While nothing has been confirmed yet, Floyd Mayweather Jr. appears to have selected his “final” opponent — or at least the opponent for the final fight of his six-bout contract with premium cable network Showtime — and in a disappointment to boxing fans and experts, that opponent reportedly will be 31-year-old Floridian Andre Berto, a former champion who has fought only twice in the past two years after a dismal streak of three losses in four fights.
Mayweather’s record-setting megafight against Manny Pacquiao in May was largely condemned as a dull disappointment. His potential selection of Berto as his next foe is being greeted with a similar lack of enthusiasm.
Nearly a month ago, the Inquisitr reported the possibility that Mayweather may surprise — and dishearten — the boxing world by picking Berto over such seemingly more exciting and dangerous opponents as British speedster Amir Khan or Khazak knockout specialist Gennady Golovkin.
At the time, Berto claimed in the press that a neurotic Mayweather had been harassing him with heavy-breathing hang-up phone calls, possibly due to Berto’s friendship with 30-year-old Shantel Jackson, Mayweather’s former fiancee, who is one of several women accusing the undefeated pound-for-pound king of violent domestic assault.
Even though Mayweather himself raised the possibility that he might fight Berto on September 12, the suggestion was not widely taken seriously in June. But on Monday, TMZ Sports reported that the Mayweather vs. Berto matchup had become “official.”
Berto himself appears to be currently in training for a fight of some kind, though he said in his Twitter account that he is “in the running” for the Mayweather September 12 date.
— Andre Berto (@AndreBerto) July 15, 2015
Quoted by TMZ, Berto stopped short of confirming that he will fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September — but he didn’t deny it either.
“It’s a pleasure and honor to be in this position and I’m looking forward to capitalizing on every moment of it,” the former welterweight champ told the site.
“If Floyd Mayweather really ends his career by facing Andre Berto, how terribly discouraging it would be,” wrote Forbes Magazine sports blogger Josh Katzowitz, speaking for much of boxing fandom. “Berto isn’t a bad fighter. He’s just an old one who’s suffered some disappointing defeats in the past four years. For Mayweather to go from Pacquiao to Berto simply seems like a waste of time.”
Mayweather likely would argue that fight is a gift to his fans, because the matchup will reportedly be broadcast on over-the-air free television, on the CBS Network, rather than on pay per view.
Not everyone objects to the apparent selection of Berto, however. Writing for Rant Sports, Christopher Nicastro said that no matter who Mayweather selects, he will be subject to what the writer says are unfair attacks.
“People who demand that he get in the ring with the best forget that he already has been on numerous occasions,” wrote the lonely Floyd Mayweather Jr. defender. “Until Mayweather retires, he’ll face an endless list of fighters who his critics think he needs to fight before he ‘proves himself.’ They’re blind to the fact that, love him or hate him, Mayweather has proved himself more than any other fighter of the 2000s.”
[Images: Kevork Djansezian/Al Bello/Getty Images]