If you take him at his word, Floyd Mayweather Jnr has just one more fight in him. Having seen off the challenge of Manny Pacquiao with imperious ease, winning on unanimous decision, Mayweather is targeting the pipe and slippers, claiming his 49th fight in September at the age of 38 will be his final engagement.
“I would like to give other fighters chances,” Mayweather said. “I’ve got the WBC and WBA super welterweight and the WBA, WBC, WBO welterweight titles. It’s time for other fighters to fight for those titles.
“My last fight is in September and then it’s time for me to hang it up. I’m almost 40-years-old now. I have been in the sport for 19 years and have been a champion for 18 years. My love and passion for boxing isn’t the same, but this is my job. The only thing I want to do now is rest.”
And count the money. Mayweather’s love of a dollar bill comes before all other considerations. Projections suggest his take from the richest fight in boxing history might reach $240m (£159m) when all the pay-per-view cash rolls in.
While he has one more fight on his deal with Showtime, few expect him to maintain his post-match stance and finish on 49 bouts with the prospect of reaching 50 unbeaten and thus eclipsing the great Rocky Marciano in the boxing pantheon.
If there is only one more bout, Amir Khan believes he is the man to fill the slot. “I think the fight is there,” Khan, who is 10 years Mayweather’s junior, said. “I spoke to Len Ellerbe, his manager. I saw him in the media room and he came over to say, ‘Hi… he’s ready when you are’.
“I think it would be an amazing fight, one that boxing fans all around are talking about. I really believe I have his number.
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“Financially they know it’ll be a big fight and it’ll be exciting. They need someone young to fight, like myself, to push Mayweather and stick him in the trenches.”
Speaking on behalf of his fighter, Matchroom promoter Barry Hearn said Sheffield’s IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook would step up without hesitation. Since he has the only welterweight belt that Mayweather does not own, there is obvious appeal. What Brook lacks is the kind of box office quality that gets the big numbers rolling in Las Vegas.
A rematch with Pacquiao cannot be discounted – after all, Mayweather found the first engagement easy enough. Mayweather remains the greatest matchmaker in the game, taking opponents on his terms at a point in the cycle when they are past their best or not quite gold standard.
He was complimentary enough about Pacquiao to suggest an accommodation might be reached, should there be any takers for the Filipino’s injured shoulder theory.
“I had a brilliant game plan and remarkable team,” Mayweather said. “Manny Pacquiao is still a champion. He still has a lot left. I was the better man, countering and basically using the jab. I am blessed, Manny is blessed. He’s a hell of a fighter.”
Pacquiao claimed during his post-fight interview that he felt he had won, but it was hard to argue a case for him taking more than two rounds with the 116-112 scores appearing generous.
The 36-year-old looked clumsy at times as he charged in, seeking to engage Mayweather in the type of fight that suited his strengths, and it would be hard to justify a rematch.
Five years in the making, a fight dubbed as a battle between ‘good versus evil’ and ‘the fight of the century’ underlined Mayweather’s technical brilliance and his status as the finest boxer of his generation.
A cagey opening round saw Mayweather land the best shot with a counter right.
Pacquio was being caught as he charged into range but he was able to unleash a flurry of blows as he mauled Mayweather against the ropes.
There was evidence of recklessness towards the end of the round as Pacquiao rushed in, seeking to engage Mayweather, but the second was a better round for the Filipino.
After three rounds Mayweather was in control, but the pendulum swung dramatically in the fourth when he was backed up to the ropes by a hard straight left that had clearly left him shaken.
Pacquiao fired a barrage of punches but Mayweather had covered up well and took them on his gloves, although he was also forced to eat a short right hook.
Mayweather re-established control with his jab in the fifth and, in the sixth, shook his head and mouthed ‘no’ as Pacquiao launched another furious assault.
Two big right hands were a statement of intent by Mayweather as the seventh got off to a lively start and he landed heavily again mid-round.
Pacquiao enjoyed some success early in the eighth but he appeared to be tiring and became increasingly ragged.
The ninth saw Mayweather continue to land the cleaner blows.
By the 10th, Pacquiao seemed to be running out of ideas, bravely chasing his rival down only to be picked off while enjoying occasional success against the ropes.
Pacquiao needed a knockout to win in the final round and pursued the fleeing Mayweather in desperation, but the American danced out of trouble and raised his arms aloft as the final bell sounded.