Cape Times

Floyd’s 49th may end with a whimper

- Mark Lamport-Stokes

LAS VEGAS: Should Floyd Mayweather end his boxing career tomorrow as promised with his welterweig­ht title defence against fellow American Andre Berto, he could well sign off with a whimper rather than a bang.

In stark contrast to his previous fight, the much hyped mega bout with Manny Pacquiao four months ago, the build-up to Mayweather’s 49th appearance in the ring as a profession­al has lacked buzz and plenty of tickets are still available.

In May, Mayweather earned more than $200million from his so-called “Fight of the Century” with Pacquiao that became boxing’s richest ever showdown. Against Berto, Mayweather has settled for a reported $32m.

The appeal of tomorrow’s bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which will be televised on pay-per-view for a suggested price of $74.95, has clearly not been helped by Mayweather’s choice of opponent, Berto having lost three of his last six fights.

“I just try to stay positive, keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best,” undefeated five-division world champion Mayweather said of the slow ticket sales while preparing for what he has repeatedly claimed will be his swansong in the ring.

“Nobody’s forced to watch. Watch if you want to watch. If you don’t want to watch, don’t watch.”

Asked how many pay-perview buys would make tomorrow’s fight a success in his eyes, Mayweather replied: “The numbers will be what they are. I can’t say any particular number, but we’ll just have to see.”

Should the numbers end up being anywhere near mediocre, it would be out of character with what Mayweather, the world’s highest- paid athlete, has so far achieved during his career.

His last five bouts in a lucrative six-fight deal with cable giant Showtime Sports that concludes tomorrow have produced staggering figures.

“The first five fights yielded nearly 10 million PPV buys, $750 million in PPV receipts,” Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, said on Wednesday.

“I don’t know what will happen on Saturday night. I do know that Berto is more athletic than any fighter Floyd has fought recently. It’s not going to be boring. When you have fighters like our entire PPV card has, it’s a night not to be missed.”

Mayweather (48-0 with 26 knockouts) bristles whenever criticism is raised over his choice of Berto as his opponent for his “final” fight.

“I chose Berto because he’s very exciting,” Mayweather said of the twice former welterweig­ht world champion, who has a record of 30-3 including 23 knockouts.

“Andre Berto is going to push Floyd Mayweather to the limit. That’s one thing I do know. Berto always gives an exciting fight. If he gets knocked down he gets back up. He always give 100 percent. Fast hands, good boxer.” – Reuters Cricket Fourth ODI , England v Australia, 11am, SS5 Cycling La Vuelta A Espana, stage 19, Medina Del Campo/ávila 185km, 4pm, SS7 Golf European Tour Klm Open, day 2, 11.30am/3.30pm, SS6/CSN Rugby Currie Cup, round 6, EP Kings v Free State Cheetahs, 7pm, SS1/CSN ITM Cup, Wellington v Tasman, 9.30am, SS1/CSN Springbok IRB Rugby World Cup Send-Off, 3.30pm, SS1 Top 14, round 4, Castres Olympique v Oyonnax, 8.35pm, SS8 Soccer Spanish La Liga, Levante v Sevilla, 8.25pm, MaXimo Tennis US Open, day 11, women's, semifinals, 12.45am, SS2; Mixed doubles, final, 5.45pm, SS2; men's, semi-finals, 8,45pm, SS2


Cricket Africa T20 Cup, Kwazulu-Natal Inland v Boland, 9.15am, Select; North West v Borde, 12.55pm, Select Cycling La Vuelta A Espana, stage 20, San Lorenzo De El Escorial/cercedilla 181km, 1.30pm, SS8 Motorsport MotoGP, Gran Premio Di San Marino, qualifying, 1.55pm, SS7 Red Bull X-Fighters Pretoria, 1.30pm, SS6 Nascar Xfinity Series The Virginia52­9 College Savings 250, 1am, SS6 Rugby Currie Cup, round 6, Sharks v Western Province, 4.45pm, SS1/M-net; Blue Bulls v Golden Lions, 7pm, SS1/M-net Soccer PSL, Golden Arrows v Mamelodi Sundowns, 2.30pm, SS4; SuperSport United v Kaizer Chiefs, 5.30pm, SS4; Free State Stars v Chippa United, 3pm, SABC1; Maritzburg United v Bloem Celtic, 8.15pm, SABC1 English Premiershi­p, Everton v Chelsea, 1pm, SS3/MaXimo; Crystal Palace v Man City, 3.45pm, SS3/MaXimo; Man Utd v Liverpool, 6pm, SS3/MaXimo; Arsenal v Stoke City, 3.30pm, SS5/MaXimo3; West Bromwich Albion v Southampto­n, 3.30pm, SS6 Spanish La Liga, Sporting Gijon v Valencia, 6.10pm, SS5; Atlético Madrid v Barcelona, 8.15pm, SS5; Espanyol v Real Madrid, 3.55pm, SS7 Tennis US Open,men's doubles, final, 5.45pm, SS2; women's final, 8.45pm, SS2


Athletics IAAF World Challenge League, Rieti Meeting, 4.30am, SS8 Boxing Internatio­nal Boxing Wbc/wba Welterweig­ht title, Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Andre Berto, 12 rounds, 3am, SS2/MaXimo Cricket Fifth One-day Internatio­nal, England v Australia, 11am, SS7 Africa T20 Cup Border v KwazuluNat­al Inland, 9.45am, Select; North West v Boland, 1.25pm, Select Cycling La Vuelta A Espana, stage 21, Alcalá De Henares/madrid 93.7km, 6.40pm, SS6 Golf European Tour, Klm Open, day 4, 12.30pm, SS6/CSN Motorcycli­ng MotoGP, Gran Premio Di San Marino, Moto3, 10.45am, SS2; Moto2, 12pm, SS2; MotoGP, 1.45pm, SS2 Soccer Absa Premiershi­p Jomo Cosmos v Platinum Stars, 2.30pm, SS4; University of Pretoria v Bidvest Wits, 3pm, SABC1 Caf Confederat­ion Cup, Zamalek v Orlando Pirates, 8.15pm, SS4/SBC1 English Premiershi­p, Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur, 1.30pm, SS3/MaXimo; Leicester City v Aston Villa, 4.30pm, SS3/MaXimo Spanish La Liga, Málaga v Eibar, 8.30pm, SS3; Granada v Villarreal, 11.55am, SS5/MaXimo//MaXimo3; Athletic Bilbao v Getafe, 3.55pm, SS5; Celta Vigo v Las Palmas, 6.10pm, SS5 Squash British GP, first semi-final, 3pm, SS8 Tennis US Open, women's doubles, final, 5.45pm, SS2; men's, final, 10pm, SS2

Subject to change

 ?? Picture: JOHN LOCHER, AP ?? ‘THE BEST EVER’ DOESN’T NEED AN AUDIENCE: Floyd Mayweather is unfazed by the slow ticket sales and limited interest for his “final” bout against Andre Berto tomorrow.
Picture: JOHN LOCHER, AP ‘THE BEST EVER’ DOESN’T NEED AN AUDIENCE: Floyd Mayweather is unfazed by the slow ticket sales and limited interest for his “final” bout against Andre Berto tomorrow.

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