Floyd Mayweather Jr., the undefeated former five-division boxing champion, has claimed to be retired from the fight game ever since he defeated unheralded Andre Berto last September 12 to claim his 49th straight win as a pro, tying the record set by 1950s-era heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano for most wins in career without a single loss or draw.
But over the weekend, Mayweather dropped what may be the first real hint that his comeback is possibly in the works.
To say that the boxing world — indeed, the entire sports world — remains skeptical of Mayweather’s claim to be permanently out of the boxing ring would be an understatement. For most boxing fans and experts, Mayweather’s comeback is not seen as a question of “if” but “when.”
Just as negotiations for a rematch with De La Hoya were on the verge of coming together, Mayweather suddenly retired again. This time, he came out of the alleged retirement just seven months after fighting De La Hoya, taking on — and knocking out — British welterweight champ Ricky Hatton.
Mayweather quickly “retired” one more time, and this time, he stayed out of the ring for almost two full years before resuming his career in 2009.
With his 39th birthday approaching on February 24, Mayweather may now realize that time is running out on his seemingly inevitable comeback. In an interview with the online boxing video program FightHype on Saturday, the former champ, whose 2015 fight against Manny Pacquiao shattered all previous pay-per-view revenue records, offered the strongest hint yet that he may return to the ring to fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
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Mayweather and Alvarez fought to a one-sided decision in September of 2013, but the fight broke the financial records held at the time by Mayweather’s 2007 De La Hoya fight. Since then, the Mexican superstar, whose loss to Mayweather remains his only defeat, has only raised his bankability with dominating wins last year over James Kirkland and, most significantly, Miguel Cotto.
But Mayweather appeared to say that he would fight Canelo mainly as a show of disrespect for De La Hoya, who is now the promoter of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez because he is offended that De La Hoya was once photographed wearing women’s undergarments.
“Of course, you know I’m sending shots at Oscar De La Hoya. I’m always sending shots at him because, you know, I don’t respect a man that dress in drag,” Mayweather said in the interview.
“Like I said before, all (De La Hoya) banking on now is Canelo. And s**t, if I come back in the game —Canelo, you already know what I did to you, and I could do it again, if you get out of line. Because you already know what I say – you violate, and I’ll demonstrate, and that’s for all 49.”
View an excerpt from the interview in the video above on this page. Mayweather’s complete fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on September 14, 2013, can be viewed in the video below.
While Mayweather is known for his trash-talking and general bravado, he is also known for his prudence and fixation on financial rewards when it comes to plotting his boxing career. With a Manny Pacquiao rematch seemingly off the table, a fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez would certainly be the most lucrative opportunity awaiting Floyd Mayweather Jr. if or when he ends his latest retirement.
[Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images]