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Mayweather (again) Announces Retirement, Cancels De La Hoya Bout

As BLH regular Fooch noted in his fan post, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has issued a press release announcing his "permanent" retirement from boxing. His announcement, quoted in full below, suggests that his upcoming bout with Oscar is officially off:

Dear Media

It is with a heavy heart that I write you this message today. I have decided to permanently retire from boxing. This decision was not an easy one for me to make as boxing is all I have done since I was a child. However, these past few years have been extremely difficult for me to find the desire and joy to continue in the sport. I have said numerous times and after several of my fights over the past two years that I might not fight again. At the same time, I loved competing and winning and also wanted to continue my career for the fans, knowing they were there for me and enjoyed watching me fight. However, after many sleepless nights and intense soul-searching I realized I could no longer base my decision on anything but my own personal happiness, which I no longer could find. So I have finally made up my mind, spoken to my family, particularly my mother, and made my decision. I am sorry I have to leave the sport at this time, knowing I still have my God-given abilities to succeed and future multi-million dollar paydays ahead, including the one right around the corner. But there comes a time when money doesn't matter. I just can't do it anymore. I have found a peace with my decision that I have not felt in a long time. Finally, I want to personally thank all of my fans for their loyalty and dedication as my career comes to a close. I always believed that their enthusiasm and support helped carry me to victory with every fight I ever had. It was a great joy to have fought for all of you. Now I hope you understand my decision and wish me well with the rest of my life.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Friday, June 6 2008

Dan Rafael is taking this seriously, though a quick look around in the world of boxing blogs shows that many others aren't. The most common counter-theory is that this is a ploy to get more money out of Oscar, and I certainly wouldn't put it past a guy who re-nicknamed himself "money." It's also possible that Oscar is in on the ploy, and this is an attempt to hype the fight as "Floyd and Oscar's final bouts" (this would be assuming Floyd decided to honor his commitment for this "one last fight" before actually retiring).

But my hunch is that this is for real, or at least that Mayweather thinks it's for real right now. If it does turn out to be a ploy to secure more cash, then Oscar should refuse to budge, even if it means no more fight. You just can't allow that kind of bullshit. There are a lot of people--Mayweather fans, Oscar, Cotto--who will be rightly upset by this, but there will perhaps be even more, especially the legions of Mayweather-haters, who will be hooting it up and recycling every bad cliché in the book, calling him a coward and a fraud.

But no matter how you look at it, Floyd's retirement, if for real, is a blow to the sport. Whatever one thinks of him, it's undeniable that Floyd has done more to expand the audience for boxing than any fighter since De La Hoya. He's really the only active fighter besides De La Hoya who most non-fans have even heard of. Had Floyd cared to, he could have campaigned for boxing, taken the necessary fights, and helped lead the sport back to its former status in the mainstream. That's not going happen anytime soon now--not unless fighters like Pavlik and Cotto are able to suddenly find more serious competition than seems to currently exist.

On the other hand, this decision is the right one if he has really lost the heart to fight, as his cynical rematch with Oscar already seemed to suggest. I'd rather have Floyd out of the picture altogether than hanging around, dodging Cotto and everyone else who didn't pay to his standards, and stinking up PFP lists with his increasingly dubious status at the top, while only taking "mega-event" fights with predictable opponents and outcomes.

So my take? I think Floyd means what he says right now and will probably not fight for some time. In a couple years, he very well may change his mind, and if he does, we will be forced to take a real fight by then (like a match with Cotto) to attempt to reclaim his PFP status. In other words, in the long run, whether he returns or not, this is a good thing, because the probable alternative--fighting only events like the newly canceled one with Oscar--is even worse.


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