Floyd Mayweather duly completed his 49th victory as a professional boxer at the weekend by outpointing Andre Berto to retain his WBA Super Welterweight and WBC Welterweight titles. In achieving that feat, Mayweather equalled the record of legendary heavyweight Rocky Marciano is staying undefeated after 49 fights, but after that bout at the MGM hotel in Las Vegas, the champion announced his retirement. Yet there remain doubts as to whether he will honour that pledge.
When announcing that his bout against Berto would be his last venture into the ring, Mayweather declared that, “I have all my faculties. I have broken all the records in the sport and now I just want to spend time with my family”. That statement itself contains a slight inaccuracy as he has yet to break all the records, with the unbeaten 50 fights still within his grasp and surely that must tempt Mayweather into one last fight, especially with the prospect of all the publicity and money potentially generated.
However, it is worth noting that Mayweather claimed that he still possessed all his faculties, which does suggest an unwillingness to become involved in a full-scale brawl in any future fight. The 12 round success against Berto provided the perfect example of a boxer earning a comfortable victory without any great personal risk as Mayweather used his jab to score points, but never really followed with further decisive punching which may have drew a more dangerous response from his opponent.
Berto was not exactly one of the more troublesome challengers to have faced Mayweather having lost two of his five fights since losing to Victor Ortiz in April 2011. Ortiz was also the last boxer to have been stopped inside the distance by Mayweather just five months after that bout, and the champion had fought seven times since that victory.
Perhaps it is now just a case of Mayweather now realising that he no longer retains the ability to land knock-out punches and his slowing ring speed may become a hindrance against younger opponents. During the last three years, the champion has always fought in May and September so his own personal safety may determine whether he agrees to another bout in May 2016.
There will be challengers hoping to test the Mayweather defences including WBA (regular) welterweight champion Keith Thurman and IBF title holder Kell Brook, both of whom are unbeaten while Timothy Bradley and Amir Kkan are other viable contenders. Yet having fought the dangerous but ageing Manny Pacquiao in his previous bout, Mayweather appears unlikely to risk his health against a challenger capable of causing an upset. Should the unbeaten champion aim for the 50 fight unbeaten record, it is likely to be a stage-managed affair and a unanimous points victory for Floyd Mayweather.