Floyd Mayweather has confirmed that his love of money and not any desire to reach 50-0 tempted him out of retirement and into tonight’s Las Vegas showdown against Conor McGregor.
Mayweather currently sits on 49-0, level with heavyweight great Rocky Marciano, following a glittering career which has yielded world titles in five different weight classes.
It is a record which has put Mayweather into the discussion when it comes to deciding the greatest boxer in history, although he already describes himself as TBE — The Best Ever.
Tonight’s anticipated clash with revered mixed martial artist Conor McGregor, a two-weight champion in the UFC, will give him the chance to bring up the half century and surpass Marciano.
However, Mayweather says that opportunity was not in his thinking when it came to accepting the challenge from Dublin’s zero-fight novice.
Instead, amid reports of an outstanding tax bill of $22.2m (€18.7m), the 40-year-old says the opportunity to make what could reach around €300m was enough to end his two-year retirement.
When asked how much it would mean to him to reach 50-0, Mayweather said: “To me, it’s just a number. 46-0? Cool. 45-0, 1-0? cool. Who cares? I don’t think about the number, I just go out there and do my job. I think about a different type of number, and that are the numbers in my bank account.”
It has been argued that, despite tonight’s bizarre clash between an all-time great and a debutant being sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, it should not count on Mayweather’s record due to the circumstances.
Even Rocky Marciano’s son, Rocky Jr, has questioned the legitimacy of the fight and says his father’s record should not be eclipsed by this fight in particular.
“This fight to me isn’t a true boxing match,” he told USA Today. “No matter what happens, I don’t think it should go toward Mayweather’s professional career (record), win or lose.
“It’s not a fight that I’m interested in. I see the interest in it, but I don’t think it’ll be an interesting fight.”
On his father’s record, he added: “When it comes to heavyweights, most of them hold the highest knockout percentage for a reason.
“They’re bigger, they’re stronger and one punch can take a heavyweight out.
“So it’s a lot more difficult to stay undefeated than it is for someone in the lower weight class, where it can be more of a type of match where you’re just outpointing your opponent.”
Although all but one of his fights in the past decade have gone the distance, Mayweather insists he will not be outpointing McGregor at the T-Mobile tonight.
But he has again appealed to 74-year-old referee Robert Byrd to keep him safe with McGregor capable of “extremely dirty things”.
“The referee’s job is to make sure that he’s keeping the bout clean,” said Mayweather.
“I want to have a good fight. Like I said on numerous occasions going up to this fight, I’m coming straight ahead so he doesn’t have anything to worry about.
“I still see him doing extremely dirty things but my job is not to worry about the referee, my job is to go out there and fight and let the referee do his job.”
It has been reported that the fight contract states that McGregor will be hit with a fine worth 90% of his total fight purse, which could reach around €80m, should he attempt to veer in any way from the Marquis of Queensbury rules tonight. Mayweather said: “I don’t think he is going to want that fine.”
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