Is Floyd Mayweather leaving boxing for MMA?


200px-mayweather.jpg In case you missed it, Floyd Mayweather Jr. shockingly announced his retirement from professional boxing on Friday.

The move stunned quite a few people in the boxing world because plans had been in motion for a rematch between Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya to take place on Sept. 20. The fight has been canceled and with it, Mayweather is walking away from a $20 million payday for the fight.

“It is with a heavy heart that I write you this message today,” Mayweather said in a statement. “I have decided to permanently retire from boxing. This decision was not an easy one for me to make as boxing is all I have done since I was a child. However, these past few years have been extremely difficult for me to find the desire and joy to continue in the sport.

“I have said numerous times and after several of my fights over the past two years that I might not fight again. At the same time, I loved competing and winning and also wanted to continue my career for the fans, knowing they were there for me and enjoyed watching me fight. However, after many sleepless nights and intense soul-searching I realized I could no longer base my decision on anything but my own personal happiness, which I no longer could find. So I have finally made up my mind, spoken to my family, particularly my mother, and made my decision.”

To me, the decision makes little sense. While there were very few hurdles left in climb in boxing for Mayweather, to walk away from $20 million for just one more fight speaks volume. I don’t think he’s walking away to take up golf or sit around and play shuffleboard. Mayweather is still a relatively young man (he’s 31) still in his athletic prime. There has to be something else going on here that we don’t know about.

Mayweather participated in a pro wrestling angle for the WWE earlier this year, which culminated in a featured match with Paul “The Big Show” Wight at Wrestlemania this past match. Mayweather’s haul for the performance has been rumored to be anywhere between $2-20 million. Officials were said to have been happy with Mayweather’s performance and the door was left open for his return.

In addition to pro wrestling, Mayweather has also flirted with the idea of getting involved with MMA. In recent months, Dallas Mavericks owner and HDNet Fights founder Mark Cuban announced that Mayweather was looking to get involved in MMA. It was unclear at the time as to whether he was looking to become a competitor or get involved in an ownership capacity.

But the timing of Mayweather’s announcement is very curious. UFC President Dana White revealed earlier this week that a huge announcement is planned for this coming Thursday. I speculated in a column earlier today that I believe it will have to do with network television. But what if I’m wrong and the announcement had to do with Mayweather signing a contract to fight for the UFC?

Sounds a bit far fetched, doesn’t it? Well, the idea of Mayweather walking away from a $20 million payday is equally far-fetched. For him to walk away from that kind of money likely means he’s walking towards something that could be even more lucrative. I’m just not 100 percent sure what it is.

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