayweather more often.

Then again – and this is a point I made in today’s column – people will come back and watch Floyd Mayweather Jr. again and again no matter what he does and no matter what he says.

me: Right. POTENTIAL customers.

David: Same thing happened with Tyson.

me: Yeah, but over time, Tyson’s antics eroded the fan base. I genuinely believe that.

David: Tyson’s losses eroded the fan base. Him getting old against Lennox Lewis was the proverbial final straw. His last fights were events, but not EVENTS.

Speaking of eroded, where does Victor Ortiz stand?

me: I guess I still talk to a lot of people who, when I ask them about why they don’t like boxing — or they volunteer it, because people are dicks — one of the more common answers is, “I lost interest when Tyson bit off Holyfield’s ear.”

David: Yes, but your friends are older than me.

How many years between Holyfield-Tyson 2 and Lewis-Tyson? Those five years I mentioned.

me: As for Ortiz: I was about as close as he got to a sincere advocate. I’m off the bandwagon. Screw that bandwagon! I’ve got some hay straws up my crotch and it’s uncomfortable.

It’s true. I’m old. Very, very, old. Larry Merchant-old.

David: I think Ortiz gets a fight with Andre Berto, so long as the price tag for the rematch isn’t too high for HBO.

me: I’d watch it. But jebus. That guy got a screw loose. Somethin’ ain’t right. What is WRONG with him?

David: He’s literally a tree, man.

me: LITERALLY, like.

And I was like.

You know.


David: Top three prospective opponents for Mayweather’s next match?

me: 1. MANNY PACQUIAO (cynical snicker)

2. Amir Khan

3. Erik Morales

#3 was a total lie. I’m a liar.

David: I’m told Erik Morales has been dreaming of a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. since Mayweather was nine years old.

me: I’ve been thinking about it since Larry Merchant was 50 years younger!

David: Sticking with the old man theme, is it just me or is Joe Cortez taking too much blame for what happened?

me: It’s not just you. But I’m getting real scientific on this one. He motioned them to resume action. Universal “palm-to-palm resume action” signal. Ortiz moved forward. He clearly understood. Yeah, Cortez shoulda been paying attention thereafter. But once he made the motion, it’s on the fighters, mainly. Non?

David: He doesn’t look good for taking his eyes off the action. But his taking his eyes off the action didn’t influence the action itself.


Haters wanna hate Joe Cortez. He deserve some hate. But he’s not to BLAME, per se.

David: Looking back at the tape, what amazed me was just how often Ortiz was blatantly butting Mayweather. If anything, Cortez could’ve warned him much earlier.

me: Saying “hater” makes me a child, in some boxing circles. Mmm, eating crayons and paste right now….

Concur. He does it like three times, the head butting.

David: Cortez has deserved much of the criticism he’s received in recent years. In this case, however, he’s being targeted much in the same way that Mayweather gets criticized no matter what.

me: You’re asking something unreasonable, David P. Greisman: for boxing fans and writers to segregate their biases from what their eyes perceive objectively.

David: If I were five years older than you, I’d be as pessimistic and persnickety as you. But I’d still be the looks of this duo.

me: F you, I’m dead sexy.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.