Floyd Mayweather Jr. will conclude his already-legendary boxing career on September 12 with his 49th fight, the fight that Mayweather insists will be his last. But after hauling in a record amount of cash from his May 2 pay-per-view fight against Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather is reportedly looking at doing something with his final fight that seems way out of character for the man who nicknamed himself “Money.”
Mayweather may give the fight away for free.
That is not to say that Mayweather will fight for free — but the fight, according to sources who spoke to CBS Sports, may be broadcast live on prime time network TV.
The network that would carry the fight would be, of course, CBS, whose parent company also owns the premium cable network Showtime which holds exclusive rights to the September Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight.
The fight would finish off Mayweather’s six-fight contract with Showtime whether or not Mayweather decides to take the fight to the CBS network.
Boxing had been absent from network television since the 1990s, until this year when boxing manager Al Haymon set up broadcasts on several over-the-air and cable networks, including CBS, as part of his “Premier Boxing Champions” series.
But Haymon is paying out of his pocket to air the fights, in what are known as “time buy” deals with the networks.
If the Mayweather fight ends up on CBS, it would be the first major fight broadcast by CBS on its own initiative since January of 1997, when the network showed a middleweight title fight between then-champion Bernard Hopkins and challenger Glen Johnson.
Al Haymon is also a top advisor to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“Me, Floyd and Al have discussed a number of scenarios for September 12,” said Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather’s promotional company. “We’re still looking at everything, and Floyd hasn’t made any decisions yet.”
But Showtime sports boss Stephen Espinoza confirmed that the possibility of a “free” fight on CBS was “on the table.”
“It’s wide open,” Espinoza said this week. “The one thing Floyd has made clear to all of us is he wants his last fight to be very special and unique.”
One other element of the September 12 fight that Mayweather has also not yet decided upon is who his opponent will be in his farewell fight. British star Amir Khan is considered a frontrunner, and Mayweather himself has named former welterweight champ Andre Berto as a possibility.
On Saturday’s edition of Premier Boxing Champions, undefeated welterweight titlist Keith Thurman again expressed his desire to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr., following Thurman’s stoppage win over Luis Collazo.
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