IN what is expected to be the final fight of his illustrious 19-year career, boxing superstar and pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) will put his undefeated record and WBC and WBA Welterweight World Championships on the line against power-punching, two-time welterweight world champion Andre Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) Saturday, Sept. 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, live on SHOWTIME PPV (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
Coming off of the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao event, in which Mayweather remained undefeated by taking a unanimous decision victory, Mayweather will test himself against a hard-hitting fighter hungry for his chance to score a historic upset. Mayweather could also make history. If triumphant, he would match the record of the late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, who retired in April 1956 with a record of 49-0. Equaling Marciano’s record, one of the most hallowed in all of sports, would reaffirm Mayweather’s legendary status in the sport and buttress Mayweather’s claim as “The Best Ever.”
Two stellar world championship fights will also be included on the pay-per-view telecast.
Roman “Rocky” 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 “Siri” 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. In addition, Badou Jack “The Ripper” (19-1-1, 12 KOs) will make the first defense of his WBC Super Middleweight World title against mandatory challenger “Saint” George Groves (21-2, 16 KOs). A fourth fight on the pay-per-view telecast will be announced soon.
Promoted by Mayweather Promotions, the four-fight pay-per-view telecast will be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV and is the sixth and final fight of a record-breaking deal between Mayweather and Showtime Networks Inc. SHOWTIME Sports® will support the event with the Sports Emmy® Award-winning series ALL ACCESS.
Ticket pricing and on sale information is forthcoming later this week.
“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.”
“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.”
“‘Money’ Mayweather is back and the whole Mayweather Promotions team is ready to build off of the incredible record-breaking May 2 event,” said CEO of Mayweather Promotions Leonard Ellerbe. “It’s a pleasure to bring this great fight, plus the incredible undercard of action, to the fans in Las Vegas at MGM Grand. Andre Berto is a powerful fighter who presents a real danger to Floyd. He will have to use all of his skills to slow Berto down.”
“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.”
“I’m excited for the rematch with Rocky Martinez,” said Salido. “The first fight in Puerto Rico did not go my way. I got off to a slow start and had to fight two fights – one against the referee and one against Rocky Martinez. On September 12, I am going to take matters into my own hands and look to knock out Rocky to get my world title belt back. Mexico and Puerto Rico have had a great rivalry over the years and this September you will see me bring the belt home to Mexico where it belongs.”
“I’m very excited and I’m preparing for the toughest fight of my career against George Groves,” said Jack. “I always go into a fight with an underdog mentality, even as champion. It feels great to be defending in my adopted hometown of Las Vegas. My promoter, Floyd Mayweather, has had my back during the ups and downs of my career and I want to make him and the whole Mayweather Promotions team proud on September 12.”
“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.”
“When Showtime Networks and Floyd Mayweather teamed up for the first time in 2013, it was called a record-breaking deal – and that’s exactly what it has been,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports®. “Through five fights of the six-fight term, the results have exceeded our grandest expectations. Floyd has never hesitated to take on the best of the best in his division. In Andre Berto, Floyd has chosen an opponent who always comes to fight and always entertains. Berto’s power and athleticism make him a legitimate threat against any opponent, and against Floyd, we expect Berto to be as aggressive as ever. We’re also assembling an action-packed undercard, highlighted by a rematch of one of the best fights of 2015, Rocky Martinez vs. Orlando Salido.”
“We are thrilled with the opportunity to host what is expected to be Floyd’s final fight in his storied career,” said Richard Sturm, president of Entertainment and Sports for MGM Resorts International. “Floyd is a tremendous champion and we look forward to witnessing this historical event against Andre Berto at MGM Grand.”
One of the most decorated fighters in the history of the sport, Mayweather, of Grand Rapids, Mich., fighting out of Las Vegas, is a 12-time world champion in five weight divisions. With his trademark speed, defensive prowess and ring generalship, Mayweather has now defeated 22 world champions.
In addition to his in-ring accomplishments, Forbes, Fortune and Sports Illustrated have named Mayweather the world’s highest-paid athlete multiple times. His events amass record-breaking numbers; he has headlined four of the six highest-grossing pay-per-view events of all time and holds the all-time record in gross pay-per-view receipts.
Mayweather, the only fighter to have headlined three events that generated more than two million pay-per-view buys each, has garnered numerous “Fighter of the Year” awards over his storied career, including five ESPY Awards and two Boxing Writers Association of America awards.
Long considered as a possible foe for Mayweather, Berto, 31, of Winter Haven, Fla. 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.
The offensive-minded Berto always makes for sensational scraps – his 2012 slugfest with Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero was a Fight of the Year candidate. In his most recent outing, he scored two knockdowns en route to a sixth-round TKO over Josesito Lopez last March 13.
Style-wise, the 5-foot-7 Berto is expected to adopt an aggressive approach with a high punch output, similar to the strategy employed by Marcos “El Chino” Maidana in his first fight against Mayweather. If Mayweather fails to display his trademark speed and defense, Berto could use his power and hand speed to make Mayweather uncomfortable and force him into a brawl.
Martinez, 32, of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, will make the first defense in his third stint as WBO Junior Lightweight World Champion. He won the WBO 130-pound crown the second time with a 12-round split decision over Miguel Beltran Jr. in September 2012. The ultra-tough Martinez made two successful defenses, including a close points’ triumph over previously undefeated Diego Magdaleno, before losing by eighth-round knockout to unbeaten Mikey Garcia in November 2013.
The 5-foot-8 Martinez won his first fight following the Garcia bout and then, in his most recent outing, he survived a desperate late rush to unanimously outpoint Salido across 12 hard-fought, action-packed rounds last April 11.
Billed as “The War,” the slugfest may have exceeded its billing as both fighters expended an inordinate amount of energy over the course of 36 minutes. Utilizing his advantages in height and reach, Martinez sent Salido to the canvas in the third and fifth and won by the scores of 116-109, 115-110 and 114-111. Salido was docked a point in the 11th round for a low blow, but never quit fighting and was in it to the end.
Tough and determined with a straight-forward style that makes for crowd-pleasing affairs, Martinez captured the WBO Title the first time in March 2009 and successfully defended it twice.
Salido, 34, of Sonora, Mexico, is a relentless hard-nosed boxer-puncher who is willing to take on anyone and is no stranger to the boxing rivalry that is Mexico vs. Puerto Rico.
The 5-foot-6 Salido captured the interim WBO Junior Lightweight World Championship in his outing before last in a back-and-forth 11th-round knockout over Thailand’s Terdsak Kokietgym on September 1, 2014. The brutal battle that featured seven knockdowns (Salido went down three times, Kokietgym four) was the 2014 Yahoo! Sports Fight of the Year.
Salido is also a two-time featherweight world champion. He fought some of the best of his generation at 126, including Mikey Garcia, Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez twice, and current WBO 126-pound champion Vasyl Lomachenko who Salido beat three fights ago on a 12-round split decision in March 2014.
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 defending champion and previously unbeaten Anthony Dirrell last April 24 by the scores of 116-114, 115-113 and 114-114.
A former European amateur standout – he’s the only boxer ever to represent Gambia in any Olympic Games (2008) – the 6-foot-1 Jack turned pro in June 2009 and won his initial 16 bouts before suffering a shocking first-round knockout loss to Derek Edwards in February 2014.
A boxer with good speed and movement, Jack has since won three in a row, including the major victory over Dirrell.
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. After losing by controversial ninth-round TKO in November 2013, Groves was stopped by his fierce rival in the eighth round of a May 2014 grudge rematch that attracted 80,000 fans.
Groves has rebounded since falling to Froch, winning his last pair. Groves captured the vacant WBC Silver Super Middleweight title and European Championship in Sept. 2014 against Christophe Rebrasse and scored a seventh-round TKO over Dennis Douglin last Nov. 22.