There is little doubt that Floyd "Money" Mayweather is the biggest name in the sport of boxing currently. If he is unable to triumph over Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero on Saturday night, however, Mayweather should hang up the gloves for good and retire from boxing.
Despite the fact that Mayweather is 36 years old, he is arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world right now. His 43-0 record backs up that claim, but it could all come crashing down at a moment's notice. Every athlete reaches a downturn at some point in his or her career, and it's possible that Mayweather's could start on Saturday.
Mayweather hasn't shown any signs of slowing down, as he is still among the quickest and most evasive fighters in boxing. His defensive acumen is second to none, and when combined with his in-ring savvy, it seems nearly impossible to beat him. Guerrero didn't take this fight with the intention of losing, though, so he'll obviously give it his all.
Robert Guerrero @GHOSTBOXING
May 4th @SHOsports #MayDay cant come soon enough!! History will be made! Q4/21/2013, 4:48:36 AM
Guerrero isn't considered to be an elite fighter on the same level as Mayweather, but his track record is impressive in its own right. At 31-1-1 with 18 knockouts, Guerrero is a definite threat to Mayweather. It doesn't seem likely that "The Ghost" will upset Mayweather, but stranger things have certainly happened in a boxing ring.
Although Guerrero is no pushover, Mayweather should probably reconsider his career if he can't beat him. While Mayweather is a big name, most of the allure regarding his fights has to do with his undefeated record. Once that goes away, the intrigue surrounding him will largely disappear as well. Mayweather is a great fighter, but he isn't a particularly exciting one, so there won't be much incentive for people to buy his fights on pay-per-view.
Mayweather has already made millions upon millions of dollars over the course of his career and doesn't really need more than what he already has. He could retire at the age of 36 and live the rest of his life worry free. On top of that, he can get out of the game before serious injuries catch up with him and dampen his quality of life moving forward.
While Mayweather has retired on a couple occasions in the past, the allure of big-fight money has managed to pull him back in. Also, the fact that he was undefeated probably had a lot to do with why he returned. He knew that fans wanted to see him put his unblemished record on the line, so he obliged. If Mayweather loses to Guerrero, however, that will no longer be an option.
Perhaps the only thing that could keep Mayweather from retiring following a loss to Guerrero is his new deal with Showtime. According to a Showtime press release, Mayweather is signed for six fights over the course of 30 months. It is the richest deal in boxing and would be the richest athlete deal of all time if Mayweather were to compete in all six fights.
Based on the wording in the press release, though, Mayweather is not contractually obligated to take part in all six fights. There is likely an opt-out clause of some kind that Mayweather can exercise if he suffers an injury or simply decides to call it quits. In the event of a loss to Guerrero, exercising such a clause might be best for all parties involved.
Showtime signed Mayweather to the deal assuming that he will remain undefeated and continue to rake in huge pay-per-view numbers. If he loses to Guerrero, though, that all goes away. The only potential saving grace would be a fight with Manny Pacquiao, which could become more likely should Mayweather fall short against Guerrero.
The prevailing thought seems to be that Mayweather is wary of facing Pacquiao with his undefeated record on the line, but if that goes by the wayside, it would become strictly about money. Aside from money, there wouldn't be any incentive for Mayweather to continue fighting. If anything, he could further damage his legacy if he embarrasses himself.
Mayweather has pretty much done it all over the course of his career, and nobody would think any less of him if he retired today. Provided he loses to the underdog in Guerrero on Saturday, though, he should know for sure that it's time to step away for good.
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