Mayweather targets Marciano’s 49-0 record in ‘final fight’ with Berto
Undefeated 12-time world champion Floyd Mayweather is set to lock horns with surprise opponent Andre Berto in what he claims is his final ever fight, and the 38-year-old will look to end on a career high by matching Rocky Marciano’s incredible record of 49-0.
Mayweather’s underwhelming decision to face Berto, a fighter who has lost three of his last six bouts, in his career swansong caused many boxing fans to become disinterested, which is echoed in the poor pay-per-view figures ahead of the clash in Las Vegas.
Despite many attempts from Britain’s Amir Khan, Berto was the man instead plucked from recent boxing obscurity to test Mayweather in what is his apparent curtain call in the sport, and the five-division world champion is 13/8 with Coral to stop his latest opposition.
With such scathing criticism coming in for ‘Money’ Mayweather’s choice of ‘final’ foe ahead of his 12th consecutive outing at the MGM Grand, the record-chasing WBA and WBC welterweight champion has had to continuously defend his decision.
“Berto is not a pushover, no matter who I chose, the media was going to have something to say, the critics were going to have something to say,” said Mayweather at his pre-fight press conference. “He’s no different from Amir Khan. Amir Khan has three losses, Berto has three losses but he’s a two-time world champion, just like Amir Khan.”
Mayweather would go level with the late, great former heavyweight world champion Marciano with victory in the early hours of Sunday morning, a win which would take his career tally to 49-0 since his professional debut in 1996, but he’s taking nothing for granted.
“I know what it takes to win a fight of this magnitude,” continued Mayweather, who is 14/1 to sensationally lose out to Berto. “One thing I can do, I can fight. I can’t just say I’m going out 49-0. You can never overlook anyone and in this camp, did I push myself? Absolutely.
“I never look past any opponent, I train for any fighter the same way, I push myself. I believe in my skills and I believe in my talent. I’ve been in there with the best and the results have always been the same.
“You have fighters that may be faster than me, you have fighters that may hit harder than me, you have fighters that are very athletic, but you don’t have any fighter that can make adjustments like me, you don’t have fighters that can be on my level mentally. It’s never personal for me, it’s always business.”
With all eyes on Mayweather, as usual, under the blinding lights of Sin City this weekend, massive underdog Berto will aim to make history by halting one of the most dominant sporting runs ever, and he is up for the challenge.
“It’s funny, when it comes to the media, when it comes to the critics, they’re not in that gym busting their ass and knowing the feeling of being a fighter, they don’t know it,” declared Berto.
“They don’t know the miles we run, they don’t know the punishment we take in the gym, they don’t know the sacrifices that we have to make to become a world champion, it’s a small selective few that can do that.
“They are small whispers of negativity from people who couldn’t dare to do what we do, so anybody that steps in the ring I have to respect. But at the end of the day, when it comes to Saturday night, when it comes to fight time, I’m coming for my respect.”
Whether this is truly the last we see of Mayweather in the ring is highly questionable, with the limelight-craving American having outlined his retirement previously in 2007 before returning only months later to face Ricky Hatton.
Though, the unwavered career of this eccentric world champion could possibly end this weekend and, after six successive points victories, Mayweather is odds-on 8/15 to go out with another defensively-assured decision in his favour.
If it genuinely is the final fight in the illustrious career of such a decorated champion, then it won’t be until long after Mayweather has let himself fade into the boxing background that he will be truly appreciated for his success. But he isn’t fooling anyone.