‘This is my last fight’ ... maybe says Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has told those closest to him that he finds the idea of a restful retirement appealing.
But anyone who knows the unbeaten Mayweather’s thirst for money and competition realizes that opposing forces will be at play soon after his expected Sept. 12 victory over massive underdog Andre Berto.
“This is my last fight,” Mayweather said Wednesday at a news conference to promote the Showtime pay-per-view bout at MGM Grand.
The next sentence from his mouth was, “Nobody knows what the future holds.”
Mayweather, 48-0 in his career, acknowledged that, at 38, he’s feeling the “wear and tear” of a 19-year pro career as he nears his sixth fight in the last 28 months. His hands and shoulders are particularly nagging.
He has confided to assistant trainer Nate Jones that he’s looking forward to “taking his shoes off and relaxing” after fighting Berto (30-3, 23 knockouts), a former welterweight world champion who suffered a near career-ending shoulder injury two years ago before returning to knock out Josesito Lopez in March.
“You guys don’t see Floyd after the gym, after the fights . . . his body, his hands, shoulders. He’s tired,” Jones said. “He’s also going to travel, is looking forward to not have so many demands.
“This has been a beautiful moment in sports. We’ll never see another Mayweather. The world’s going to miss him if he retires.”
Yet, some challenger, possibly the winner of the Nov. 21 Miguel Cotto-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez bout — or Manny Pacquiao — will come calling for a rematch, and it’s well known MGM Grand would like Mayweather to open its new 20,000-seat arena in Las Vegas next year.
The fighter’s father and trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr., knows how those itches will affect his son.
“Things motivate people,” Mayweather Sr. said. “Myself, I would say yes . . . I believe he’ll continue to fight after this.”
Even if he wouldn’t admit it, insisting he’s “always motivated for fights, I don’t overlook anyone,” Mayweather Jr. displayed noticeable ease compared to his usual routine, a nod perhaps to the comfort afforded him by the $220 million he pocketed in May for beating Pacquiao by unanimous decision in the richest bout in boxing history.
He cruised into his gym’s coned-off parking spot nearly two hours past his scheduled appearance time Wednesday, late despite driving his new $4.8-million luxury sports car that travels from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds and can reach 254 mph.
And his confidence is such that he allowed Showtime, for the first time ever, to broadcast his sparring session live.
Many are saying that taking Berto as an opponent is another sign of how relaxed Mayweather is. He’s a 40-1 favorite at Nevada sports books.
“Every time Berto goes out there, he’s in an exciting fight. . . . Two-time world champion, he’s an exciting fighter,” Mayweather said.
“It doesn’t matter who the opponent is, [critics are] never happy. They said Pacquiao was a god. . . . I fought Cotto, ‘Canelo,’ Diego Corrales when he was undefeated . . . all the best fighters of my era, I’ve fought and beat.
“Let’s talk about who did the highest pay-per-view, who took less punishment . . . Floyd Mayweather. Boxing is wear and tear on a body. It’s time to hang it up. I’m comfortable and very well off.”
The lure of this possibly being his last fight, of equaling former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record at retirement, is not expected to move the needle for the Berto bout. The expectation is that these pay-per-view sales will be Mayweather’s worst in years.
“We don’t worry about the [pay-per-view] numbers, that’s you guys’ jobs,” Mayweather Promotions President Leonard Ellerbe said. “I applaud Floyd to be the first to walk away from the sport undefeated, with all his faculties and nine figures in the bank at 38 years old. To accomplish that feat is truly remarkable.”
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