Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. has always played safe when choosing opponents to ensure he preserves his precious unbeaten record.
He seems to have done it again because Haitian-American Andre Berto gets the nod in Money’s 49th bout, his sixth and final one for Showtime.
Official confirmation is yet to be made, but many media outlets, including CBS News and the New York Times, ran the story on Wednesday that it is arranged but yet to be publicly confirmed.
It is not on pay-per-view this time. Mayweather claims it is as a thank you to his loyal fans, but consensus is that so many millions of punters felt deflated after forking out up to $100 for pay-per-view for his anti-climactic fight with Manny Pacquiao in May that the public would probably not buy in numbers for this one.
The bout is on Sept. 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and although Mayweather will not pocket anywhere near the $220 million-plus he received for the Pacquiao bout, he is guaranteed more than $30 million alone from Showtime. There are product endorsements and other income streams to sweeten his purse as well.
Berto is a former world welterweight champion with a reasonable record of 30-3, including 23 knockouts, but has never fought anyone near the 38-year-old champ’s caliber.
Berto, 33, has also lost three times in his last six bouts, although he did win against a club fighter, Josesito Lopez, in March. Berto overcame a serious shoulder injury in 2013 but has not been the same since. Early in his career he was a huge prospect, but he has not fulfilled his potential. This looks like an extremely easy fight for Mayweather, probably another snoozer.
There are many other welterweight fighters more worthy, including Timothy Bradley, unbeaten Keith Thurman, teak-tough Shawn Porter and the British pair of Amir Khan and destructive, undefeated puncher Kell Brook.
Khan has pleaded repeatedly with Mayweather for a bout, not just for the big money but because he genuinely believes he can beat him. So did all the other Money foes before him.
Khan is avoiding Brook in an all-British showdown that could fill Wembley stadium because the Sheffield-based knockout specialist would probably blow Khan away in a few rounds.