Floyd Mayweather says it’s his last fight. But his father is not so sure that the welterweight champion will retire this weekend.
The ‘will he, won’t he?’ guessing game continued on the eve of Mayweather’s title defence against Andre Berto.
The 38-year-old champion, who meets Berto in Las Vegas on Saturday night, sounded adamant when he said: “”I came to say I’m going out [at] 49-0. I’m happy with how my career went. Number 49 is my last fight.”
When he was asked whether he might be tempted to come back for another bout, as he did in late 2009, Mayweather replied: “No, I’m going to just push the limit for this fight and see what I can accomplish.
“My health is more important. If you stick around anything too long, anything can happen. You can make a lot of money, but you still want to be able to talk, walk, and have a sharp mind.”
His father and trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr, expects him to fight again, but has cautioned him against waiting too long, saying he should, if he does have another fight, do so no more than six months after Saturday’s bout.
“I can’t say he won’t quit and then come back,” Mayweather Sr told the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
“I fought too may fighters, trained too many fighters, watched too many fighters not to know how many of them do come back; a year later, two years later.
“If he thinks it over and he wants to go after that Marciano record, I’m saying I don’t think he needs it. But if he thinks he does, there is just one way to do it.
“That’s to go do it right away. Don’t wait and be out there a year or two later … rusty, reflexes gone. Because that’s the way it happens. If my son (is) going to fight any more, I hope he fights in five or six months.”
CHANGED HIS MIND
Stephen Espinoza, executive vice-president of Showtime Sports, whose lucrative six-fight deal with Mayweather ends with the Berto bout, was initially doubtful but now believes the American will call it quits on Saturday might.
“Like many people, I had my doubts about whether this would be his last fight,” Espinoza told Sports Illustrated. “I say that in the past tense because over the course of the last four weeks I’ve changed my mind.
“I hear the tone of his voice and the way he sounds and some of the very candid concerns he has voiced about his own health.
The undefeated Mayweather has won “world” titles in five divisions and will defend his WBC and WBA belt against Berto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday.
Throughout the build-up he has insisted the bout, his 49th, will be his last. But he has for long been a consummate self-promoter. The disbelievers can point to his unexpected U-turn in September 2009 when he came back from a 21-month retirement to fight Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.
If he wins on Saturday, as is widely expected, “Money” Mayweather will match the record of former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, who retired unbeaten after 49 fights. It seems inevitable that Mayweather will be tempted to return to the ring for a 50th fight.
Having referred to himself as The Best Ever recently, Mayweather would probably convince some critics if he breaks Marciano’s record.