Four months after beating Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision, Floyd Mayweather will return to the ring for the final time – or so he says – to face Andre Berto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sept. 12.
Wait, do you hear that? That’s the collective sigh of disbelief.
Andre Berto? Really?
“Well, listen, we always keep it real,” Showtime Championship Boxing analyst Brian Custer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I was puzzled. I’ll be honest with you. It may have been about a month-and-a-half ago when . . . he said, ‘Well, I’m looking to think about fighting Karim Mayfield or Andre Berto.’ I thought he was joking, to be honest. Now that we know that he was serious about Andre Berto, yeah, I could see why there are a number of people who are disappointed – because for the simple fact that there are are hungry young lions like Keith Thurman (and) Amir Khan. Amir Khan has been dying to fight Floyd Mayweather, and all of these guys are represented for the most part by Al Haymon, so it was a fight that could be done easily.”
Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) is a two-time welterweight title holder and currently hold the interim belt. He is, however, just 3-3 in his last six fights and will be a decided underdog against Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs)
Even worse, the fight will reportedly cost as much as $75.
“I haven’t heard exactly,” Custer said. “I got to fly out to L.A. tomorrow. The official press conference will be Thursday. But I had heard rumblings of like $64. I think one of the things they’ve tried to do is make the undercard one of the strongest Mayweather undercards they’ve had. Roman Martinez, Orlando Salido – there’s going to be a rematch. That was a slugfest the first time. They’ve got Badou Jack taking on George Groves. That will be a title fight, Martinez/Salido will be a title fight and they’re going to add another fight as well. So they’ve tried to make the undercard as strong as possible.”
As Scott Ferrall pointed out, though, fight nights are about the main event. Undercards are nice, but most people are still at dinner or looking for their seats – or celebrities – during undercards.
“No, listen, I’m with you,” Custer said. “You know you and I are never going to sugarcoat anything, so I’m absolutely with you. I think from an action standpoint, the only thing I can say from what I know – you know Berto’s going to come to fight. No matter who it is, he’s going to come after you. He (comes) right after guys, so at least he’s going to come to fight. You know Floyd is going to do what he does, but at least Andre Berto is going to be a lot more action than what Manny Pacquiao was.”
Two of Berto’s recent losses came against Victor Ortiz (2011) and Robert Guerrero (2012).
“I actually beat both of those guys in fights in the hallway,” Ferrall said, prompting hearty laughter from Custer.
“I’m with you,” Custer said. “I’m not trying to make a case for (Berto wining). I’m just saying at least you know you’re not going to have a guy who’s going to move around the ring. He’s at least going to try to come to fight and bring the fight to Floyd, and I think that’s really the best you can say. When you talk about is he qualified enough to be in the ring with Floyd, well, he’s as much qualified as Victor Ortiz or Robert Guerrero had when they fought him. At least he’s a former world champion. The sad thing about it is, Floyd can pick his opponent. No one else can. No one else can do it. You just have to live with it, and I’m sure it’s all going to be all about this is his last fight. He claims it is. (He’ll tie) Rocky Marciano if he wins, and I think that will probably be the hype surrounding it.”
Custer, however, doesn’t believe this will be Mayweather’s last fight.
“He always says, ‘I reserve the right to change my mind,’” Custer said. “Will you change your mind? There’s that new arena coming up there in Vegas of next year, and you know they would love Floyd to open it up.”