Floyd Mayweather has confirmed that he has officially come out of retirement to fight Conor McGregor and has set a deadline to arrange their prospective super-fight.
The five-division world champion, considered to be the best boxer of his generation, has not fought since equalling Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record with victory over Andre Berto in September 2015.
However, a lucrative return to the ring between Mayweather and mixed martial artist McGregor, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) lightweight reigning champion, has been mooted since early last year.
Mayweather, who is currently on a speaking tour of the UK, has now confirmed that he considers himself an active boxer again and reiterated that he is ready to face McGregor later this year.
“When I faced Arturo Gatti, I went to his turf,” he said. “He was the A side, I was the B side. I beat him, I didn’t cry, I didn’t complain.
“When I faced Oscar De La Hoya, he was the A side, I was the B side. I didn’t cry, I didn’t complain, I beat him and I became the A side.
“For Conor McGregor, I’m coming out of retirement, just to fight Conor McGregor. I don’t want to hear no more excuses about the money, about the UFC. Sign the paper with the UFC so you can fight me in June. Simple and plain. Let’s fight in June.
“Today, I’m officially out of retirement for Conor McGregor. We don’t need to waste no time. We need to make this s*** happen quickly. Let’s get it on in June.”
The greatest barrier to Mayweather and McGregor’s meeting, which would likely be the biggest pay-per-view fight of all-time, is McGregor’s contractual situation with the UFC.
The mixed martial arts promotion company has exclusive rights to promote all fights in which its fighters are participating.
"I'm not ducking or dodging anyone," Mayweather told British media.
"I'm only coming out of retirement for one person and that's Conor McGregor.
"We don't need to waste no time. We need to make this ... happen quickly. Let's get it on in June."
McGregor has been challenging Mayweather, who retired in 2015 with a 49-0 record, to a fight for months.
The two sides have yet to reach terms and have a number of major hurdles to overcome.
Mayweather has asked for a guaranteed $100m to make the fight happen, with $15m going to McGregor, while UFC president Dana White has talked of $25m to each plus pay-per-view money.
McGregor, the biggest pay-per-view draw in mixed martial arts, is contracted to UFC and the organisation would have to approve any fight.
The pair will also have to agree to a format which Mayweather insisted would be straight boxing.
"We cannot mix up the rules and regulations because I'm the A side," he said.
"He called me out. You call me out, then, we have to go by my rules.
"If I called you out then we'd have to go by your rules.
"It's always boxing."
The pair have done their part to drum up interest, exchanging a number of verbal barbs at public appearances.
Mayweather reiterated his claim that McGregor was all talk and no action.
"Conor McGregor, stop ducking and diving Floyd Mayweather. Tell the UFC to let's make this fight happen. I don't want the UFC to look bad."
Additional reporting by Reuters
Independent News Service