Mayweather ready to retire for good after Conor McGregor bout
LAS VEGAS — Cirque Du Solei: Ka is typically held five days a week at the eponymous theater at MGM Grand, but on this day, there was no circus; no theatrics.
And given the event held at Ka Theater on Wednesday, the tranquility of the proceedings was quite a surprise.
Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor dragged boxing through the mud during a four-city press tour last month that included bombastic taunts, racial and homophobic slurs — basically every insult conceivable in the English language.
Just three days out from their highly anticipated junor middleweight fight, the false bravado had dissipated. Instead, Mayweather calmly strolled around a stage usually reserved for puppetry and pyrotechnics, and reigned in the promotion once and for all.
Mayweather was as cool and collected as he is in any boxing match when he’s effortlessly landing right-hand leads. He repeated the same line over and over: I can give it and take it. The implication being, can the UFC star absorb Mayweather’s fine-tuned shots, groomed to score and damage since he was playing with a rattle in a crib?
He hit all the right notes during a 10-minute monologue where he reminisced about his career. He expressed gratitude for his relationships with MGM Resorts head honcho Richard Sturm and WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman. He even dissuaded a disrespectful team member from heckling McGregor.
It was clear: he means it this time when he says retirement is imminent. 50-0 and gone.
“To compete in a combat sport, you have to be a fighter at the end of the day,” Mayweather said. “To be in this sport for 21 years, I had to take it extremely seriously, just like I did for this bout.”
Dedication to his craft is the hallmark of Mayweather’s storied career. Never once did he appear in anything but tip-top condition. No shortcuts. Only a fighter ready for 12 hard rounds each and every time. If McGregor has any chance for a miracle punch, it might because Mayweather didn’t take him seriously. But that surely won’t be the case.
Mayweather will surpass Rocky Marciano’s hallowed mark of 49-0 and walk off into the sunset. Sure, he’s retired three times before, the first such announcement coming in 2007 after he topped Oscar De La Hoya in a bout that shattered revenue records at the time.
Ten years later, Mayweather is 40 years old with a real shot to become the first billion-dollar fighter. It’s hard to fathom him fighting on, and even if he had the desire, what opponent would deliver the kind of payday to entice him? Mayweather is certain this is the end.
“You just know,” Mayweather said. “I’m not going to tell you guys how I know. I just know. When your body has been pushed to the limit … once you’ve competed against everybody, your body has been pushed to the limit.”
So love him or hate him, fans will have one last chance to see Mayweather do what he does best: hit and evade. He should do so with ease against McGregor, and even if it’s the mismatch it’s widely expected to be, so what? If you relish pure boxing, this is the final opportunity to see one of its greatest practitioners perform his last dance.
“I gave my word already. Once I gave my word to my children, it’s the end. It came to an end,” he said. “This is a great event. What better way to go out than with a bang?”
Wladimir Klitschko, Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley and Shane Mosley all announced their retirements this summer. And after Saturday evening, Mayweather will follow them and climb through the ropes for the last time.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger