NEW YORK • Floyd "Money" Mayweather will put his unbeaten record (48-0) on the line when he steps into the ring to face Andre Berto in Las Vegas on Sept 12 in what could be the final fight of his career.
The American boxer, who beat Manny Pacquiao in May in what was billed as the "Fight of the Century", will risk his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association welterweight world titles against the power-punching, two-time welterweight world champion Berto (30-3). The bout will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
A victory for Mayweather would match the record of the late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, who retired in April 1956 with an unblemished record of 49-0.
"I'm ready to get back in the ring on September 12 and prove again to the whole world why I'm 'The Best Ever'," said the 38-year-old Mayweather. "I always bring my A-game and this fight against Andre Berto is no exception.
LORD OF THE RING
I'm ready to prove again to the whole world why I'm 'The Best Ever'. Forty-eight have tried before and, on Sept 12, I'm going to make it 49.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER on continuing his undefeated streak
"He's a young, strong fighter who is hungry to take down the best.
"Forty-eight have tried before and, on Sept 12, I'm going to make it 49."
Haitian-American Berto, who has lost three of his last six fights, sounded a confident note about finding the range against the elusive Mayweather, rated as one of the greatest defensive fighters of all-time. The 31-year-old last fought Josesito Lopez in March.
"I'm coming to kick Floyd's a** on Sept 12," said Berto, who has won his last two bouts. "Best believe that I plan to bring it to Floyd and I'm not concerned about what 48 other fighters have been unable to do. Somebody is getting knocked out and it won't be me."
The match will be the sixth and final fight of a record-breaking deal between Mayweather and Showtime Networks, leading to speculation it could be the farewell bout for the American.
British welterweights Amir Khan and Kell Brook had both been hoping for a shot at the pound-for-pound king but Tuesday's announcement looks to have put paid to those hopes.
Mayweather has long insisted his last fight would be in September, with Khan insisting at several points that a deal was close for a showdown between him and the American veteran.
"I don't think I have ever been closer to getting the fight with Floyd Mayweather than I am at this moment," the 28-year-old had said at the start of June.
"The indications are that I have strengthened my case with my win over (Chris) Algieri and I believe there is every chance the fight could be confirmed within the next two weeks."
A world champion in five divisions, Mayweather made a reported US$220 million (S$303 million) from his unanimous decision over Filipino Pacquiao in what was the most lucrative fight ever staged.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE