The five-division champion revealed the as-yet-unconfirmed plans on social media, promising to stage a rematch of his 2015 bout with Manny Pacquiao later this year.
That fight, a long-awaited welterweight unification bout, resulted in the American’s 48th consecutive victory. His 50th – and as yet ‘final’ – came in the infamous ‘Money Fight’ against Conor McGregor in 2017 in which Mayweather secured victory, something predicted by the bookmakers, including Paddy Power. With Mayweather seemingly returning to the boxing arena, will we see a rematch of May-Mac in the near future as well?
The American boxer has teased fight fans with the prospect of a rematch ever since he retired immediately following his victory against McGregor.
In January 2018, he posted two cryptic videos of himself entering a UFC octagon onto his Twitter & Instagram accounts.
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) 30 January 2018
There was an appearance of the hatchet being buried, with Mayweather inviting McGregor to train at his Las Vegas gym in preparation for the fighter’s return to UFC against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
This was quickly scuppered with McGregor taking to Twitter only hours later to call out the American and declare “there is no peace here, kid”.
Never one to back down from a confrontation, Mayweather responded by posting a series of images from the 2017 fight between the two with such captions as “easiest 9 figures I ever made”.
Some are speculating that these are the beginnings of driving up public interest in a ‘Money Fight’ rematch.
Mayweather’s own father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., added fuel to those flames last week by announcing there was a “lot of interest in it right now” and that he expected it to come to fruition at some point soon.
The route to such a fight would be – much like the will they/won’t they saga that defined the first – difficult and complex to say the least.
If Mayweather’s return from retirement against Pacquiao (currently serving as a Senator in his native Philippines) was confirmed, it would almost certainly be his only fight for the next 6-7 months. Given preparation time, the obligatory media tour, and recuperation post-bout, any McGregor sequel couldn’t be scheduled until at least mid-2019.
McGregor himself has the task of reclaiming his UFC Lightweight championship from bitter rival Khabib Nurmagomedov in October.
If the Irishman is successful on his return, could it pave the way for an unprecedented Mayweather-McGregor rematch under UFC rules?
Throughout the build-up to the Money Fight last year, Mayweather repeatedly asserted he’d be willing to fight McGregor in the Octagon after beating him in the boxing ring.
At the time, it was a notion laughed off by both McGregor and, most decisively, by UFC president Dana White.
Of course, White was similarly dismissive of McGregor – his biggest UFC asset – making the jump into the boxing ring during the negotiations of the original bout between the two. Despite his reluctance, White knows that a rematch between the two – particularly with the additional novelty of a boxer fighting under MMA rules for the first time – would be a huge media and audience draw.
Indeed, it was recently reported by sources at The Sports Journal, Dubai’s largest sporting publisher, that the fight had already been confirmed for the Octagon and with modified rules.
No kicks, no take downs, no elbows, no knees. Certain things will be allowed like the clinch. pic.twitter.com/Gmv5koAG00
— Omar Al Raisi (@Dantani) 8 April 2018
This would include a standard five-round format but with no kicks, takedowns, elbows or knees.
The degree of modification to standard rules suggests that Mayweather is reluctant to put his reputation entirely on the line by heading into a format he has zero experience in and, instead, will look to turn it into a modified boxing match.
The rumours will certainly persist on. Are the returns of both of these fighters simply a prelude for a larger, even more lucrative rematch? Are we seeing the beginnings of a long-term media blitz that will culminate in the Money Fight Part 2? As we have learnt with both of these fighters in the past, it’s best to expect the unexpected.