Floyd Mayweather Retires Again, But This Time It Seems Different, More Real

OK, maybe I’m naive, but I never bought the sincerity of Floyd Mayweather’s retirement threats… until now. Kind of. Swanson PR has provided me a statement moments ago that I saw over at BoxingScene.com. A rep at Swanson told me Mayweather — the best boxer alive, when he actually is fighting these days — is quite serious. If so, Mayweather is walking away from millions more to fight Oscar De La Hoya in a rematch, and considering his love of money, it’s hard to see why he would do that; it also robs him of his “base” to become the biggest entertainer alive, as he aspired in a recent New York Times profile. We’ll see if it sticks this time. Here’s the statement, with commentary afterwards: “It is with a heavy heart that I write you this message today. I have decided to permanently retire from boxing. This decision was not an easy one for me to make as boxing is all I have done since I was a child. However, these past few years have been extremely difficult for me to find the desire and joy to continue in the sport. I have said numerous times and after several of my fights over the past two years that I might not fight again. At the same time, I loved competing and winning and also wanted to continue my career for the fans, knowing they were there for me and enjoyed watching me fight. However, after many sleepless nights and intense soul-searching I realized I could no longer base my decision on anything but my own personal happiness, which I no longer could find. So I have finally made up my mind, spoken to my family, particularly my mother, and made my decision. I am sorry I have to leave the sport at this time, knowing I still have my God-given abilities to succeed and future multi-million dollar paydays ahead, including the one right around the corner. But there comes a time when money doesn‚Äôt matter. I just can‚Äôt do it anymore. I have found a peace with my decision that I have not felt in a long time. Finally, I want to personally thank all of my fans for their loyalty and dedication as my career comes to a close. I always believed that their enthusiasm and support helped carry me to victory with every fight I ever had. It was a great joy to have fought for all of you. Now I hope you understand my decision and wish me well with the rest of my life. Floyd Mayweather Jr.” There was always something fishy to me (and commenter E-ROC) about how long it was taking Mayweather, a 147-pound titlist, to sign on the dotted line with De La Hoya for the rematch. Could this be a negotiating or hype tactic for a fight that isn’t generating a lot of interest among hardcore fans? Maybe. Could Mayweather — who has quite publicly admitted he has found his motivation for boxing lately lacking — finally have just lost the will to fight? Maybe. Could it be that, once Mayweather realizes he’s no longer the world’s best boxer — only because he’s not a boxer at all anymore — and therefore has no good argument to present to the likes of the WWE, Dancing With The Stars and Indianapolis 500 and all his other side interests to invite him to hang out, he will rescind his latest retirement threat and fight on? Maybe. But there was a weird anecdote in this New York Times profile about Mayweather wanting to, more than anything, sit at a desk behind a computer.¬† It was plain weird. Maybe he thinks he can make it as a businessman, but so much of his business is simply being Mayweather. His promotional company has yet to establish itself, and I still don’t know what ever happened to his record company. But maybe this is what he wants to do now. As much as I was a fan of Mayweather at one point, and as impressed as I am with his pure artistry in the ring, I’ve clearly grown irritated with the man over time, if you’re a regular reader. His publicity stunts, his decision to waste his prime years with rematches no real boxing fan wants to see, his obnoxious declaration of his love of money, his clearly erroneous statements about being the best of all time — all of it is completely grating. He sucks up a lot of oxygen with the mainstream media and I’m not sure he helps the sport much these days. If I become fully convinced that this is not just another publicity stunt, I’ll have more to say on Mayweather and his legacy soon enough. If it turns out it is just a publicity stunt, Mayweather risks the outrage of a lot of boxing fans who already are tired of his antics. Until then, this announcement rang strange enough to warrant sharing it more widely.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.