Floyd Mayweather’s next opponent will be 31-year-old welterweight Andre Berto, according to a report from TMZ Sports.
Though the September 12 fight hasn’t been confirmed by Mayweather’s camp or a network — CBS is believed to air the fight — Mayweather has mentioned Berto’s name in the past, and Berto tweeted that he’s excited to “be in the running” to fight Mayweather.
The boxing world isn’t exactly jumping for joy over this next fight. If the report is true, it may confirm a popular theory about how Mayweather wants to end his career — with an easy opponent that will let him retire undefeated.
Mayweather is now 48-0 after a unanimous, 12-round victory over Manny Pacquiao. While Mayweather has suggested his next fight may be his last, some people believe he will go for two more easy fights to retire 50-0.
Mayweather’s father and trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr., told David Mayo of MLive that Floyd “just wants to get a couple of easy fights.” Mayweather Sr. said he told his son he should just retire if that’s the case. He also said that he believes judges and analysts will soon turn against his son’s defensive, evasive fighting style.
No victory is ever guaranteed, but Berto seems like a safe opponent for Mayweather. Berto is 30-3 during his career, but is just 3-3 in his last six fights, and one of those losses came to Robert Guerrero, whom Mayweather has beaten.
As ESPN’s Dan Rafael noted, a Mayweather-Berto fight “pales in comparison” to potential fights with Amir Khan and Keith Thurman, two other fighters who were in the running to fight Mayweather. Rafael mentions that CBS potentially airing the fight instead of a pay-per-view (PPV) medium is seen as a “goodwill move” after the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight didn’t live up to expectations with a price of $US100 on PPV. Some people also believe a Mayweather-Berto fight wouldn’t drive in PPVs.
Bleacher Report’s Kelsey McCarson writes that Berto has “no business” being in the ring with Mayweather:
“Berto has no business inside a prizefighting ring with Mayweather. He is athletic but hardly skilled. He is not ranked among the top 10 welterweights in the world by either Ring Magazine or the Transnational Boxing Ranking Board. He has suffered losses to middling contenders Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass. He possesses no attribute as a fighter that would lead any sane person to believe he’d be anything but a glorified sparring partner for Mayweather on fight night.”
Wil Esco of Bad Left Hook broke down Berto’s recent fight against Josesito Lopez, noting that Mayweather would dismantle Berto with the same style Lopez used.
This has been a frequent criticism of Mayweather, as some people believe he’s chased easy, safe fights to preserve his record. His fight against Pacquiao took so long to develop that Pacquiao was clearly on the back-end of his career by the time it came to fruition — a safe bet for Mayweather.
Now, with Mayweather ending his career, he has a chance to be one of the few champion boxers to finish his career undefeated, and it seems he may be going for easy opponents to ensure that legacy.
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