For possibly the last time, on September 12, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will step into the ring looking to continue his historic run. He will be taking on Andre Berto with the chance to move his record to 49-0, the same mark as Rocky Marciano.
Mayweather is just as concerned with his business as with who he's fighting, and his business has been booming. He made at least $220 million for beating Manny Pacquiao in May.
The business of Mayweather this time around figures to be tied to the intrigue of fans possibly seeing his last match. He said after defeating Pacquiao he was retiring when his contract with Showtime Sports expired, which will happen after this fight with Berto.
However, there's no doubt Mayweather will walk away from Saturday's matchup with substantially less money than he made in May. That's not to say he's going to need a small wallet, as ESPN.com's Dan Rafael noted the 38-year-old will make at least $35 million.
While Berto's payout isn't being talked about, recent Mayweather opponents like Marcos Maidana earned a guaranteed $3 million for the rematch last September (per Lem Satterfield of RingTV.com) and Saul Alvarez got $5 million guaranteed with more generated from pay-per-view revenue, per Rafael.
|Mayweather vs. Berto Odds|
|Source: Odds Shark|
There was disappointment within the boxing community when Mayweather announced his matchup with Berto. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix went so far as to say the undefeated champion was mocking his own legacy:
It’s maddening. He could fight anybody. Mayweather is the one fighter unaffected by boxing politics. If he wants an opponent outside Al Haymon’s stable, he’s got it. He’s the money man, he dictates terms. He got Pacquiao to swallow a lesser deal; he could get Bob Arum and Tim Bradley to swallow a far worse one. Instead, he takes the path of least resistance (allegedly) one final time.
Based on the odds Berto is getting, Mannix's assessment doesn't appear to be far off. It's a deserved skepticism, as well. The 31-year-old is 3-3 in his last six fights after starting off 27-0. His best win since 2011 came against Josesito Lopez in March.
To his credit, Berto isn't backing down from big talk. He told Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times after the fight was officially announced that his skills match up well with Mayweather.
The guys who have failed ... they couldn’t keep up with [Mayweather]. I've got certain tools -- speed, explosiveness -- that other guys haven’t had. I'm very confident and will bring something to the table we haven't seen. They can doubt it if they want, but I can tell you, you don’t want to miss it.
Berto did knockout Lopez, though that looks less impressive considering his previous three losses have all come via knockout.
One thing that does give Berto hope is the way Mayweather fights. One of the biggest criticisms of the bout with Pacquiao is that it was boring because Mayweather didn't want to do anything after he knew the judges had to score the fight his way.
Granted, that's how Mayweather has fought virtually all of his career, but it looks worse in a match of that magnitude. Since "Money" isn't trying to knock opponents out—it's happened just once in seven fights since 2011—Berto will have 36 minutes to make something happen.
There's a reason Mayweather is an overwhelming favorite—beyond being the biggest star in the sport. He made a calculated decision to go against an opponent who analysts agree is far inferior to him.
Ticket sales seem to indicate that everyone expects Mayweather to win in a walk, as well as Berto's lack of drawing power as an opponent.
ESPN.com's Darren Rovell reported on September 8 there are more than 2,100 tickets still available for Saturday's bout and MGM had started to offer a hotel package that included tickets to Mayweather vs. Berto.
Mayweather is indisputably talented and knows how to manipulate a fight to his advantage. No one in the sport can match his combination of precise striking, speed and defense. It doesn't always make for exciting fights, but the referee always raises his hand when it's over.
Against Pacquiao, Compubox stats (via Ana Hissa of SporTV) showed Mayweather landed 48 percent of his power punches and was only hit a total of 81 times in 12 rounds.
Pacquiao is a superior fighter to Berto, so it will be difficult to imagine a scenario in which Mayweather gets touched enough on Saturday to lose a round. Even though the world loves an upset, it won't happen on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Mayweather wins by unanimous decision