You may not like him, you may even loathe him, but you cannot deny that Floyd Mayweather is incredibly important for the sport of boxing.
He's one of the two biggest draws in the sport—the biggest, if you ask him—and he brings showmanship that is unparalleled. Plus, he's as skilled and technical a fighter as we've seen in years.
The unbeaten 35-year-old champion late Saturday said he's leaning "80-20" toward retirement.
"If it was my last fight, I gave them a bang," Mayweather (43-0) said after his unanimous-decision (118-110, 117-111, 117-111) triumph over Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto (37-3) at the MGM Grand.
"There's really no one for me to fight anymore."
Well, other than Manny Pacquiao, but we all know how negotiations for that fight have turned out over the past several years.
Of course, can we really take Mayweather all that seriously in his commentary immediately after a long, physically grueling fight?
Maybe, seeing as he reiterated the possibility. From Osman Rodriguez of BoxingScene.com:
"I'm entitled to make certain moves that I want to make in my life. That's the great thing about my career - if Floyd Mayweather wants to continue to fight, he's gonna fight. If Floyd Mayweather is going to retire, that's what he's going to do. You guys have been great. The media has been great. The fans have been great. I just don't know what the future holds for Floyd Mayweather at this particular time," Mayweather said.
Don't leave us yet, Money May. Who else will give combative interviews with old reporters like Larry Merchant? Whose gigantic ego could possibly fill the heel void you would leave behind if you left the sport?
And what other fighter still has the capability, however unlikely, to make one the most anticipated fights in history happen, as you still can with Pacquiao?
At 35, it's clear that Mayweather should be winding down in his career, and he is certainly correct in noting that outside of Pacquiao, there really isn't anyone left for him to fight, at least not until Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is ready to step into the elite ranks.
But I would still take a rematch against Cotto before watching Mayweather ride off into the sunset. Even the distant possibility of the Pacquiao fight and the hope it brings is better than the absence of Mayweather altogether.
Ultimately, I don't think he's going anywhere. I think he has another fight or two in him before he starts to visibly show signs of decline.
For boxing's sake, I hope I'm right.
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