In what may have been the final fight of his incredible career, Floyd “Money” Mayweather found himself in familiar territory Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as he defeated Andre “The Beast” Berto by unanimous decision to improve to 49-0.
Mayweather entered the bout as a heavy favorite, as he so often does, and he lived up to the billing by keeping his unblemished record intact, while Berto fell to 30-4 with his fourth defeat in his past seven contests.
The fight was of typical Mayweather variety, as Money jabbed and danced his way to easy rounds throughout the fight while Berto was largely ineffective. Though Berto seemed to loosen up a bit as the fight went along, it was clear throughout the bout that he didn’t have what it took to break up Mayweather’s unbeaten streak.
Money made it clear on several occasions leading up to Saturday’s fight that his intention was to retire at 49-0 after facing Berto. Mayweather pointed toward the conclusion of his contract with Showtime as a deciding factor in that regard, according to the Associated Press: “They say they’ll offer me a lot of money [to keep fighting]. I have a lot of money. I’m OK. … It’s the end of my [Showtime] deal. I’m an old man now. I’m 38.”
There is always skepticism when it comes to any great athlete suggesting he or she will retire, but that is especially true of Mayweather since he previously announced his retirement in 2008 before returning in 2009.
Many aren’t buying the notion that Mayweather will ride off into the sunset at 49-0 with prospective, opponent Keith Thurman being among them, per Bill Emes of BoxingScene.com:
I don’t think he’s going to retire on an Andre Berto. I never assumed he was going to retire. The one thing that’s up is his Showtime contract. Just because the contract is up, doesn’t mean his career is over. It is always going to be optional for Floyd for how many more steps, how many more fights he wants to go, how long he wants to journey throughout the world of boxing in the future.
Mayweather is still the WBC, the WBA and The Ring welterweight champion after defeating Berto, and there is no shortage of potentially great matchups against the likes of Thurman, Amir Khan, Shawn Porter and others.
Many were disappointed in Mayweather’s decision to face Berto. Even so, the 38-year-old legend did all he could to justify the choice, according to Sky Sports News HQ:
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) August 7, 2015
Mayweather attempted to push Berto as an aggressive, exciting boxer, which was a fair assessment, considering 70 percent of his professional wins have come by way of knockout.
There was still plenty of backlash against both Mayweather and Berto, but the challenger intended to change the minds of his detractors by turning in an entertaining performance, per Radio Rahim of BoxingScene.com:
I was probably a little surprised that (the criticism) came like it came. Everybody knows that I always show up and I always fight my ass off. I’ve given my whole life to this sport and to these people. At the end of the day, yeah the money is good but I got into this game as a fan and wanting to go and perform for the people. Then you have guys like Floyd who comes in, and (takes the approach of ‘I don’t care) whether it’s boring or not—as long as I get my check.’ That ain’t never been me and everybody knows that and everybody sees that in my fights. That’s why I’m surprised with a lot of the criticism.
Despite Berto’s declaration, he was no match for Mayweather, but that can be said for essentially all of the opponents Mayweather has come up against over the years.
The biggest challenge of his career was supposed to be against Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao back in May, but that was a walk in the park for the founder of Mayweather Promotions.
Mayweather has nothing left to prove to the boxing world regardless of the many fans calling for him to face myriad opponents. Based on everything he has done to this point, there is no reason to believe he can be beaten.
The possibility remains that Money could come back for another bout so he can retire at an even 50-0 and reel in one more payday, but if Saturday was the final time Mayweather stepped into a boxing ring, he went out fittingly as a winner.