Floyd Mayweather jr’s boxing career has been built on so much hype, it’s hard to know whether or not his championship fight against Andre Berto in Las Vegas on Sunday morning will be his last hurrah.
On Tuesday, he insisted he wouldn’t be tempted to go beyond 49-0, the record held by former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. Even so, it would be uncharacteristic for Mayweather not to chase down 50-0 in an attempt to hold the record outright.
Much could depend on the outcome of this weekend’s fight, to be broadcast live on DStv’s SS2/SS6 A from 3am on Sunday 13 September. The wear and tear has begun to tell on the 38-year-old. If Berto manages to rough him up, chances are Mayweather will indeed pack it in. But if Mayweather wins convincingly and, more importantly, feels at his best, his ego might not allow him to walk away just yet.
Berto has been dismissed by just about every expert, but he’s a big puncher who will relish this opportunity against the world’s best. He will come hard at Mayweather and try to mix it up.
Mayweather might be tempted to engage in a tear-up and perhaps even go for a dramatic stoppage to seal the deal on an extraordinary career that has yielded world championships in five weight divisions and the mythical pound-for-pound number one ranking.
When he does finally pack it in, whether it is this weekend or not, it will be a momentous moment for boxing, which has never known his like. The undercard is a compelling one and includes Jhonny Gonzalez against Jonathan Oquendo (super-featherweight, 10 rounds), Badou Jack against George Groves (WBC super-middleweight title, 12 rounds) and Roman Martinez versus Orlando Salido (WBO junior-lightweight title, 12 rounds). The WBC and WBA welterweight championships will be on the line when Mayweather and Berto do battle.