LATELY, retired undefeated legend Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr (49-0) has made a wise decision and been dispensing wisdom to ageing fighters.
Recall the story of Philadelphia’s proud son, future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, (55-8-2, 32 KOs) who was punched out of the ring -and into ignominious retirement- recently by Joe Smith Jr. (23-1, 19 KOs).
In his prime, Smith would have no chance to defeat Hopkins, but at 51, even though the heart was willing, the body of a fighter has lost much in athleticism, reflexes and what-not to effectively competed or withstand the pressure and the power of a younger fighter. Indeed, some have said boxing is a younger man’s sport.
Ever since he retired, many have called out Mayweather to consider a comeback.
Leading the calls has been Manny Pacquiao whom Mayweather outclassed in the fight of the century for the mythical pound-for-pound supremacy at welterweight in the world. But Mayweather has often repeated the phrase, “I’m retired.”
One of the unlikely calls for a showdown has also come from mixed martial arts icon Conor McGregor. Initially, Mayweather said he was “interested” in a fight with McGregor and had already offered the Irish star $15 million to climb into the ring with him.
Mayweather, who retired in 2015, told ESPN’s First Take program that a McGregor bout was the only thing that could tempt him to end his exile from the ring.
The 39-year-old was responding to a question about whether he would consider a rematch with Filipino star Pacquiao following the duo’s much-heralded “Fight of the Century” two years ago.
“Only thing I’m probably interested in is the Conor McGregor fight,” Mayweather said. “I’m a businessman and it makes business sense. I believe in what me and (business adviser) Al Haymon talk about every day — I believe in working smarter, not harder.”
Mayweather revealed initial talks with McGregor’s representatives had taken place, but stalled.
“We tried to make the Conor McGregor fight,” Mayweather said. “They know what my number is. My number is a guaranteed $100 million. That was my number. We are willing to give him $15 million and then we can talk about splitting the percentage — the back end — on the pay-per-view.”
“But of course, we’re the ‘A side.’ How can a guy talk about making $20 or $30 million if he has never made $8 or $9 million in a fight?”
Mayweather appeared to suggest that McGregor’s recent comments calling for a fight were insincere.
“You guys keep hearing all these different rumours about different fighters want to face Floyd Mayweather,” he said.
“Everybody keeps talking about Conor McGregor. He’s blowing smoke up everybody’s ass. Dana White, the UFC — let’s make it happen. Bring him over to the boxing world and I’ll show him what it’s like.”
In November, McGregor challenged Mayweather to a fight under mixed martial arts rules and said he would only face Mayweather in a boxing ring for $100 million.
“Much respect to Floyd. He’s a solid businessman… as far as real fighting — true, pure unarmed combat — Floyd don’t want none of this,” McGregor said.
“He does not want none of this. He wants it under boxing rules. He wants a boxing match. He doesn’t want a fight.”
But in a complete turn-around this past week, Mayweather has reiterated his stance to stay retired from the sport.
He cited what happened to the greatest Muhammad Ali who he felt left it too late to quit the ring and ended up with Parkinson’s disease. He challenged all who wanted him to return to the ring whether they cared about a boxer’s health, especially that he is now approaching 40.
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