One night only. Even though much of the focus on the Aug. 26 showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor has been on the UFC lightweight champion’s jump from the Octagon to the ring, somewhat lost in the shuffle has been that Mayweather has declared this bout at T-Mobile Arena will be his final fight.
“I thought that (the Andre Berto fight) was going to be my last everything,” Mayweather said on Thursday’s media teleconference, referring to the 2015 bout after which he retired. Yet earlier this year, the war of words between Mayweather and McGregor turned into a real fight that pulled the Grand Rapids native out of retirement for next week’s meeting.
But after this one, that’s it, said “Money.”
“This is my last one. I gave my word to (adviser) Al Haymon, I gave my word to my children and I don’t want to break that. I want to stick to my word. This will be my last fight.”
Not surprisingly, a lot of the questions asked of Mayweather focused on his past. Yet while the 49-0 future Hall of Famer brought up his fights with Diego Corrales, Phillip Ndou, Arturo Gatti, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez as ones that his fans point out to him as favorites, the 40-year-old was non-committal when it came to picking the one fight when he thought he was at his best. In fact, he said he doesn’t even like to watch his own fights.
“It’s hard for me to watch my fights,” he said. “It could be a fight against any guy that the fans and people say they love the most, but when I look at it, I’m like, ‘I could have done this better, I could have done that better.’ I’m a critic of myself and I feel like it’s never good enough.”
Mayweather has been more than good enough over the last two decades since he competed in the 1996 Olympics, as he won titles in five weight classes and became the best boxer of this era. His place in Canastota is secure, but there is the looming ghost of the 50-0 mark, which would allow Mayweather to pass Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record as he walked off into the sunset.
“I’m appreciative for every fighter that paved the way for me to be where I’m at,” Mayweather said. “I appreciate the legendary fighters. This is my 50th fight, but that’s not really my focus. My focus is to go out there and give the fans an exciting fight, even though I know this is number 50, and we’re constantly talking about Rocky Marciano. Rocky Marciano is a legend, he did it his way and I’d just like to try to do it the Mayweather way.”
He has done it his way, changing the economics of the sport outside the ring while he beat all comers inside it. Next week, Conor McGregor will try to shock the world and beat Mayweather in his first professional boxing match. It’s a risky proposition for the Irishman, but Mayweather believes he’s the one with everything on the line in Vegas.
“I truly believe I’m taking a bigger risk,” he said. “I have the 49-0 record, and when a fighter has lost before, if he loses again, they say, ‘Oh, it’s nothing, he lost before.’ But when a fighter has been dominating for 20-something years and never lost, everything is on the line. My legacy, my boxing record, everything is on the line.”