Bored with having to force himself into the spotlight on someone else’s ticket, Floyd Mayweather is hinting at coming out of retirement, but only if he’s paid north of a nine-figure sum. He’s forgetting that part of his appeal, besides his excellence and the hatred to him that generated views, was the existence of Manny Pacquiao in the boxing universe.
Mayweather signed a mega six-fight deal with Showtime heading into 2013. On the Showtime card, he fought Robert Guerrero, Canelo, Marco Maidana twice, Manny Pacquiao and Andre Berto. Guerrero scratched the one million views, maybe, but probably sold a bit less on PPV. Both Maidana fights combined got to 1.8 million views, with Mayweather promising fans to fight whoever they choose and after they voted for Amir Khan he went with Maidana and got hit a bit more than he wanted to in the first fight.
The Pacquiao fight shattered every possible record with 4.6 million views, but after that? Suddenly Mayweather wasn’t that interesting. He fought Andre Berto on his final fight for Showtime (the Pacquiao fight was with HBO as well) and about 500,000 bothered to pay for it. The assumption that Mayweather alone, no matter who he fights, is worth one million views and more. But turns out that the possibility of him fighting Pacquiao one day had a strong presence in the numbers he managed to pull.
So now? What kind of fight can get him that kind of cash he’s talking about? Canelo again? Cotto again? Gennady Golovkin at Middleweight? Danny Garcia? Hard to say. It might also be Mayweather simply trying to bring more attention to himself. He hated others boxers being talked about while he’s a hasbeen. Of the many complexities Mayweather’s personality has, there’s the constant need for affection, sucking up and to hear how great he is.
Mayweather has returned from retirement/hiatus before, and never looked like he actually declined because of it. Age has made him a bit slower with his power (which was never the biggest part of his arsenal) going away too, but it was still enough to outbox everyone put in the ring with him. It’s been quite a while since there was any doubt about whether or not he had actually won a fight. Overall it may have happened twice or three times in his career, and certainly not in the last nine years.
Should he be taken seriously? Hard to tell. Mayweather is serious as death and a troll at the same time. Pacquiao fighting him again promises the biggest amount of money. Canelo (who might not want to get in the ring with Mayweather again, at least not now) is the second best option financially. Other options? Nothing that will satisfy him with the kind of money he’s looking for or the network, that probably got burnt on a number of fights outside Canelo and Pacquiao, especially on the last one. But Pacquiao is retired (for now), and as we said, I’m not sure Canelo is too eager to get in the ring with Mayweather one more time, unless it’s going to be at 160, hoping that at that weight class, his size will finally make the difference.