FLOYD Mayweather jr’s boxing career has been built on so much hype, it’s hard to know whether or not his championship fight against Andre Berto in Las Vegas on Sunday morning will be his last hurrah.
On Tuesday, he insisted he wouldn’t be tempted to go beyond 49-0, the record held by former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. Even so, it would be uncharacteristic for Mayweather not to chase down 50-0 in an attempt to hold the record outright.
Much could depend on the outcome of this weekend’s fight, to be broadcast live on DStv’s SS2/SS6 A from 3am on Sunday 13 September. The wear and tear has begun to tell on the 38-year-old. If Berto manages to rough him up, chances are Mayweather will indeed pack it in. But if Mayweather wins convincingly and, more importantly, feels at his best, his ego might not allow him to walk away just yet.
Berto has been dismissed by just about every expert, but he’s a big puncher who will relish this opportunity against the world’s best. He will come hard at Mayweather and try to mix it up.
Mayweather might be tempted to engage in a tear-up and perhaps even go for a dramatic stoppage to seal the deal on an extraordinary career that has yielded world championships in five weight divisions and the mythical pound-for-pound number one ranking.
When he does finally pack it in, whether it is this weekend or not, it will be a momentous moment for boxing, which has never known his like. The undercard is a compelling one and includes Jhonny Gonzalez against Jonathan Oquendo (super-featherweight, 10 rounds), Badou Jack against George Groves (WBC super-middleweight title, 12 rounds) and Roman Martinez versus Orlando Salido (WBO junior-lightweight title, 12 rounds). The WBC and WBA welterweight championships will be on the line when Mayweather and Berto do battle.
The guardian on Friday reported that the build-up to Saturday’s welterweight fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Andre Berto has been rocked by claims of a doping violation four months ago, an allegation flatly denied by Mayweather on Thursday.
According to a report by SB Nation, Mayweather allegedly received an intravenous injection of saline and vitamins, that was banned under World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines, on the eve of his bout with Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on 2 May.
However, Mayweather said in a statement that he “did not commit any violations” and he was fully supported by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) earlier on Thursday.
“As already confirmed by the Usada statement, I did not commit any violations of the Nevada or Usada drug testing guidelines,” said Mayweather, who beat Pacquiao on a unanimous decision to improve his perfect record to 48-0. “I follow and have always followed the rules of Nevada and Usada, the gold standard of drug testing.
“Let’s not forget that I was the one six years ago who insisted on elevating the level of drug testing for all my fights. As a result there is more drug testing and awareness of its importance in the sport of boxing today than ever before.”
According to the SB Nation report, Usada collection agents visited Mayweather’s house in Las Vegas the night before his 2 May fight to conduct an unannounced drug test and discovered that he had been given an IV for rehydration purposes.
While the substances in the IV were not banned by Wada, the fact that they were given intravenously was not permitted, the report said, and Mayweather was not given a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE) by Usada until 19 days later.
“We believe it is important to immediately correct the record regarding the false suggestion that Floyd Mayweather violated the rules by receiving an IV infusion of saline and vitamins,” Usada said in a statement on Thursday.
“As was already publicly reported in May of this year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), Mr Mayweather applied for and was granted a TUE by Usada for an IV infusion of saline and vitamins that was administered prior to his 2 May fight.
“Mr Mayweather’s use of the IV was not prohibited under the NSAC rules at that time and would not be a violation of the NSAC rules today.”
According to Usada, both the NSAC and Team Pacquiao were notified about the TUE after it was granted, “even though the practice is not prohibited under NSAC rules”.
Over the past six years Usada says it has conducted anti-doping programmes for more than 45 fights in the sport of professional boxing, all of them conducted in accordance with the Wada Code and the International Standards.
“As a result every athlete who has participated in one of our programmes has voluntarily agreed to abide by the rules of the Wada Code and willingly subjected themselves to substantially more stringent testing protocols than they otherwise would have been subject to,” Usada said.
Mayweather will put his unbeaten record on the line when he defends his WBC and WBA welterweight titles against his fellow American Berto in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday.