Floyd Mayweather isn’t the only recent International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee interested in competing in exhibitions.
Mayweather told a group of reporters following a press conference Monday night in Henderson, Nevada that Andre Ward informed him Sunday that he would like to compete in an exhibition against Jake Paul. Ward and Mayweather, both members of the IBHOF’s Class of 2021, were together over the weekend, when the last three classes were inducted as part of the same ceremony in Canastota, New York.
“I spoke to Andre Ward,” Mayweather said. “You guys seen us talking on stage, you know, at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. We was talking on stage. You know, Andre Ward was talking to me. And it’s crazy. Andre Ward said he wanted to do, he didn’t mind doing a exhibition against Jake Paul.”
The 45-year-old Mayweather announced during a press conference Monday night at M Resort Spa Casino that he’ll return to the ring sometime in September for a boxing match against Japanese mixed martial artist Mikuru Asakura. The date, site and rules for their bout weren’t revealed, but Mayweather-Asakura will headline a Rizin Fighting Federation show.
The 38-year-old Ward, meanwhile, hasn’t boxed since he defeated Sergey Kovalev by eighth-round technical knockout in their immediate rematch nearly five years ago. Ward was just 33 when he announced his retirement in September 2017.
At the time of his retirement, Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) was widely viewed as the number one boxer, pound-for-pound, in the sport.
The former super middleweight and light heavyweight champion has mentioned returning to the ring for a high-profile fight, perhaps at heavyweight. The Oakland native has a prominent broadcasting job for ESPN, though, and doesn’t seem inclined to participate in a boxing match against a top opponent.
The polarizing Paul (5-0, 4 KOs) has competed in one exhibition, but his past five fights, all within the cruiserweight division, have counted on his record. The Westlake, Ohio native announced Friday that he’ll return to the ring August 6 in a Showtime Pay-Per-View main event, but his opponent hasn’t been chosen.
Rescheduling his fight with Tommy Fury, a younger brother of Tyson Fury, is a possibility. Paul and Fury (8-0, 4 KOs) were supposed to meet December 18 in Tampa, Florida, but Fury withdrew from that event on short notice due to a bacterial chest infection and a broken rib.
Paul has beaten former UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley in each of his past two bouts. His vicious sixth-round knockout of Woodley in their rematch December 18 was a “Knockout of the Year” candidate.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.