Thursday 5 December 2019

It's all about the Money for Mayweather

Floyd Maymeather Jnr in action against Conor McGregor. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Floyd Maymeather Jnr in action against Conor McGregor. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ronan O'Flaherty

The news that Floyd Mayweather is planning to come out of retirement to fight again in 2020 should come as a surprise to nobody. As sure as night follows day, Mayweather will come out of retirement.

The 42-year-old took to social media yesterday to inform the world that he was in talks with UFC president Dana White about a return to action next year. His choice of words gave rise to speculation that the former five-division world champion may be limbering up for a debut in mixed martial arts, but this is highly unlikely to be the case.

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White played a central role as a negotiator in 2017 when UFC fighter Conor McGregor crossed the combat-sport divide to take on Mayweather in a one-off boxing match in Las Vegas.

McGregor pocketed in the region of $90 million for his professional boxing debut, with his opponent banking upwards of three times that figure.

White would again have a key role to play if one of his fighters was to cross over from the octagon to the squared circle.

When Mayweather defeated McGregor via a 10th-round technical knockout, he said in the post-fight media briefing that his boxing days were finally over. However, such claims should be taken with a pinch of salt as he previously hung up his gloves in 2007 and 2015.

Whether he faces McGregor again, or a different UFC fighter, perhaps in the shape of Khabib Nurmagomedov, the pulling power of Mayweather means that the fight would likely generate a nine-figure sum in pay-per-view receipts.

There is even talk of a rematch with Manny Pacquiao. Both men went toe-to-toe in 2015 in a hugely disappointing contest that Mayweather won via unanimous decision. That fight generated $400m in pay-per-view proceeds alone, making it the richest bout in boxing history.

Both men are now in their 40s, so it's clear that another showdown would be little more than an exercise in fattening bank accounts. The same was said for his fight with McGregor two years ago. Such suggestions could be deemed overly cynical, but this is a man, after all, nicknamed 'Money'.

Expect Mayweather to return to the ring in 2020, but don't expect to be entertained.

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