Las Vegas - Floyd Mayweather says he will call it quits after Saturday's welterweight
world title defence against massive underdog Andre Berto in which victory would
give him a perfect 49-0 record.
But boxing - perhaps more than any other sport - is littered with men who
proclaimed they were hanging up their gloves, only to find the lure of just one
more shot at the big time or one last payday too much to resist.
The unbeaten Mayweather, 38, the self-proclaimed "TBE" ("The
Best Ever"), insists he will not be joining them.
But then this is not the first time that he has said he is retiring: in 2008
he also said he was done.
This time is different, he says, because he wants to get out of boxing with
his health intact and he has enough money -- Forbes says he is the world's
highest-paid athlete - to avoid having to work another second for the rest of
"If you stick around anything too long, anything can happen. I'm not
really worried about losing, but I want to have a sharp mind. You can make a
lot of money, but you still want to be able to talk, walk, and have a sharp
mind," he said.
"Of course, it's always about self-preservation. I come first but I
appreciate the fans. I do. The only thing I can do is believe in myself and
believe in my skills. I'm going to be TBE until the day I die."
The American says now is the time to go because he has nothing more to
He also says that he has plenty to occupy him after he stops fighting: he is
already a boxing promoter, has his own clothes line and says he wants to
develop his interests in the entertainment and music industry.
Last week, Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said there had
been "significant" entertainment possibilities for the champion for
when he calls it quits -- including three "major" movie offers just
"I've been approached on numerous occasions (to act) but I'd rather be
behind the scenes. I've had my time to shine," said Mayweather, who has
spent time in jail for one of a string of domestic violence incidents.
He also has four children to watch grow up, he says.
Many are deeply sceptical of Mayweather's plans.
"There are certain people in life who what they say really doesn't
reflect all that much on what they're going to do or what they think -- and
he's one of those people," said Ivan Goldman, a novelist and writer for
the boxinginsider.com website.
Goldman is not alone in thinking that Mayweather - such is his ego - will
not be satisfied with merely equalling Rocky Marciano's 49-0 record.
"I’m guessing he'll go for the magic number of 50-0," said Goldman.
"Equalling a record doesn't sound like him.
"On the other hand, Floyd is very knowledgeable about fighting, he
"He understands on some level that if he keeps fighting he's going to
slip and he could lose. If he takes on a rough customer next, he's going to be
a few months older still."
Mayweather's vast fortune will open doors when he does finally quit, but
Goldman believes his criminal past will limit his ambitions.
"They affect his life. For instance, he can't get sponsors. He can't go
to Nike and get a contract with them because Nike would immediately be
boycotted, so he can't do that."
Many believe the retirement talk is a cynical ploy to drum up interest in a
fight with Berto that has failed to generate buzz.
"If he really, truly retires I will have a hard time lifting my jaw up
off the floor," said Michael Woods, editor of The Sweet Science boxing
Won't the temptation to surpass Marciano's record be too much to resist?
"And let's not forget the temptation to keep on making oodles of
moolah. Like, $32 million, or $50 million, or more," Woods said.