Floyd Mayweather to face Andre Berto in possible final fight on September 12

August 4, 2015

Floyd Mayweather's choice of opponent for his last fight might not be the most interesting, but after a 19-year career in the rough-and-tumble contact sport of boxing, maybe he is entitled to end things against a less threatening contender.

In the last fight of his six-bout deal with Showtime, and in what is expected to be the final fight of his career, pound-for-pound king Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) will put his undefeated record, and his WBC and WBA Welterweight World Championships on the line, against two-time welterweight world champion Andre Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) on Saturday, September 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Despite rumors that the fight might be televised on free network television, it will instead be shown live on Showtime PPV.  Given the general public sentiment that Berto will provide almost no threat to the champion, pay-per-view buys among fans are expected to be much lower than past Mayweather bouts.

Coming off the extremely dull and disappointing Mayweather-Pacquiao event, in which Mayweather looked off his game and Pacquiao fought with an injured shoulder so bad it required reconstructive surgery after the bout, it was hoped that Mayweather might seek out one more difficult test and go out in style trying to match the record of the late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, who retired in April 1956 with a record of 49-0.

Possible opponents included Keith Thurman, Amir Khan, Gennady Golovkin at a catchweight, or even a rematch against the rejuvenated Miguel Cotto.  The Berto selection, rumored for weeks, was a disappointment for many when it was first proposed.

“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 Mayweather. “I always bring my A-game and this fight against Andre Berto is no exception. He’s a young, strong fighter who is hungry to take down the best. Forty-eight have tried before and on September 12, I’m going to make it 49.”

Berto has been seen as a potential Mayweather opponent for years, but like many of Floyd's opponents -- Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley, for example -- this matchup would have been much more interesting had it occurred years ago when Berto presumably had more left in the tank.

With his trademark speed, defensive prowess and ring generalship, Mayweather has now defeated 22 world champions, and the shopworn Berto is expected to fall like Mayweather's other previous 48 opponents.

Berto, 31, is a former amateur standout and 2004 Olympian for Haiti. A veteran of eight world title fights, all at 147 pounds, he won the WBC Welterweight World Title in June 2008 and made five successful title defenses over the next two and a half years before losing the title in April 2011. Berto won the IBF Welterweight World Title in September 2011.

At one point, he was one of the sport's most athletic fighters, and although he still retains his hand speed and power, Berto has had a few setbacks that have stalled his career over the years.

Among those problems were a positive steroid test, a shoulder surgery, and the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed eight of his family members and caused the cancellation of one of his fights.

Inside the ring, it's been no picnic either.  Berto has been in some rough bouts, taking punishment and losing to Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero, both of whom used their wins over Berto as a steppingstone to future fights -- and losses -- with Floyd Mayweather.

Nevertheless, the offensive-minded Berto has enjoyed a recent uptick in his career, winning his last two fights, albeit against mediocre competition.  In his most recent outing, he scored two knockdowns en route to a sixth-round TKO over gutsy journeyman Josesito Lopez last March 13.

Still, his confidence remains high.

“I'm coming to kick Floyd’s ass on September 12," said Berto. "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. You don't want to miss this."

Two world championship fights will also be included on the pay-per-view telecast.

Roman Martinez (29-2-2, 17 KOs) will risk his WBO Junior Lightweight title in a rematch against the boxer he dethroned, four-time world champion Orlando Salido (42-13-2, 29 KOs). Their first fight, in April of this year, is considered by many to be a leading candidate for Fight of the Year.

"I want to thank Showtime for this opportunity to fight in this great event,” said Martinez. “We are ready and working hard to make sure this title remains in Puerto Rico. Everyone saw the first fight against Orlando Salido and I know that this second bout will also be a war. Once again we have the rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico, which guarantees plenty of action. Training is going very well and we are 100 percent sure that on September 12 it will be another great victory to Puerto Rico."

In addition, Badou Jack (19-1-1, 12 KOs) will make the first defense of his WBC Super Middleweight World title against mandatory challenger George Groves (21-2, 16 KOs).

“I have been fortunate enough to experience some of the greatest feelings the sport can give,” said Groves. “I have challenged for world titles and I have sold out stadiums, but my true childhood dream of winning a world title is yet to be fulfilled. I get that chance on the Las Vegas Strip – the crème de la crème for any fighter on the planet. I cannot wait to achieve my goal and become world champion. Badou Jack isn't ‘Bad’ enough to halt my dream. His WBC belt is all that is on my mind each and every waking moment. We have studied Jack – we are prepared for his strengths and ready to expose his weaknesses. Vegas is my second home and I can't wait to come back with a bang.”

Jack, 31, a native of Stockholm, Sweden, who fights out of Mayweather’s Las Vegas gym, captured the WBC 168-pound belt with a 12-round majority decision over Anthony Dirrell last April 24 by the scores of 116-114, 115-113, and 114-114.

The battled-tested Groves, 27, of Hammersmith, London, England, will get his third crack at a 168-pound world title. The only blemishes on his record came in back-to-back fights against then-IBF/WBA champion and countryman Carl Froch at Wembley Stadium in London.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com

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