This past weekend, after stopping MMA fighter Mikuru Asakura in two rounds in an exhibition bout at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, Floyd Mayweather posed, smiling and seemingly on friendly terms with arch-rival Manny Pacquiao, who came to the ring from his ringside seat for some photo ops.
It didn’t take long, however, for the five-division former world champ and Hall of Famer to aim a very well-placed dagger at the back of his former foe and fellow great.
“I retired from the sport, and I didn’t let the sport retire me,” Mayweather said at the Super RIZIN post-fight news conference when asked about his future as a fighter. “I’m always going to put myself in a position now to where I, just like I was doing, fighting at the highest level. I was dictating and being in control.
“I’m not going to go in there with no former fighters, former world champions, putting more abuse on my body. I retired for a reason. I’m here to have fun and enjoy myself, sometimes three rounds, sometimes eight rounds, with guys that are going to help me entertain people.
“I’m not going to take punishment to the point to where I can barely walk or barely talk. Manny had a great career, but boxing retired Manny, Manny didn’t retire from boxing. There’s a difference. Of course, if I were Manny Pacquiao, would I be chasing an exhibition with Floyd Mayweather to get a payday? Absolutely I would.
“But at this particular time, I love fighting guys that are 15-0, 8-0, guys that are older, like myself, or YouTubers or MMA guys. I will continue to do what I do and dictate and control.
“That’s what it’s about, excitement and the people getting a chance to just see a glimpse of me…I already know I’m not what I once was as far as what I’m talking about. I’m not ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd or ‘Money’ Mayweather. But I’m still able to go out and entertain the people.”
Pacquiao’s last fight, of course, was an upset unanimous decision loss to Yordenis Ugas in August of 2021. It was a disappointing, unexpected defeat and one which probably ended the legendary career of the 26-year veteran and first-ballot Hall of Famer. Although Pacquiao has been tied to an exhibition with South Korean YouTuber and martial artist DK Yoo in December, his days as an active fighter appear to be behind him. It’s very unlikely that the 43-year-old will be matching himself up against any high-end active pro ever again.
Mayweather, meanwhile, retired with a spotless 50-0 record in August of 2017 after beating UFC star Conor McGregor via tenth-round TKO. Since then, the man who calls himself “Money Mayweather” has had four big-money exhibition bouts (against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa, YouTuber Logan Paul, former sparring partner Don Moore, and MMA fighter Asakura this past weekend). Loose estimates from media sources place his earnings for those four exhibition bouts at around $250 million, total, including guaranteed purse money, PPV revenue splits, and sponsorships.
The 45-year-old Mayweather has continuously flaunted his good fortune and his status as a fighter who still calls all his business shots, often using Pacquiao as an example of a top star who mostly HASN’T been his own man on the business side of the sport.
It’s only reasonable that the Filipino icon, as Mayweather’s closest “cash cow” competitor in terms of revenue generation, would be compared with the glitzy Las Vegas resident. But Mayweather drills home what he sees as the difference between him and Pacquiao every chance he gets. And that difference, according to him, is that he’s a fully independent man while Pacquiao is a passenger in the car seat of boxing life.
Whether that assessment is true or not is a topic for another day. But Mayweather sure relishes in trying to make it a major talking point at all times.