Arthur Mercante Jr. Interview - On Cotto vs Foreman, HBO, Pacquiao, Mayweather, Leonard and much More!
Interview by David Tyler, DoghouseBoxing (June 3, 2010) Photo © Emily Harneylou  
Please welcome back into the doghouse, Arthur Mercante Jr. who will be the third man in the ring for the Yuri Foreman/ Miguel Cotto bout at Yankee Stadium this Saturday, June 6th. The fight will be shown on live HBO.

David Tyler - Congratulations on being chosen as the referee for the main event this Saturday at the new Yankee Stadium. Your thoughts?

Arthur Mercante Jr. - It means a lot to me because my late Father was the referee for the last fight at the old Yankee Stadium, that was the Ali/ Norton fight in September 1976. For me to be the referee in the first fight at the new Yankee Stadium is a great honor and something I will cherish.

DT - HBO is televising the fight on live television instead of presenting the match as a PPV event. Care to comment?

AM -
I believe that HBO should be complimented for making this fight available to as many fans as possible. That will be good for boxing as many more fans will have access to the fight. Pay Per View events limit the number of fans that get to see the match. Many boxing fans just can't afford to pay $60 for the fight. I have friends tell me that they would never pay for a fight again after the Pacquiao/ Clottey event. HBO does a great job with boxing and I am pleased that this historic fight will be available to all subscribers.

DT - Arthur, how many championship fights will be on your resume after this one?

AM -
I am not really sure, I just don't keep count, but a friend told me that this would be my 30th title fight.

DT - We all watched you work the Cotto/ Clottey match on HBO. Have you ever had the opportunity to work a fight with Yuri Foreman?

AM -
No I haven't so I've been watching a lot of his past fights as well as going over some of the Cotto fights. I have worked with Cotto a couple of times and what I see of Foreman impresses me so I'm looking forward to a really good fight.

DT - What does a referee do in preparation for a big match?

AM -
My Dad always taught me to stay in great shape and I work out every day. I also go over every scenario that could happen in the fight and what my responsibilities would be in any particular situation. I also watch plenty of video of both fighters and get a good feel for their style of fighting. To answer your question more directly, before the bout I will check the ring for any wet spots because prior to the main event there may have been three or four other fights and the canvas will be wet. I also check the ropes and make sure that they are tight. I have worked several fights where an advertising logo in the middle of the ring becomes slippery as the night progresses. I am always checking the painted logos on the canvas because I have seen a lot of fighters slip at those spots in the ring.

DT - Arthur, about two weeks you gave me a short interview which I call a 12 rounder. Several fans wanted to know why you picked Floyd Mayweather Jr. as your favorite current fighter?

AM -
He dedicates himself to the sport. Sure he is cocky and pompous but a lot of that is promoting a fight. He is always in top physical condition with so many talents in the ring. He is what I would call a "throwback" because he has a bit of Muhammad Ali in him. For the good of boxing I want to see Floyd fight Pacquiao. The greatest fighters have to fight the greatest fighters. They should let the commission do what's necessary in the matter of drug testing. If Floyd is a great champion he should fight Pacquiao and I also think that Pacquiao should say I will take any test and prove I am a great champion. Ali never ducked anybody, Duran never ducked anybody, all the great champions fought only the best of their time.

DT - I also asked the question about the best boxer you had seen as the third man in the ring, you said Sugar Ray Leonard. Why?

AM -
He had great skills in the ring, quick hands, quick feet, great ring savvy and such a nice guy. He was the first fighter that came to mind when you asked the question.

DT - Arthur, thanks for the interview and good luck with the Cotto/ Foreman fight this Saturday on HBO.

AM -
Always a pleasure, David.

Readers: Once again, the Yuri Foreman/ Miguel Cotto is not a PPV event. All subscribers of HBO will be able to see this historic fight live from Yankee Stadium.

David Tyler

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