SAN DIEGO, August 4, 2015 – By the time of the announcement Tuesday afternoon, it was hardly a surprise after speculation ran rampant for weeks. Undefeated American welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather (48-0-0, 26 KOs) announced via Instagram and later on his website he will face Haitian born Andre Berto (30-3 23 KOs) in Las Vegas on Saturday, September 12.
The fight will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, home to Mayweather’s last 11 bouts starting in 2007 against Oscar de la Hoya. The bout takes place at 147 pounds, with the WBC, WBA, and WBO titles at stake.
Mayweather says it will be his final fight. A win would tie Mayweather with late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano’s 49 wins without a defeat. Marciano retired in April 1956, and the record is one of the most revered in boxing and in all sports.
Berto is currently ranked number 14 among American welterweights, and 22nd among welterweights worldwide. While Berto is not a pushover, he is not the type of “I’ll fight the best” opponent, which endears a boxer to his fans, like a Canelo Alvarez for example. Berto’s most recent win was a sixth round knockout of Josesito Lopez of Riverside, California last fall.
Mayweather avoided the number two (Keith Thuman), three (Shawn Porter) and four (Timothy Bradley Jr.) ranked opponents; as well as England’s Kell Brook, who beat Porter last summer and who is ranked third in the world behind Mayweather and Pacquiao. Mayweather has been called out for months by Britain’s Amir Khan, ranked number six in the world. (So please, can we get Brook vs. Khan set up already?)
The one twist reportedly under consideration, putting the fight on the CBS broadcast network as a “gift” from Mayweather to fans, did not come to pass. The fight will air on Showtime pay per view (PPV).
Mayweather can expect a backlash from fans who were disappointed after shelling out nearly 100 bucks to see Mayweather’s bout against Manny Pacquiao in May. Critics said he should put the fight on CBS if he wasn’t going to face a ranked opponent, specifically meaning Berto who holds no titles and is not in the top ten welterweights on any reputable list. Mayweather’s team must believe the prospect of watching what could be Money’s last fight will be too tantalizing for anyone to risk missing it. No word yet on the price tag.
There will be nowhere near the buildup for this bout as there was earlier this year when Mayweather faced off against Filipino superstar Pacquiao. But make no mistake, Mayweather is still the number one ranked pound for pound boxer in the world and the world’s best-paid athlete for the third straight year according to Forbes Magazine. There is enormous interest in everything Mayweather does. If it really is his swan song, discussion about Mayweather’s legacy will last for decades after he leaves the ring. Is he really “The Best Ever”?
Two fights were announced for the undercard. Roman “Rocky” Martinez of Puerto Rico (29-2-2, 17 KOs), will fight a rematch against his last opponent, four-time world champion Orlando Salido (42-13-2, 29 KOs) of Mexico, for Martinez’ WBO junior lightweight belt. Badou Jack (19-1-1, 12 KOs) will make his first defense of his WBC super middleweight title against George Groves of Great Britain (21-2, 16 KOs). Groves is Jack’s mandatory challenger. A fourth fight is reportedly going to be announced soon.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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