Sports

Mayweather to come out of retirement?

A mouthwatering one-off collision of combat sport kings?

Or a pointless circus sideshow with little or no intrinsic value as a spectacle?

Whatever your viewpoint, the drumbeat of headlines linking retired former welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather to a showdown with mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor suggests a money-spinning fight is edging closer.

On Tuesday, the Irish Sun, citing an anonymous source, reported that the two camps had agreed terms for a multi-million-dollar deal.

McGregor cancelled an appearance in Dublin this week in order to fly to the United States to shoot an anti-bullying video as part of a deal to obtain a boxing licence from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which later confirmed that the 28-year-old had indeed arrived in Las Vegas.

The only final hurdle to the fight deal being signed was an unidentified "third-party hold-up", the paper added.

Within hours, however, Mayweather appeared to distance himself from the reported deal, insisting he remained "happily retired".

"Let the record show, there hasn't been any deals made in regards to a fight between myself and any other fighters," Mayweather said.

"I am happily retired and enjoying life at this time. If any changes are to come, be sure that I will be the first to let the world know."

But, in a later statement, Mayweather then indicated that a deal was ready to be done - provided McGregor could reach an agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), who owns the Irish fighter's contract, reported to be worth around US$16 million (S$22.7m) to US$20m per fight before pay- per-view earnings.

"Listen Conor McGregor, if you really want to get this fight done... take care of your business with the UFC and then have your people get in touch with my people," Mayweather stated.

UFC president Dana White separately told Britain's Daily Telegraph that no McGregor-Mayweather fight would happen without the organisation's involvement.

"McGregor's under contract with me," White told the paper.

"How would I let somebody take this guy that I built and do it without me?

"That would be the stupidest move in history." - AFP

boxingFloyd Mayweather