Undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. finally announced his next fight, and pretty much the entire world collectively shrugged its shoulders.
Mayweather shared the news via Instagram on Tuesday. The 38-year-old fighter from Grand Rapids, Michigan, will face Andre Berto live on Showtime pay-per-view. The bout will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the de facto home of Mayweather's big-money PPVs. Mayweather also lives and trains in Las Vegas, his adopted hometown.
"I always bring my A-game, and this fight against Andre Berto is no exception," said Mayweather, via a Showtime press release. "He's a young, strong fighter who is hungry to take down the best. Forty-eight have tried before, and on Sept. 12, I'm going to make it 49."
Mayweather fights are usually the biggest and most extravagant promotions in boxing. He is the highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes, and quite arguably the most talented and accomplished fighter of his generation.
But Mayweather has made some mind-boggling opponent choices over the course of his 19-year professional career, and Berto just might be the worst one yet. In fact, Mayweather-Berto is a farce of a boxing promotion in which everyone involved ends up losing, a sure failure just as soon as it was announced. This fight stinks.
The most obvious loser is Berto.
Oh sure, he stands to make a significant amount of money from the fight. But Berto is a fighter who has been beaten to a pulp by boxers far less skilled than Mayweather. Not only does the 31-year-old Berto have no chance to win the fight, but the bout itself is significantly dangerous to him as a human being.
Lots of money means absolutely nothing if you put yourself in a position where you might not be able to enjoy it for very long, and Berto will be out of his league against Mayweather.
But Mayweather will also lose.
Oh sure, he will easily win the fight, but he will lose any sort of goodwill he had built with fans after finally facing and defeating Manny Pacquiao in his last fight. He's done this type of thing before. But in this case, Mayweather isn't just selecting the lesser fighter from a few reasonable options. He's selecting a fighter who is not ranked in the top 10 at welterweight by either Ring magazine or the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, one who has lost three of his last six fights.
Moreover, Mayweather selected Berto over a slew of more compelling matchups. As previously detailed at Bleacher Report, Mayweather would have been better served by defending either his lineal welterweight championship against Kell Brook or his lineal junior middleweight championship against Erislandy Lara.
But those weren't the only options. Leaving middleweights off the table (since Mayweather seemingly concedes facing a challenge at 160 pounds is something the similarly sized Roberto Duran could do, but he cannot), Mayweather still could have had a potential bout against Keith Thurman, Timothy Bradley, Danny Garcia or Amir Khan, all of whom make more sense than Berto.
Heck, anyone ranked in the top 10 by Ring at welterweight or junior middleweight would have been a better option.
Bleacher Report's Lyle Fitzsimmons suggested Mayweather-Berto would be more palatable if it were offered on CBS network television, a rumor that swirled a few weeks ago thanks to the Sweet Science's Michael Woods.
But here's the thing about Mayweather-Berto: Even if it were free, it would be a terrible matchup. No one wants to see the fight. No one believes Berto has done anything to warrant the fight. No one believes Berto will win.
Even Mayweather's television partners, Showtime and CBS, stand to lose a significant amount of the cache they have built with fight fans over the years because of the egregious spectacle of Mayweather-Berto.
In fact, Mayweather's historic six-fight deal with the media giant will have ended up yielding only two reasonable matchups: his September 2013 win over Canelo Alvarez and his besting of Manny Pacquiao in May of this year.
The others? Mayweather faced hapless welterweight Robert Guerrero, crude slugger Marcos Maidana (twice) and now divisional non-factor Berto.
But none of the things listed yet is the worst part of this mess. The absolute worst part of Mayweather-Berto is how it affects the fans, who should have always been the most important factor.
Fight fans were hit below the belt with Mayweather-Berto. No matter who you are or how you feel about Mayweather, virtually everyone who watches boxing believes he is a masterclass fighter when the bell rings on fight night.
But just as no one wishes to see a high school senior beat up a middle schooler, and no one would suggest the Dallas Cowboys should have a college football team on their schedule, Mayweather-Berto is a mismatch of epic proportions.
Even Pacquiao's silly bout against Chris Algieri last year made more sense. Algieri, at the time, was at least undefeated and coming off a huge upset win over Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO junior welterweight title.
Berto? He's coming into the Mayweather bout with consecutive wins over Steven Chambers (who?) and Josesito Lopez.
Look, even if you're one of Mayweather's biggest fans, you lose with Mayweather-Berto.
No matter how many "The Money Team" shirts and hats one purchases from Mayweather's online store and no matter how many future Hall of Famers Mayweather will have ended up defeating during his career, the selection of Berto in what will likely be Mayweather's swan song will forever lend credence to the idea that despite his otherworldly talent, Mayweather never really wanted to prove how great he could be.
And because of it, boxing fans of this era lose.
Mayweather-Berto is bunk. The saving grace of the fight is that maybe Mayweather will stay true to his word and ride off into the sunset 49-0. Sure, boxing will lose one of the all-time great talents when Mayweather retires, but it will also lose an all-time great who had a knack for frustrating fight fans.