Last weekend saw one of the greatest icons of this generation step inside the boxing ring for the very last time. The former welterweight champion, and arguably one of the greatest boxers of his time, Floyd “Money” Mayweather fought and won his last fight in Las Vegas. With the amount of buzz and interest generated for his fight with Manny Pacquiao, one would imagine that his last fight would’ve attracted a larger number of fans, and in turn generate more gates and revenue. Unfortunately, that is the exact opposite of what went down last Saturday.
The sport of boxing in general has been taking a backseat to the comparatively newer contact sports such as MMA, but with the interest the Pacquiao – Mayweather fight generated, everyone thought that the good old days might once again return, bringing more attention and reverence to professional boxing. Mayweather had the opportunity to bow out of the sport with his head held high, while also give back to the sport that has made him one of the most popular figures in the world today. With the fans clamoring to see Mayweather fight the British boxer Amir Khan in his last ever professional boxing match, Mayweather had the opportunity to give the fans what they wanted. Instead, he chose to fight Andre Berto.
Mayweather takes the easy way out
While we take nothing away from Berto, no one would’ve given him a realistic chance of beating Mayweather. Going into the fight, Berto had lost three of his previous six matches – two of the three boxers who had defeated Berto were previously defeated (comprehensively) by Mayweather. The fight itself went just as predicted, with Mayweather thwarting the forward advances of Berto, while landing jabs and easily controlling the pace of the match.
A lot of people found holes in Berto’s game before the encounter, and Mayweather cruised to yet another victory, ending his career undefeated with 49 wins. While Mayweather’s camp celebrated the end of an astonishing career, the fans were left wondering if Mayweather will be ranked alongside the likes of Joe Frazier, Ali and Tyson as one of the greatest legends of the sport.
Mayweather certainly isn’t new to controversy, but the manner in which he chose to leave the sport has left a bad taste in the fans’ mouths. After an underwhelming bout with an injured Pacquiao, Mayweather chose to take the easy way out by picking Berto as his opponent, instead of a prime Amir Khan.
PPV numbers and live gates take a hit
After the enormous success enjoyed by Mayweather and Pacquiao financially in their last encounter, everyone expected a record turnover at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for Mayweather’s last fight. However, just days leading up to the fight, numerous reports suggested that the attendance would fall well short of Mayweather’s previous fight, while also revealing that a huge chunk of tickets were still up for grabs.
Not even five hours before the final fight of the greatest boxer of this generation, it was reported that a stack of tickets were still available between the price range of 300 – 1,500 dollars, with the latter being the most expensive ticket – stark contrast to his fight with Manny, with the price range being 4,500 – 12,000 dollars. The attendance numbers also took a hit, with only 13,395 people attending Floyd’s final fight, which was the weakest in years, and about 3,000 seats went unsold.
The PPV numbers weren’t any better, with the fight doing 400K – 550K in PPV buys, while his earlier fight with Manny did about 4.6 million buys, according to this article. Furthermore, it was also reported that Mayweather would’ve made around 50 million altogether for his final fight, whilst he bagged a staggering amount of 250 million dollars for his previous fight with Pacquiao.
Better opponents for Mayweather for his final fight
One would’ve thought that after fighting the likes of Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao, Floyd would’ve chosen a more dangerous opponent for his final fight. There were a lot of names thrown into the mix when Floyd suggested that the fight after Pacquiao would be his last, with a lot of the fans and pundits urging Floyd to pick the former Olympic medalist and the current WBC Silver welterweight champion, Amir Khan.
The other name that was discussed was the current WBA Welterweight champion, Keith Thurman, who is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the sport. Thurman is also undefeated in his professional career, and 22 of his 27 fights were won via KO, highlighting his punching power. Either of the two fighters would’ve proved to be a legitimate threat to Floyd, which in turn would’ve received positively by the fans.
The numbers breakdown
To showcase how lopsided his final fight was, while Mayweather landed 232 of 410 punches thrown (nearly 60%), Berto only managed to land 83 of 495 punches thrown (less than 20%).
Mayweather, as expected, threw more jabs than Berto, connecting with 83 of 191 jabs thrown (nearly 45%), while Berto managed to connect with a paltry total of 39 of 301 jabs thrown (about 13%), once again highlighting the impregnable defensive guard of Mayweather.
Mayweather could’ve done so much more to the sport of boxing, but instead, his final fight will be remembered as yet another Mayweather – esque fight.