Floyd 'coming out of retirement' for McGregor fight

American boxing great Floyd Mayweather following a press conference at Savoy Hotel in London. The 40-year-old, who retired from the sport in 2015, has been in Britain on his "Undefeated" tour.
American boxing great Floyd Mayweather following a press conference at Savoy Hotel in London. The 40-year-old, who retired from the sport in 2015, has been in Britain on his "Undefeated" tour.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • It has been dismissed as one long promotional tease - but maybe Floyd Mayweather is serious about fighting Conor McGregor after all.

After many weeks of hints and intimations, Mayweather announced on Saturday that he is officially coming out of retirement to take on Ultimate Fighting Championship's biggest star - and wants the much-hyped mega-fight to happen in June.

Mayweather, speaking in Liverpool on the latest leg of his British tour, told the crowd: "For Conor McGregor… I'm coming out of retirement just to fight Conor McGregor. Simple and plain, let's fight in June."

His words represent the most detailed proposal either fighter has offered for the potential showdown.

In a video posted by FightHype, he was candid about when he wanted the fight to happen.

  • $100m

  • Amount Conor McGregor has demanded to fight Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring.

The 40-year-old, who retired undefeated in 49 professional boxing fights in 2015 after beating Andre Berto, said: "Everybody get your phone out. Post this on the Internet as soon as possible.

"When I faced Arturo Gatti, I went to his turf. He was the A-side. I was the B-side. I beat him. I didn't cry. I didn't complain. When I faced Oscar de la Hoya, he was the A-side and I was the B-side. I didn't cry. I didn't complain. I beat him and I became the A-side.

"I don't want to hear no more excuses about the money, about the UFC. Sign the paper with the UFC so you can fight me in June."

The prospect of a Mayweather-McGregor showdown seemed a pipe dream when it was first mooted, but the talk has grown louder in recent weeks.

Mayweather told ESPN last month that a fight was "getting very, very close".

On Saturday, the American said he was tired of all the posturing and just wanted to get it done.

He taunted 28-year-old McGregor - the first fighter in UFC's history to hold titles in two weight divisions simultaneously - by saying: "You're the B-side. I'm the A-side. We're not here to cry about money.

"I'm tired of all this crying about money and saying you want to fight. You're blowing smoke up everyone's a**. If you want to fight, sign the paperwork."

Any fight would almost certainly be under boxing rules. But the sticking point still looks certain to be money.

Irishman McGregor has said he wants US$100 million (S$141.17 million) for the fight - a similar amount to the sum Mayweather made when he fought Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao in May 2015.

So far, the only concrete offer has come from UFC president Dana White, who offered both men US$25 million.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2017, with the headline 'Floyd 'coming out of retirement' for McGregor fight'. Print Edition | Subscribe