In an Instagram post made in the early hours of the Friday morning, the boxer was cryptic but emphatic in stating he was: ‘Coming out of retirement in 2020’
The post was made shortly after uploading a photo of he and UFC president Dana White, which was captioned: ‘@danawhite and I working together again to bring the world another spectacular event in 2020’. And naturally, this immediately had fight fans falling over themselves to decipher what all this could mean.
Is Mayweather, who has long flirted with MMA, finally about to try his luck in the octagon or instead, more realistically, engage in another crossover event?
The announcement retirement snap was of him in boxing shorts, perhaps suggesting that his comeback is destined for the squared circle in which he accumulated a perfect 50-0 record.
Last time out, in August 2017, he finished UFC megastar Conor McGregor inside 10 rounds in an event that was highly-lucrative for both fighters in guaranteeing him $100mn and the Irishman $30mn before the first bell had even rung.
This established union with White could result in a bout with the latter company’s welterweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is undefeated while closing in on 30-0 and believes that defeating both Georges St-Pierre and Mayweather is all that separates him from being regarded the greatest fighter of all time.
By some eagle-eyed fans, much has been made of the fact that in the photo, Mayweather dons the same shorts in which he soundly beat Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on points in 2013.
Recently becoming a four-division champion by putting away an aging Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light-heavyweight crown, the Mexican is considered the world’s pound-for-pound ruler and would represent the most difficult challenge out there for a 42-year-old Mayweather.
While the weight class would also need to be decided and Canelo currently holds no belts at light-middleweight, Mayweather would also have to negotiate with DAZN to make it happen. But as it broadcasts UFC in several countries, White’s dealings with the streaming service could help him cross that bridge.
A repeat of 2015’s megafight with Manny Pacquiao makes far more sense and is something the Filipino, much closer to the Grand Rapids native in age at 40, has continually pined for.
Breaking $410 million in revenue, the original meeting was the highest-grossing pay-per-view event in history and surpassed that set by the aforementioned Mayweather-Alvarez showdown a couple of years prior.
Though it was also simulataneously aired by Showtime, HBO Boxing is now defunct and both men could maximise their earning potential by negotiating with DAZN and the newly-formed Zuffa Boxing. Deriving from the parent company which sold the UFC to its current owners WME-IMG for $4bn in 2016, White spoke of launching it in October this year but it is yet to get off the ground.
Or maybe Floyd is just having us on and plans more of his breezy exhibition bouts such as that which pitted him against kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in Japan on New Year’s Eve last year.
‘I’ll still travel and do exhibitions. I make great money doing exhibitions — between 10 and 30 million dollars,’ Mayweather admitted this week. ‘I think I make more doing that than most fighters make fighting.’
It goes without saying that for the future Hallf of Fame entrant who changed his ring name from the ‘Pretty Boy’ to ‘Money’ however, the far more eye-watering sums that interest him lay in making his full and proper professional return to the fight game.