Mayweather denies mismatch for his ‘final fight’

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Mayweather denies mismatch for his ‘final fight’

LAS VEGAS - Floyd Mayweather Jr. will return to the ring for the first time since boxing’s richest fight ever, facing Andre Berto on Sept. 12 in what he has said will be his final fight.

The welterweight title bout won’t be nearly as lucrative as Mayweather’s May 2 fight with Manny Pacquiao that earned him a reported $220 million. But the bout will still be sold on pay-per-view, even though Mayweather will be an overwhelming favorite to win for the 49th time in as many fights as a pro.

Berto, a 2004 Olympian, was once thought of as a rising star but has lost three of his last six fights. Two of those losses were to Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz, fighters that Mayweather beat easily.

“I always bring my A-game, and this fight against Andre Berto is no exception,” Mayweather said in announcing the bout. “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.”

The fight is the last in a six-bout deal that Mayweather, 38, has with the Showtime network, and the boxer has said repeatedly he will retire when the deal is finished.

“Floyd has been completely consistent and hasn’t wavered a bit in saying this is his last fight,” said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager for Showtime Sports. “He’s still arguably the best fighter in the sport so it’s somewhat surprising for him to step away now but I’ve never heard him say anything other than this will be his last.”

Espinoza dismissed criticism that the fight looks like a mismatch, saying there was not a big pool of other fighters to choose from. He said Berto will be aggressive against Mayweather.

“He’s one of those fighters who never fails to entertain,” Espinoza said about Berto.

“His biggest flaw is he’s probably too aggressive.”

Mayweather waited until the last moment to announce the fight, which will take place at the MGM Grand Arena where he won a unanimous decision over Pacquiao. Mayweather and Berto will get together in Los Angeles today to promote the bout.

Berto said he will prove his worth in his biggest fight ever. “Believe that I plan to bring it to Floyd and I’m not concerned about what 48 other fighters have been unable to do,” he said. “Somebody is getting knocked out and it won’t be me.”

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