The possible Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight — the biggest fight matching a boxer against the star of another fighting sport in 41 years — will be nothing but “a huge circus,” according to a prediction by the last man to actually step in the ring with Mayweather, Andre Berto.
Mayweather fought Berto on September 12, 2015, and won an easy unanimous decision to score his 49th and final — at least for now — victory of his storied boxing career, against no losses or draws.
But after widespread expectations throughout the boxing world that Mayweather’s “retirement” was more like an extended vacation and that he would soon return to the ring, the undefeated welterweight champion has shown little interest in taking part in another boxing match. Except, that is, to fight 28-year-old mixed martial arts star McGregor, who most experts, including Berto, believe would provide easy opposition for the 40-year-old Mayweather.
“Floyd in general, in the boxing game he doesn’t have too much more to prove,” Berto said in an interview this week. “Right now he’s just trying to cash out man. If it makes money it makes sense, and a fight like that? It would be huge man. It would be a huge circus. People are definitely going to tune in, and both sides are definitely going to make s***loads of money.”
Berto admitted that until he stepped into the ring with Mayweather, he failed to realize how completely the champion had mastered the nuances of the sport.
“He’s seeing. He’s seeing. He’s seeing all this. He’s very smart at dictating the pace,” Berto said. “I’ve never been in there with somebody who’s so observant. He’s very observant of everything that’s going on. He kept looking to see if I was tired, so I’d jump up off my stool and come straight at him. He’ll stall…. He’s such a veteran and he knows every part of that ring. He knows every little small thing, so he doesn’t have to work too hard.”
Watch Berto’s entire interview with the boxing site FightHype in the video below.
So based on his own experience, does he think that McGregor, a star of a very different sport in mixed martial arts, stands a chance against Mayweather?
“At the end of the day man, it’s boxing, anything can happen,” Berto told CBS Sports. “You have fighters like myself, [Manny] Pacquiao and all these guys that have been boxing all our lives, and we couldn’t catch up to him. So it’s kind of hard to think that Conor can catch up to him.”
Of course, the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight has not been finalized yet, and according to Mayweather’s uncle, former boxer and trainer Jeff Mayweather, the delay is coming from the McGregor side. The problem, Jeff Mayweather says, is that UFC boss Dana White demands that McGregor pay a whopping 80 percent of his purse for the fight to the UFC.
“If somebody tells you ‘I’m gonna take 80 percent of your money, and you’re the one that’s fighting for it, that’s still a tough pill to swallow,” Jeff Mayweather told NBC Sports radio. “Even if you made more money than you ever did. But, it is what it is.”
The last time a champion boxer fought an opponent from another fighting sport in a crossover bout came on June 26, 1976, when heavyweight legend Muhammad Ali fought Japanese pro wrestler Antonio Inoki in Tokyo. Watch highlights of that legendary showdown in the video below.
But while Mayweather vs. McGregor is planned as a boxing match, with McGregor prohibited from using any other martial arts technique, Inoki lay on his back for most of the match attempting to take Ali down with leg sweeps.
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[Featured Image By Patrick Smith/Getty Images]