SAN DIEGO, September 10, 2015 – No one who’s watched boxing the past 20 years could have ever bet against Floyd Mayweather. He has now won 48 fights with 26 by knockout and never lost for a reason. He is on his way to matching Rocky Marciano’s record of 49 fights without a loss this Saturday in Las Vegas against challenger Andre Berto of Miami, Florida.
Despite Mayweather’s undeniable accomplishments and his status as the number one pound for pound boxer in the world today on every reputable list, there is little enthusiasm for the event. It is understandable, but it is a shame.
At Wednesday’s final news conference, Mayweather and Berto both vowed to go for a knockout, something you don’t often hear Mayweather promise. Mayweather was verbally on the defensive as he is in the ring, declaring at length how hard he works and how no one can match his accomplishments.
The contrast between the off the charts hype for Mayweather’s last fight against popular Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao and the under the radar attitude toward this upcoming fight couldn’t be greater. Fans, sports media, and celebrities couldn’t get enough in the month leading up to the May 2 bout. This time, it’s hard to find anyone even talking about it.
Boxing fans who remain unhappy about the failure of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao to deliver any excitement in the ring for their money are voting in the only way they know how. This time, they are keeping their wallets closed. They aren’t buying tickets, and they aren’t booking the pay-per-view, either.
No matter the outcome of the May fight, it would have been nearly impossible to follow it up. Mayweather said after the Pacquiao bout, “I got one more fight. My last fight is in September, then it’s time to hang it up. I’m almost 40 years old.” This is Mayweather’s final fight on his contract with Showtime/CBS.
“My love and passion for boxing is not what it was, but I have to go out there and do my job,” said Mayweather. “The ultimate goal was to make nine figures in one night, and that’s what we did… I can quit boxing today, and I’m A-OK.”
There was hope that Mayweather would agree to fight a significant opponent in his finale, assuming it really is his final fight. Or, at the very least, he might make the fight free to fans on broadcast TV, airing on the CBS network as a gift to the public. Neither of these things happened.
Instead, Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) gave the nod to Berto (30-3, 23 KOs),, a 32-year-old former two-time welterweight world champion whose best performances are five years behind him. He has lost to Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero, who were both beaten badly by Mayweather. After layoffs due to injuries, he was on his way to another loss when he pulled out a TKO win in March against Josesito Lopez, who has problems of his own.
Berto took the fight, and now finds himself taking the brunt of the fans’ disappointment in the bout through no fault of his own.
What can be said of Berto is that he always appears to give his best effort. He is well-liked and works hard. Out of the ring, he has worked diligently supporting relief efforts following the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Berto’s parents are both Haitian; he fought for Haiti in the 2004 Olympics. Eight family members died in the disaster. Berto was so devastated at the time it occurred, he pulled out of a scheduled bout with Shane Mosley.
It was the start of a difficult period in his career. He tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2012, and had shoulder surgery in 2013. It wasn’t a sure thing he would ever return to the ring. When he did, he lost three of six fights leading up to Saturday.
“I fight like a dog so i won’t ever have to see the pain my parents had to go through to provide for us every single day,” Berto wrote on Twitter. “We grew up with nothing but love we had for each other … My family is everything I believe in.”
Critics point to Berto’s resume as proof Mayweather is afraid to face any “real” competition. The truth is that Mayweather has nothing to prove. He has faced as many serious opponents as anyone: Corrales, Castillo, Cotto, Mosley, De La Hoya, Alvarez, Maidana, and yes, Pacquiao. None of them could solve the “MayVinci Code.” At age 38 with an undefeated record and an unimaginable amount of money in the bank, he has earned the right to declare himself “The Best Ever.”
If this fight amounts to a victory lap, Mayweather earned it. But it doesn’t mean the public feels like paying $75 to see it.
No one needs to worry about Berto’s feelings either. Although Berto’s paydays have never come close to Mayweather’s (until now), he is reported to have a net worth of $15 million, which most people could live on comfortably for the rest of their lives. He will reportedly double his net worth thanks to this upcoming fight.
Communities Digital News will be ringside at the fight in Las Vegas, and we will provide round by round reports throughout the fight card including the main event. Join us Saturday night, and we won’t charge you a penny for the privilege.
Mayweather vs. Berto, “High Stakes,” airs on Showtime PPV Saturday, September 12, starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT with the undercard bouts.
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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