Floyd Mayweather has defended his decision to defend his WBC and WBA welterweight belts against Andre Berto, describing his opponent as an “exciting” fighter.
The American (48-0, 26KOs), fresh off the back of his win over Filipino, Manny Pacquaio, on points decision, returns to the ring in a twelve round world championship bout against former two-time welterweight champion Berto live on Showtime pay per view on 12 September.
Speaking at the kick-off press conference at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles on Friday, the boxing superstar who will have his WBC and WBA 147-pound titles on the line at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (venue of the fight) dismissed popular view that Mayweather- Berto will be an easy fight for the former.
“I’ve been getting backlash. He’s been getting backlash. No one is forced to buy the fight,” said Mayweather, 38. “Andre Berto is going to push Floyd Mayweather to the limit.
“… the difference between Andre Berto and Manny Pacquaio is that you guys put all the hype in Manny Pacquaio. That’s what the media did.”
Both fights are poles apart in terms of popularity, especially judging by the fact that Mayweather’s ‘mega-fight’ card with Pacquaio, which took five years to be negotiated, went on to become the richest bout in boxing.
Berto (30-3, 23KOs) represented Haiti in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens and won his first world title- WBC welterweight title- in a bout against Miguel Rodriguez courtesy of a TKO in 2008. His fifth- round TKO over Jan Zaveck secured the IBF welterweight belt for the 31-year-old.
His last win was a sixth-round TKO over Josesito Lopez in March, while two of his three losses came against Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero- two boxers who have suffered defeats at the hand of Mayweather in the past- as well as Jesus Soto Karass.
“Have you ever seen a boring Andre Berto fight? Everyone needs to question Floyd,” Berto responded to the sound bites from the outcome of the 2 May clash, where Mayweather was criticised for being too defensive.
“Every time I fight it’s exciting. Every time Pacquiao fights it’s exciting. There’s one common denominator that’s making it (boring).”
“He goes down and gets back up,” added Mayweather. “Berto is a tough competitor; he is going to fight his ass off.”
This will be Mayweather’s last fight under a five-year contract he signed with CBS/Showtime back in 2013, and ‘most likely’ his last in an illustrious career as a professional which has seen him remain unbeaten with just a win separating him from equaling Rocky Marciano’s record at 49-0. American heavyweight Marciano retired undefeated.
“When he comes in and the way I am going to come in, there is going to be knockdowns and blood. As of now I am focused on September 12 my last time,” said Mayweather.
“September 13 I will sit at home, watch football and be with my kids every day. I am going out with a bang after this.”