As he always does after big fights, Merchant stepped into the ring after Mayweather beat Ortiz and began to pepper Mayweather with tough questions. But these questions were tougher than most because the circumstances were unprecedented: Mayweather had just knocked Ortiz out at a point when the referee had appeared to call time out, and the fans at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas were loudly booing Mayweather, rather than celebrating his latest victory.
As Merchant's questions heated up, Mayweather became enraged.
"You never give me a fair shake. HBO needs to fire you," Mayweather screamed. "You don't know s--t about boxing."
The 80-year-old Merchant replied, "I wish I was 50 years younger and I'd kick your ass."
With that, Mayweather stormed off, and Merchant began to interview Ortiz, who was much more mild-mannered. But once the interview with Ortiz was over, Merchant returned to the subject of his own confrontation with Mayweather.
"I don't really think I could have kicked his ass 50 years ago, but I would have tried it," Merchant said.
Merchant added that he believed the real reason Mayweather cut the interview short is that he didn't want to face questions about why he has refused to fight Manny Pacquiao, who is widely regarded as the opponent with the best chance to hand Mayweather his first career loss.
"What happened? I think Floyd Mayweather knew that the next question was going to be about, Why don't you fight Pacquiao? That's still the question that will linger long after this fight," Merchant said.
If nothing else, the exchange between Merchant and Mayweather will bolster Merchant's reputation as a journalist who's not afraid to ask any question -- and bolster Mayweather's reputation as boxing's greatest villain.
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