I would have to agree with the vast majority of boxing fans, and say that Floyd Mayweather Jr’s clash against Andre Berto on Saturday night at MGM Grand in Las Vegas is a bit of an anti-climax to the end of a glittering career.
Whether this is truly the end of his career, who can tell except Floyd himself?
Let’s be honest, this would not be the first time Floyd retired and then returned two years later. After defeating Ricky Hatton in December, 2007, Mayweather did not fight again until facing Juan Manuel Marquez in September, 2009.
Before we analyse the Berto fight, let’s look at Floyd himself.
Some would say that he is slowing down, although no evidence of that was there to see in his previous fight with Manny Pacquiao.
One might argue that Pacquiao did not possessed the threat he would have posed six years prior to their eventual fight. The fact remains that Mayweather did what he does best and he looked good doing it.
Floyd clearly does not need to keep fighting for the money and says he will remain in and around the sport by managing his current stable of fighters under the banner of his company Mayweather Promotions.
Will that be enough for the self-styled ‘The Best Ever’?
The bottom line is there are still really big fights out there for him, and as it’s not about money, that makes it about legacy, surely the only other driving force behind Floyd getting into the ring?
But where does it stop? There will always be a next up and coming big threat of an opponent that will be on the horizon to take Mayweather’s crown and his undefeated record.
Floyd is 38 now and has had a stellar career. He has fought the best of the best; he just did it on his timescale.
To the general public, Floyd is absolutely right to retire now. They would look back through the boxing annuals and see his record and see the big names on his resume with a big fat W next to it and admire him for his tremendous talent.
However, boxing fans and any historians or admirers of the game, could note that in the last eight years of his career, Mayweather cherry-picked opponents and didn’t always fight the best of the best.
Which of those opinions matter to Floyd the most when it comes to legacy?
Now let’s consider the concept of all-time great boxers, who in my eyes most of them had twice the fights Floyd had, and went up against the biggest names in the sport at the time.
So in my eyes, if Floyd were truly an all-time great, he should be fighting middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin somewhere between light middle and middleweight and cementing his role as the best of the best that fought everyone.
This would not the strangest thing to have happened in boxing, in fact, when you look at the careers of the all-time greats, most of them cleared out a division and moved up.
They didn’t leave question marks in their comparative weight divisions.
For clarification of all-time great status, let’s assume that the following list of Sugar Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, Henry Armstrong, Willie Pep, Alexis Arguello and Benny Leonard are all-time greats in and around Floyd’s weight divisions.
Floyd Mayweather Jr is a phenomenal fighter, please do not get me wrong on this, but he is not, in my eyes anyway, the best that ever lived.
That was weirdly cathartic to say.
Now onto Mayweather’s final fight this weekend against Andre Berto, whose record is 30-3 with 23 KO’s. Berto is an aggressive, come forward fighter who can bang, but is not particularly technically gifted; the type of fighter that’s made for Floyd.
Berto’s losses came against Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass. Floyd has beaten two of those fighters – Ortiz and Guerrero.
So no doubt here comes the obligatory prediction that Berto will start aggressively, but by the third or fourth rounds will start fighting at Floyd’s pace and will then be outboxed and schooled on the way to a points decision.
Or perhaps Floyd thought that because Berto is prone to swelling, he can get a stoppage in his final outing? That is a possibility.
The final fight of Floyd Mayweather Jr is ultimately one of confusion – why not face Amir Khan, Kell Brook, Keith Thurman or Golovkin?
Or even a rematch with Miguel Cotto? A fighter who put pressure on Floyd like we hadn’t seen before, so perhaps the answer to that one is in the question.
Mayweather could have fought Timothy Bradley, who also beat Pacquiao or even Mikey Garcia.
All of these fighters mentioned above represent a bigger fight and a bigger challenge than Berto, and therefore a victory over them would solidify the legacy that is so important to Mayweather.
Either way, I don’t think this is the last we will see of Floyd. Give it two years and he will come back; he won’t leave his record at 49 and 0.
He will want to leave one better than Marciano’s mark, which stands to this day as the highest number of opponents fought before he retired undefeated.
So this isn’t goodbye – it’s see you soon, see you again…when you decide to really cement that legacy.