At the age of 43, recently minted Fighter of the Decade Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still entertaining the idea of stepping inside the squared circle in all corners of the world — and against all comers.
UFC president Dana White is bullish regarding Mayweather Jr.’s future as a fighter.
“Floyd wants to fight,” White told Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports in an Instagram Live interview on Wednesday. “He wants to fight. We’re going to probably ... listen, I’m dealing with all the (expletive) that’s going on with 2020 right now. Floyd and I want to work together. We want to do something. We’re going to do something. I just need a little more time to get my (expletive) together.”
Mayweather Jr. has maintained close conversations and hinted at a reunion of some sorts with White since last year.
He’s also recently reengaged in conversations with Japanese fighting promotion Rizin for another exhibition match, much like he did the last time he was involved in any kind of bout on New Year’s Eve 2018 when he toyed, thwacked and scored a TKO over Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a one-round Rizin exhibition match.
UFC impresario White collaborated with Mayweather Jr. to stage the mega match versus Conor McGregor in 2017. He’s unbothered about boxer’s yearslong layoff.
“No, it doesn’t concern me, but those are things that will all factor into the fight,” White said. “Those are all things that will factor into the fight, 100%. … I don’t know. Those are questions that will be answered when you put the fight on. The Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather fight was the perfect storm. That thing was built from the fans to the media and became what it became.”
White also ruled the Irishman out of the Mayweather Jr. picture, saying: “Conor McGregor is retired … Yes, Conor McGregor is retired.”
Mayweather Jr., meanwhile, did not close the door on yet another encounter with McGregor, the former UFC champion he decisively beat via ninth-round TKO.
“For now, I'm happily retired. You never know, but it would have to be worth it,” Mayweather Jr. told Forbes last month while discussing a potential sequel. “Just like gambling right? Juice worth the squeeze no matter who the opponent is.”
In January, days before McGregor was set to return for a UFC bout, Mayweather posted a since-deleted mock poster on social media hinting to a rematch in 2020 with the mixed martial artist.
Although Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27 KOs) was noncommittal regarding a comeback, he spoke with conviction to say that he’d never fight in a cage.
“No [I won’t compete in MMA]. I think just like how winning teams receive a home-field advantage in the playoffs … you don't fix what isn't broken, and my record isn't broken.”
As for Mayweather Jr.’s Eastern exploits, Rizin president Nobuyuki Sakakibara is reportedly looking to pair Money May with Takashi Uchiyama, a 40-year-old retired boxer and former WBA super featherweight champion from 2010 to 2016.
“We’re working on some things right now for Tokyo, whether 2020 or 2021,” said Mayweather Jr. without offering more detail.
In an interview last month with BoxingScene.com, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe shared some intel about the fighter's future.
“No comment as of yet. When and if I have something to talk about, we’ll let you know. I’m not disputing or refuting any of the reports, I want to be clear on that,” Ellerbe said in regard to Mayweather Jr.’s negotiations with Rizin.
“But to be honest, there is nothing to write about [yet], unless it comes from Floyd Mayweather, and that’s what it is. I can’t comment on something that didn’t come from him. When the time is right, he’ll speak on that. If there is an announcement to be made, it will come from Floyd Mayweather. Floyd will let us know, if anything happens. He’s the boss.
“Floyd is a businessman and has a number of relationships with a number of international moguls,” said Ellerbe. “He is a superstar, and can do anything he wants to business-wise around the world if it makes sense. He’s built these relationships over the last quarter-century. He’ll make the right decisions, consult his team and go from there. The beauty of being a global superstar like Floyd is that he has countless options based on if he chooses to do something.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.