By Keith Idec
Floyd Mayweather Jr. said Saturday night what he has dropped hints about for the past few months.
Mayweather told Showtime’s Jim Gray during an interview that aired as part of the network’s tripleheader from Las Vegas that he is considering coming out of retirement for his mixed martial arts debut. The undefeated five-division champion stressed that he won’t box again and will only consider a UFC fight, perhaps against Conor McGregor.
Mayweather, boxing’s biggest star, knocked out McGregor, UFC’s biggest star, in the 10th round of their 154-pound boxing match August 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ireland’s McGregor boxed for the first time as a professional against Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs).
Their pay-per-view event drew roughly 4.3 million buys, second among boxing matches only to the 4.6 million buys generated by Mayweather’s win over Manny Pacquiao in May 2015. Mayweather-McGregor made hundreds of millions of dollars in overall revenue, and there would be intense interest in a Mayweather MMA match, even if McGregor isn’t his opponent.
Skeptics, McGregor foremost among them, think the 41-year-old Mayweather merely is discussing participating in MMA for publicity. Mayweather still told Gray he wants to try that sport.
“Retirement has been great,” Mayweather said. “But as you know and everybody know, I go in retirement, I come back. I go in retirement, I come back. Is it possible that I come back? Yes, but if I do come back it has to be in the Octagon.”
Gray pressed Mayweather for a definitive answer regarding a comeback for an MMA match.
“I spoke with my team,” Mayweather said. “I spoke with Al Haymon. Al Haymon says no. But I spoke with Showtime, I spoke with CBS. If we can get together with Dana White and the UFC to make a mega-fight happen, one fight, it could be against Conor McGregor. We don’t know. But we could do a multi-fight deal. But Showtime and CBS has to be involved if I do a multi-fight MMA deal.”
Once Mayweather mentioned McGregor, Gray asked if McGregor’s arrest Thursday in New York following an ugly incident after a press conference for UFC 223 at Barclays Center would disqualify McGregor from consideration as Mayweather’s MMA opponent.
“I feel that when you have reached such high status, you have to carry yourself in a classy way,” Mayweather said. “Me, I know that when we fought we both sold the fight. The world loved what we did, but outside the ring you have to carry yourself like a gentleman.
“As of right now, Conor McGregor has other things to deal with. Me, myself, I can do whatever I want to, whenever I want to and how I want to.”
The 5-feet-8 Mayweather, who has fought as high as the junior middleweight limit in boxing (154 pounds), added that he would compete as a featherweight in MMA (limit of 145 pounds).
“When I do go to the Octagon, I look forward to probably around 145, if that’s a weight class,” Mayweather said. “Around 145. But, you know, right now I’ve got my promoter hat on.”
Because Mayweather said, “When I do go to the Octagon,” Gray again asked Mayweather if he is firmly committed to an MMA fight.
“We don’t know,” Mayweather said, which prompted Gray to ask if Mayweather wants to try MMA. “Absolutely. Hold on. Only if the money is right. The money will always be right.”
Gray asked how much money it would take and Mayweather replied, “You’ve gotta talk to Showtime, CBS and my team. You talk to my team about that. You know, we all get on the same page and we’ll see. Of course, the numbers gonna be crazy.”
Gray interjected to remind Mayweather, who already has come out of retirement twice, that he has said he reserves the right to contradict himself regarding fighting again.
“I can contradict myself,” Mayweather said. “Listen, I can change my mind. I can do whatever I wanna do. I’m Floyd Mayweather.”
Before they began discussing upcoming fights Mayweather’s company will promote, Gray asked Mayweather once again if he’ll box for the 51st time as a professional.
“I will not box again,” Mayweather said. “Listen, I will not box again.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.