Floyd Mayweather is coming out of retirement. Again. You will be forgiven for losing track of the number of times ‘Money’ has made a dramatic return to the squared circle throughout the course of his illustrious career.
The 43-year-old has long teased a return to fighting since last competing in an exhibition bout against Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve 2018 in Japan, and is set to return to the Far East in 2021.
‘Tokyo, Japan, I will be back in 2021… Me and my team are going to do something big at the Tokyo Dome. Japan, I’m on my way,’ he said on Instagram.
Floyd Mayweather is nearing another sensational return with a bout lined up for February 2021
The former multi-weight world champion called into a press conference on Monday to announce he would be competing at MEGA 2021, a new MMA show, on February 28.
So, who could the former pound-for-pound king fight? Why is he fighting again?
What format will the bout take? And what does the future hold for Mayweather? Sportsmail looks at what we know so far.
The 43-year-old announced his plans to fight next year. Sportsmail answers the big questions
Where is Mayweather fighting, and who could he face?
Just as he was throughout his 21-year career in the ring, Mayweather’s proposed 2021 return remains elusive in detail.
We know for certain that the 43-year-old will compete at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on February 28, fighting under new MMA promotion MEGA 2021.
The man standing across from Money in the ring, though, is not yet known. Last time he was in the Far East, Mayweather stepped in with young hotshot Tenshin Nasukawa, in what was a huge mismatch as Mayweather toyed with the kickboxer.
The former pound-for-pound king appeared at a press conference for MEGA 2021 on Monday
He could face another Japanese sensation, this time someone of far more experience than the 22-year-old. Mayweather has been linked with a bout against former super-featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama.
The 40-year-old has been retired since 2016, but outlets in Japan are reporting that the veteran is a potential option for an opponent to Mayweather. Talks reportedly took place with rival promotion RIZN, though, so it remains unclear whether Uchiyama will be an option.
So too is YouTuber Logan Paul, who has enjoyed a back-and-forth with the former champion on Twitter. Paul has fought just one professional bout, against fellow internet star KSI, losing by split decision in 2019.
He has been linked with a bout with YouTuber Logan Paul (R) who has fought just once before
That bout may not take place in Japan, though, with Mayweather tweeting that he could take on the 25-year-old before he travels to Asia.
‘These YouTube girls better find some Barbie dolls to play with cause I’m not the one for the kid games,’ he tweeted. ‘3 years ago a fighter from the UFC said my name and I had to put a muzzle on that b****.
‘@LoganPaul can get the same treatment before I go conquer Japan again.’
Why is he fighting again?
The obvious answer is that Mayweather is living up to his nickname – Money.
The 43-year-old is undeniably the most financially successful athlete to ever grace combat sports. Mayweather holds the top four spots in the biggest money fights to ever take place.
The simple answer as to why he is fighting again would be the money he would pocket
Mayweather has enjoyed huge financial success and is the highest-paid boxer ever
His fights against Manny Pacquaio, Conor McGregor, Canelo Alvarez and Oscar De La Hoya have generated around £1.7bn in total, a staggering figure never before seen.
But the sort of eye-watering sums we grew accustomed to seeing Mayweather rake in during the latter stages of his career should not be expected come February.
The American made just £7m from his exhibition in Japan two years ago, a very minute sum given his other earnings.
Alternatively, Mayweather has lived and breathed fighting from a young age, and perhaps the drive to compete is pulling him back to the sport which he stood head and shoulders above the competition.
However, he only made £7m last time out in Japan, so the motivation may not be just financial
What format will it take?
Again, nothing has been confirmed yet but we can take a look at Mayweather’s most recent contest in an attempt to get the fast track on what this fight will look like.
The exhibition bout against Nasukawa consisted of three three-minute rounds, held in a boxing ring with boxing rules only, meaning the young kickboxer was not allowed to strike Mayweather with his legs.
The pair wore eight-ounce gloves and there were no judges scoring the contest. The outcome of the contest did not go on either of the fighters’ professional records.
It would not be unwise to think a similar format could take place in Japan next year.
The bout may be a similar format to his exhibition in 2018 with three rounds and no judges
What does the future hold? And does it involve Dana White?
As far as Mayweather is concerned, his days of competing against the best that boxing has to offer are long gone.
Despite showcasing extraordinary speed and agility for an athlete of his age, Mayweather has stressed that keeping his faculties is of utmost importance.
‘As of right now, I’m doing exhibitions,’ he told CNN last month. ‘I’m 100% sure that I’m not fighting against any boxer anymore.
As far as Mayweather is concerned, his days competing with top level boxers are long gone
The 43-year-old has said he is willing to step in the ring for exhibition bouts only
‘So, that’s out of the question. I mean, just my faculties mean a lot to me. Money don’t make me, I make money and my health is more important than money.
‘As far as me doing exhibitions and me fighting MMA guys, will I do that in a box ring? Absolutely.’
And this is where Dana White comes into the picture. The UFC supremo was integral in organising the Mayweather-McGregor bout in 2017 and the two Americans have been open about their ambitions to work together in the future.
Mayweather has worked closely with UFC chief Dana White over future mega-money bouts
His UFC options are limited after Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from fighting last month
‘Floyd wants to fight,’ White told Yahoo Sports in August. ‘Floyd and I want to work together. We want to do something. We’re going to do something.
‘I just need a little more time to get my s*** together.’
White has a vast array of UFC stars at his disposal should the pair look at making a crossover fight again.
But barring McGregor, who he has already fought and beaten, and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has recently retired, it remains unclear who a potential foe could be.