Tuesday 25 September 2018

Bob Arum: Floyd Mayweather has fallen out of love with boxing

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. listens during a press conference
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. listens during a press conference

Bob Arum believes Floyd Mayweather's declaration that he will soon retire after sensing that the unbeaten American has fallen out of love with the sport of boxing.

Arum's Top Rank are joint promoters of Mayweather's showdown with Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning in what will be the penultimate assignment of the 38-year-old's six-fight deal with Showtime.

Toppling Pacquiao at the MGM Grand would register a 48th victory and leave him just one short of equalling Rocky Marciano's hallowed 49-fight unbeaten mark.

Mayweather's insistence that he has no desire to eclipse Marciano has been met with widespread scepticism but Arum, who promoted the reigning pound-for-pound king for the first decade of his career, predicts he will soon hang up his gloves.

"I believe what Floyd is saying in that he is looking towards retirement. He's been at it since he's eight years old and he doesn't enjoy it like he used to," Arum said.

"Like Marvin Hagler said, millionaires sleep in silk pyjamas and don't like to get up in the morning and do roadwork.

"When he retires, I think Floyd will be a great party guy. He'll have plenty of money and he'll enjoy himself.

"I just hope that for his sake he settles down and lives a more normal family-type life."


While September could be Mayweather's final outing, quite possibly in a rematch against Pacquiao, Arum predicts the Filipino southpaw he has promoted since 2006 will continue fighting until the end of next year.

"Manny still enjoys boxing, but I'd look for him to hang the gloves up in 2016," Arum said.

"That being said, in 2016 he'll be running for the senate in the Philippines and that's much more time-consuming than being an ordinary congressman."

One opponent Pacquiao is unlikely to face is Amir Khan, with Arum insisting the Briton rejected the fight - "with Khan a lot of it is just talk".

If the richest fight in history matches expectations or is marred by controversy then a rematch in September is inevitable, even if the prospect of negotiating with Mayweather and his advisors once again fills Arum with dread.

"I'm exhausted from doing this fight, why would you want to punish me again?" said Arum, who has worked with the sport's biggest names including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman.

"I'm 83 years old and have been through the most hellish time of my promotional career.

"If you sentence me to that (a rematch), it will be a cruel punishment, which I'm protected against by the constitution of the United States.

"I'd have to go on a long, long vacation before I could even contemplate a rematch. Who knows what will happen? You never say never."

The £332million welterweight collision between the two finest boxers of their generation has been mourned as the last superfight boxing will produce. Mayweather and Pacquiao have crossed over to the mainstream and are recognised globally, but behind them there are precious few household names waiting to step into the spotlight upon their retirement.

The likes of Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward may be exceptional boxers, but their profile is small outside the sport. Arum, however, warns against writing the sport's obituary.

"There are young fighters coming up who might even surpass Manny or Floyd and they will go at it in the years to come," Arum said.

"People will compare those fights to this one. In the next 10 or 15 years, there will be another fight of the century, that I guarantee you. That is the nature of boxing.


"Superfights have always been infrequent. The era of Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard when they occurred more frequently was more of an aberration.

"Forgetting Manny and Floyd, there are so many great fights out there that can be made.

"Boxing always has the ability to create stars.

"Securing that crossover appeal is not easy, I must say, but I think there are people capable of doing it. If it's not them, there will be others. Trust me, there will be others.

"I've been in this game 50 years. When Ali was going, it was 'oh no'. Then Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson came along."

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