Floyd Mayweather, Jr., the retired, undefeated boxing legend, last week delivered his strongest hint yet that his comeback is in the works for later this year, or early 2017. But fans who were hoping for an inter-sport showdown with UFC great Conor McGregor are likely to be disappointed, recent reports now indicate.
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Mayweather has been retired since September of 2015, after he defeated Andre Berto for his 49th straight victory as a pro without a loss or a draw. But buzz in the boxing world over a potential Mayweather comeback hit a fever pitch last week after the 38-year-old now-ex-champ gave an interview to the Showtime cable network — the TV outlet that held the contract for Mayweather’s last six fights — in which, for the first time, he left a door wide open for his return to the ring.
“I’ve been talking with CBS and Showtime, and you just never know,” Mayweather admitted. “As of right now, some crazy numbers have been thrown my way — upwards, of course, of nine figures. “But I’m truly blessed beyond belief, and I really don’t know what we’re going to do. But right now, I’m really happy being on this side helping fighters.”
But in a later interview with the boxing site Fight Hype, Mayweather also admitted that the rumors of a comeback fight against the 27-year-old Irish-born MMA star Conor McGregor were started by Mayweather himself, with Mayweather saying that it was “possible” that he might take on an MMA fighter — though he did not name McGregor specifically — for his 50th fight.
“The rumors that y’all have been hearing [are] the rumors I started,” Mayweather told Fight Hype. “It may not be a rumor. Keep your fingers crossed. It may be a boxer versus an MMA fighter. So we just don’t know.”
Watch the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. interview in which he discusses the “rumors” in the video below.
But experts on both the boxing and MMA industries agree that a fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Conor McGregor is highly unlikely — if not impossible.
“A fight between these two could only ‘actually happen’ in the same way getting struck by lightning twice on the same day as you win the lottery could ‘actually happen,’ said ESPN MMA analyst Brett Okamoto on Wednesday. “The UFC isn’t going to let McGregor box, and Mayweather is definitely not stepping into an MMA fight. If this one ever happens, it’s in a professional wrestling ring where the outcome is written in a script.”
ESPN‘s boxing correspondent Dan Rafael agreed with Okamoto.
“I like talking about real fights, not fantasy silliness that has less chance of happening than Cain-Abel II or even Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier IV,” Rafael wrote.
— BJ PENN (@bjpenndotcom) May 11, 2016
But even if Mayweather is actually serious about making a comeback against McGregor, one major obstacle standing in the way is the flamboyant UFC President Dana White, who on Wednesday told The Dan Patrick Show that because McGregor remains under exclusive contract to fight only in the UFC, any match with Mayweather — who is a free agent — would need to be approved by White himself.
“If Floyd wants to fight Conor—call me, Floyd,” White said.
Nonetheless, the chance that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will indeed make a comeback as a boxer fighting another boxer appears increasingly likely — and the opponent that Mayweather appears to have in mind is undefeated, 28-year-old WBC welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia.
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The Philadelphia-based Garcia won the WBC belt by scoring his 32nd straight win without a loss or draw when he defeated veteran Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero by unanimous decision in January.
“Danny Garcia, another name,” Mayweather said in his Showtime interview. “Undefeated prospect — undefeated champion in two different weight classes. Very exciting fighter. You just never know.”
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. would go to 50-0, breaking the previous record set by 1950s-era heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano for an undefeated career, if he does indeed make his comeback and defeat Danny Garcia, or any other fighter — including Conor McGregor.
[Featured Photos By Patrick Smith / Buda Mendes / Getty Images]