By Jackie Kallen
Floyd Mayweather is not just the richest fighter in history, he’s also one of the smartest. His career has gone exactly as planned from Day One and as he is winding down he is taking no chances. He intends to retire undefeated and remain one of the all-time greats. Fighting Andre Berto on September is a calculated move to tie Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 unbeaten record.
Berto is not a bad fighter. He has won 30 fights, knocking out 70% of his opponents. However, he has lost three out of his last six bouts. He’s only 31, but he’s had a lot of tough fights. He got stopped by Jesus Soto Karass in the 12th round of their 2013 fight in Texas. Before that he lost to both Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz. Both were unanimous decisions.
From Winter Haven, FL, he had an impressive start and beat David Estrada in 2007 to win the NABF Welterweight title. A year later he won the WBC Welterweight belt by beating Miguel Angel Rodriguez. He was on a roll. He defended his title successfully against Stevie Forbes, Luis Collazo and five others before coming up against Ortiz.
He bounced back five months later by beating Jan Zaveck for the IBF Welterweight title. Soon after, he lost to Guerrero and then Karass. Not ready to call it quits, Berto came back strongly this past March when he beat Josesito Lopex for the interim WBA Welterweight title. Now he is facing the most important fight of his career.
Other than the most die-hard Berto fans, few people are giving him a chance. He has been quoted as saying that he has what it takes to beat Mayweather. He claims to be in great shape and has had a terrific camp. Of course that’s what he’s supposed to say. He has to sell a very unexciting fight.
At 38 years old with 48 bouts under his belt, Mayweather is still considered by most to be the P4P best in the world. Names like Maidana, Pacquaio, Mosely, de la Hoya, Alvarez, Cotto, Judah and Gatti have tried to dethrone Mayweather. All were unsuccessful. Is it reasonable to think that Andre Berto can do what none of them could do?
At this stage in his career, Mayweather is just looking to fulfill contracts, break records, and collect more money. He’s smart enough not to take on Kell Brook or Keith Thurmon. Why fight undefeated guys when he can face Berto? Nobody tells Mayweather who to fight. He has said that this will be his last fight. That’s a selling point. People who are not interested in seeing him fight Berto, may come to the MGM just to see him get into the ring for the last time.
It would make sense for Mayweather to retire after this fight. I don’t believe it, though, He loves the spotlight, seems to still have plenty left in the tank, and can always find new ways to spend his fight purses.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he comes back after this to go for #50 and break Marciano’s record.
Photo: Scott Hirano/SHOWTIME