by Bryanna Fissori
Three months into retirement Floyd Mayweather Jr. is reportedly still training “like a maniac” and in fighting shape. His recent training video, recorded in his Las Vegas gym has inspired rumors of a comeback and potential rematch with his most recent opponent, Conor McGregor.
Given the amount of money made by everyone involved with the fight in August, it is not surprising that there is talk of doing it again. The cash is still being counted, but general totals have fight purses at $100 million for Mayweather and $30 million for McGregor prior to accounting for PPV buys, gate sales, sponsorship, etc.
The Mayweather Perspective
Mayweather is 40 years old and boasts an unblemished professional record of 50-0. This is the largest unbeaten winning streak in boxing history, beating out the previous record of 49-0 held by heavyweight Rocky Marciano who passed away in 1969.
This is Mayweather’s third attempt at retirement. He has previously returned to the ring primarily due to financial necessity after running into a number of problems with the IRS and the legal system. Mayweather asserts, that this time he is really done.
“You won’t see me in the ring no more. Any guy that’s calling me out? Forget it. I’m OK. I had a great career. I had a tremendous career,” said Mayweather. “I did walk away from this sport before. Very comfortable. I didn’t have to come back. But we do foolish things sometimes. All of us do foolish things. But I’m not a damn fool. If I see an opportunity to make $300-, $350 million in 36 minutes, why not? I had to do it. But this is the last one. You guys have my word.”
The McGregor Perspective
Conor McGregor is a 29 year old professional MMA fighter competing for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). McGregor’s bout against Mayweather was his boxing debut. He has been very clear that he would gladly rematch Mayweather should the opportunity arise.
In a recent Q&A session McGregor stated, “I’m not calling him out. I’ll sit back. We’ll see how he gets along with this round of money. Maybe I’ll get another call. Originally he was saying an MMA bout next. . . That’s what he said before the fight.”
McGregor is the UFC Lightweight Champion and will most likely have his next competition in the cage, though he has also shown interest in boxing again or spending some time in professional wrestling. Both boxing and professional wrestling have been known to produce solid paychecks in comparison to MMA.
There has also been talk of McGregor talking on former training partner Paulie Malignaggi in a boxing match. It is a match Malignaggi has requested following statements released to the media that McGregor had gotten the best of him during training camp.
Mayweather and MMA
Well, technically if Mayweather was to agree to a bout with MMA rules that wouldn’t have any effect on his assertion of retirement from boxing or his perfect record. The money would be good and the hype would be exciting.
McGregor has stated that he believes Mayweather could compete in mixed martial arts. “He has some very strong tools he could bring into an MMA game for sure.”
One of the most notable crossovers from boxing to MMA was boxer James Toney, who took on UFC fighter Randy Couture in 2010. The match went as expected with Couture out grappling the boxer. Other crossovers that shared as similar fate include Art Jimmerson who faces Royce Gracie in UFC 1 and Ricardo Mayorga who had a series of losses before calling it quits. There are numerous others who have found similar issues with the kicking and grappling aspects of the sport. One of the most recent examples is Bellator fighter Heather Hardy who was unable to outbox Kristina Williams who blooded the boxer with kicks and knees.
The key for Mayweather in an MMA bout would be defending takedowns and watching for kicks and knees, especially given his typical style of playing with his back against the ropes.
McGregor has some proving to do back in the UFC cage and will probably defend his MMA title before any serious considerations of re-entering the ring. In the mean time, Mayweather will count his money and keep training to stay relevant to the masses, teasing fans with a comeback. Is it possible? McGregor may be on to something in his statement that Mayweather’s finances could be the decision maker. Will it be MMA or Boxing? That will likely depend on what the fans are willing to pay the most for.