You’d think that people would learn their lesson when it comes to Floyd Mayweather. The undefeated five-division former world champ is always hustling and is always playing the media and the public for chumps.
This time around, “Money” Mayweather took advantage of his platform as co-promoter of the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz World Heavyweight Title rematch to play-act his way to a lucrative 2020 game plan.
On the Saturday before the heavyweight title bout, Mayweather gave an interview to Reuters where he declared, once and for all, that he was done with boxing. Saying the dangers were too great to come back to the sport.
“I’ve got calls to get back into the ring, but my health is my wealth,” Mayweather told Reuters. “Boxing is a very, very brutal sport. In the last few years, a lot of fighters have died inside that squared circle… You have got to know when to hang it up. I had a great career.”
Then, just five days later, as the buzz over his “for sure, I’m not coming back” proclamation was dying down and the day before Wilder and Ortiz would step into the ring, he let loose with another headline-grabber.
“Coming out of retirement in 2020,” Mayweather posted on his social media accounts, accompanied by a picture of himself in full fight attire. The announcement was preceded by a picture of him and the UFC’s Dana White sitting courtside at a basketball game with the caption: “@danawhite and I working together again to bring the world another spectacular event in 2020.”
Hours later, celebrity gossip site TMZ posted that Mayweather was ready to once again un-retire and is “reportedly planning to fight twice in 2020, with a rematch against Manny Pacquiao and another crossover bout against a UFC opponent on his wishlist.”
So, in review, here was the hustle:
Mayweather, fearful for his life and well-being, takes the ultimate risk anyway, to come back in 2020 for one more year of glory because, ostensibly, the warrior spirit is too great for him to keep down.
The reality, though, is not so movie-like or dramatic. Mayweather, who is probably starving for the attention only a return to the ring can provide, smelled big money to be had in a partnership with Dana White and his well-funded people, who have been itching to start a big-time boxing venture. Two fights for him and some major money in co-promotional ventures for Mayweather Promotions could bring in a ton of new money in easy-to-promote events.
The Mayweather-Pacquiao superfight in 2015 raked in nearly $600 million in total revenue. The Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing vs. UFC event also generated around $600 million. A revisiting of both bouts—or something similar—could do identical (or greater) numbers in 2019, despite critics who claimed burnt bridges with consumers over the two fairly lackluster Mayweather mega-fight affairs.
If Mayweather is indeed returning to active duty, expect the TMZ reports to be true. A Pacquiao rematch, which is still the only boxing event for Mayweather big enough to provoke a comeback, will surely be on tap. Also expect a Mayweather vs. UFC boxing contest, maybe with Khabib Nurmagomedov, who submitted McGregor in an October 2018 bout, in the opponent slot.
Most likely, the Pacquiao bout would be in September while the UFC opponent would be lined up for May, serving as a tune-up for his Filipino archrival, who has remained active throughout Mayweather’s retirement. But, of course, we’re talking about Mayweather and one never can be sure what is the real hustle behind any of his grabs at attention.
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