Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s pronouncement that he’s “coming out of retirement just to fight Conor McGregor” heightens the momentum for a super-fight between boxing’s unbeaten, pound-for-pound great and the popular UFC lightweight champion from Ireland.
Mayweather, 40, said in a video that was posted by his Internet mouthpiece fighthype.com that the boxing match between the 49-0 boxer and the striking-skilled, two-division UFC champion could happen as soon as June.
“I don’t want to hear no more excuses about the money, the UFC … sign the paperwork with the UFC so we can fight in June,” Mayweather said, underling the point that he will receive the greater share of the purse money.
Mayweather, who is currently touring the United Kingdom, said accepting such a deal is part of the fight game, and something he did himself before elevating to superstar status in 2007 after defeating Oscar De La Hoya by split decision.
“You’re the ‘B’ side. I’m the ‘A’ side,” Mayweather said of McGregor. “I’m tired of all this crying about money. You’re blowing smoke … if you want the fight, sign the paperwork.”
An official close to McGregor but not authorized to speak publicly on the matter because of the sensitivity of talks said Mayweather’s public announcement to un-retire “definitely doesn’t hurt.”
Beyond the purse split, a heated battle for broadcast rights has to be settled.
Mayweather wants Showtime, which televised his last six bouts on pay-per-view, to handle it while UFC President Dana White has maintained fierce control of UFC production and has said previously he’d like to stack the undercard with UFC title fights as he did for the organization’s New York debut in November.
Internally, according to another insider who again spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of the unfinished negotiations, it’s believed the UFC will be the greatest stumbling block.
White did not return a text message on the matter.
“As far as we know, the only loose end is UFC,” the official said. “Confident that everyone else could make a deal. So far, they haven’t agreed to let the fight happen. McGregor is the only one talking to the UFC.”
If Showtime took the lead in broadcasting the boxing match, UFC would receive a negotiated percentage from pay-per-view sales.
Mayweather said in his statement that he doesn’t want his name used only as leverage by McGregor to negotiate a richer contract extension, saying he decided after hearing McGregor call him out that, “OK, I’m going to pull his card.
“When I fought Oscar De La Hoya, I didn’t cry. I didn’t complain. If you want to fight, let’s make the fight happen. I’m officially out of retirement for Conor McGregor.”
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire