By Ivan G. Goldman
If Floyd Mayweather squares off with Andre Berto Sept. 12 that’s not a particularly bad thing. It will be free to viewers and at age 38 and after 48 outings the champ is entitled to a tune-up.
And yes, I know I wrote recently that I don’t much care who Mayweather fights next because there are plenty of other fighters who are more interesting to watch. But the boxing world is in fact very much Floyd-centric and if we ignored the Mayweather buzz we wouldn’t be doing our job.
If CBS wants to throw $32 million at him for fighting someone who’s on nobody’s top ten list of welterweights (at least Berto doesn’t deserve to be) that’s not particularly awful. Mayweather is more entitled to such sums than an obnoxious fat-cat like Donald Trump who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.
Berto, age 33, is 30-3, 23 KOs and lost three of his last six fights. If you’re a glass half-full kind of thinker, he won three of his last six. He tested positive for an anabolic steroid three years ago, which torpedoed a rematch with Victor Ortiz. He’d lost his welterweight belt to Ortiz a year earlier.
Everyone is saying sweetscience.com reported Mayweather-Berto as a done deal, but that’s not how I read the story, which attributed its reporting to “word on the street.” Is a rumor about a rumor worth reporting? Frankly, no. But the whole world pays attention so we can’t just skip it.
The possibly more trustworthy Los Angeles Times says the date, the network, and the opponent are all uncertain. “Officials” speaking to the Times called the sweetscience.com report “premature.” What’s an official? Your guess is as good as mine. Could be someone at CBS, maybe the guy who cleans out the trash bins or something.
But we all know the drill. This is what always happens prior to a Mayweather fight. Lots of rumors and speculation. And the bottom line is, as I’ve pointed out previously, there are just about always more enticing fights to care about.
For instance you’ve got light heavyweights Sergey Kovalev and Nadjib Mohammed July 25 in Las Vegas carried by HBO. I say that in jest, okay? 5dimes odds are Kovalev -10,000 and Mohammad +4,000 and that’s apparently no misprint. You have to put up $10,000 to win $100 on Kovalev and $100 on his opponent can win you $4,000. Betting on Mohammad is kind of like putting a buck on Powerball. You never know.
Presumably the odds will be closer for Beibut Shumenov versus B.J. Flores the same night in the same town, a PBC cruiserweight bout match to be presented on NBC Sportsnet.
5dimes sees featherweights Abner Mares-Leo Santa Cruz on August 29 in Los Angeles as a dead-even tossup. That’s on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Take note that Al Haymon’s PBC, often accused of putting together one-sided contests, deserves credit on this one for staging a gamble.
Also interesting is an HBO contest on Oct. 24 in Germany, where Wladimir Klitschko will put up all his heavyweight belts against undefeated British giant Tyson Fury. That’s -450 Klitschko, +330 Fury.
As for Mayweather versus whomever on whenever, they don’t post odds on rumors.
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available now from Permanent Press wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.