Mayweather Jr. retires, cancels rematch with De La Hoya
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- After Floyd Mayweather Jr. easily outpointed Carlos Baldomir to win the welterweight championship in November 2006, he stood at the podium at the post-fight news conference and broke down in tears as he stunningly announced his retirement from boxing.Despite the emotional outpouring, few believed Mayweather was serious, rather that he had simply been overcome by the moment. As it turned out, he had been.
Less than two months later, Mayweather agreed to face Oscar De La Hoya. In May 2007, Mayweather outpointed him in a fight that shattered all boxing revenue and pay-per-view records. After beating Ricky Hatton in December, plans were in motion for Mayweather-De La Hoya II to take place Sept. 20.But cross it off the schedule. Mayweather, 31, announced his retirement from boxing again on Friday in a move that appears much more serious than his impromptu declaration two years ago. The rematch with De La Hoya has been canceled and Mayweather will forego the accompanying $20-plus million payday. "It is with a heavy heart that I write you this message today," Mayweather said in a statement. "I have decided to permanently retire from boxing. This decision was not an easy one for me to make as boxing is all I have done since I was a child. However, these past few years have been extremely difficult for me to find the desire and joy to continue in the sport. "I have said numerous times and after several of my fights over the past two years that I might not fight again. At the same time, I loved competing and winning and also wanted to continue my career for the fans, knowing they were there for me and enjoyed watching me fight. However, after many sleepless nights and intense soul-searching I realized I could no longer base my decision on anything but my own personal happiness, which I no longer could find. So I have finally made up my mind, spoken to my family, particularly my mother, and made my decision."
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.