(Main photo credit: Esther Lin, Showtime Networks)
Well folks, its almost over.
After 19 years of defensive prowess in the ring, pugilism’s pound-for-pound pariah, Floyd “Money” Mayweather is calling it quits on September 12th live form his home away from home, the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
His last event will, as is the norm, happen in the month of September and his opponent will be the not so popular choice of Andre Berto. With Amir Khan fresh off a win against Chris Algieri and fellow undefeated Keith “One Time” Thurman on the rampage, touting the absurdity of the WBA belt system not making him Mayweather’s mandatory challenger, Berto has garnered Mayweather more ire from the public.
(Photo credit: Esther Lin, Showtime Networks)
“I'm ready to get back in the ring on September 12 and prove again to the whole world why I'm 'The Best Ever,'" said Mayweather. "I always bring my A-game and this fight against Andre Berto is no exception. He's a young, strong fighter who is hungry to take down the best. Forty-eight have tried before and on September 12, I'm going to make it 49."
The record of 48-0, his besting of Manny Pacquaio and his argumentum ad populum domestic abuse allegations have made Mayweather the fodder of tabloids and the world’s ire. The choice to have Andre Berto as his swan song fight on the surface seems contrived for a guaranteed Mayweather victory, securing his place in history as an undefeated world champion. However fight fans, keep in mind that there has never been a boring Andre Berto fight and the public will surely get their money’s worth with this young boxing veteran and two-time champion.
"I'm coming to kick Floyd's ass on September 12," said Berto. "Best believe that I plan to bring it to Floyd and I'm not concerned about what 48 other fighters have been unable to do. Somebody is getting knocked out and it won't be me. You don't want to miss this."
Berto is a 31-year-old former amateur standout and 2004 Olympian for Haiti. A veteran of eight world title fights, all at 147 pounds, he won the WBC Welterweight World Title in June 2008 and made five successful title defenses over the next two and a half years before losing the title in April 2011. Berto won the IBF Welterweight World Title in September 2011.
"'Money' Mayweather is back and the whole Mayweather Promotions team is ready to build off of the incredible record-breaking May 2 event," said CEO of Mayweather Promotions Leonard Ellerbe. "It's a pleasure to bring this great fight, plus the incredible undercard of action, to the fans in Las Vegas at MGM Grand. Andre Berto is a powerful fighter who presents a real danger to Floyd. He will have to use all of his skills to slow Berto down."
(Photo credit: Esther Lin, Showtime Networks)
The offensive-minded Berto always makes for sensational scraps - his 2012 slugfest with Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero was a "Fight of the Year" candidate. In his most recent outing, he scored two knockdowns en route to a sixth-round TKO over Josesito Lopez last March 13.
Style-wise, the 5-foot-7 Berto is expected to adopt an aggressive approach with a high punch output, similar to the strategy employed by Marcos "El Chino" Maidana in his first fight against Mayweather. If Mayweather fails to display his trademark speed and defense, Berto could use his power and hand speed to make Mayweather uncomfortable and force him into a brawl.
"When Showtime Networks and Floyd Mayweather teamed up for the first time in 2013, it was called a record-breaking deal - and that's exactly what it has been," said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports®. "Through five fights of the six-fight term, the results have exceeded our grandest expectations. Floyd has never hesitated to take on the best of the best in his division. In Andre Berto, Floyd has chosen an opponent who always comes to fight and always entertains. Berto's power and athleticism make him a legitimate threat against any opponent, and against Floyd, we expect Berto to be as aggressive as ever.”
Rumors swirled that that the fight would air for free on the CBS network after people complained about the lackluster event that was the most overhyped fight and over priced pay-per-view ever ($89.95 SD/$99.95 HD) in Mayweather vs. Pacquaio. However, intrigue and controversies always generate interest in power sports and Mayweather will still draw those hoping to see Berto take the champ's laurels or the fans wishing to see “TBE” exit the game in glory.
What is certain is since September 2009 and May 2010; the world has expected to watch the world’s highest paid athlete perform. Many will miss this spectacle, the flash and the technical excellence that has been the Mayweather show and I expect as time progresses, like the eras of Mike Tyson and “Sugar” Ray Leonard, this era of the game will be reminisced, debated and longed for again.
Unfortunately, all things come to an end.