Like the word “love” on Valentine’s Day, “retirement” is the most abused word in professional boxing.
You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of champions who kept their retirement vows. Truth be told, it is not easy for a boxer to just walk away from the sport he learned even before he memorized the alphabet. Moreover, when the money well starts to run dry, a return to pro boxing is the quickest way to resuscitate the coffers.
This brings us to the case of American Floyd May¬weather Jr., who recently announced his retirement after beating Andre Berto and scaling the hallowed 49-0 mark in boxing. Mayweather aver¬red that he is finished with boxing, but just about everybody took his announcement with a grain of salt. The prevailing opinion is that Mayweather is just taking his sweet time and waiting for another lucrative angle before lacing on the gloves again.
There are at least four reasons why this deadline-beater believes Mayweather will return to the ring. First, he can still compete at the top level. Granted that Berto was handpicked, the fact remains that May¬weather thoroughly dominated the former world champion. Mayweather may be 38 years old, but he has not really absorbed serious punishment owing to his defensive approach. In terms of counterpunching skills and ring generalship, Mayweather remains a cut above the rest.
Second, there is the matter of getting that 50th win that will put Mayweather in an exclusive plateau. It took Mayweather 19 years to match Rocky Mar¬ciano’s 49-0 record, what is one more fight to get past this record? One thing about Mayweather, he is never satisfied with sharing recognition.
Third, there is still so much money to be made. More than being a boxer, Mayweather is a businessman who is willing to invest in time just to sweeten the pot. Remember Floyd’s admission that he really delayed the wait for the fight with Manny Pacquiao to whet everyone’s fistic appetite?
The strategy resulted in May¬weather receiving the biggest purse in the sport’s history. Mayweather is a free agent now, he can have the money all for himself or simply re-sign a limited deal with Showtime. The rematch with Pacquiao may not earn Mayweather the same re¬cord-breaking purse, but half of it is still an astronomical figure.
Fourth, there is the unfinished business with Pac¬quiao. Pacquiao fought with a bum shoulder while latest reports suggest that May¬weather may have taken banned substances. There are a lot of loose ends in this fight that only a rematch can settle. Worse, if the Nevada State Athletic Commission shows some balls and chan¬ges the result of the fight to a No Contest, May¬weather’s biggest win will be reduced into a mere blur. Pacquiao is already hankering for a rematch and the guess is that Mayweather is just playing wait-and-see.
Mayweather can just sit back and rest on his laurels, make that his millions, but many really do not see him as the shy, retiring type.
* * *
For comments, the writer can be reached at email@example.com.