Welterweight boxing champion Floyd “Pretty Boy” Mayweather shocked the boxing world Friday by announcing his retirement from the ring, nixing a potentially lucrative September pay-per-view rematch against Oscar De La Hoya.
ESPN.com posted a statement from Mayweather in which the undefeated welterweight champion—and arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world—said that he has 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,” Mayweather said in the statement. “However, these past few years have been extremely difficult for me to find the desire and joy to continue in the sport."
Over the past year, Mayweather was the sport’s biggest PPV draw, generating $181 million in PPV revenue in two fights and helping HBO set a network PPV boxing revenue record in 2007.
Mayweather’s May 5, 2007 bout with De La Hoya drew a PPV record $134 million in revenue and 2.4 million buys.
Most recently, Mayweather appeared on the World Wrestling Federation’s April Wrestlemania 24 PPV card and appeared on BET’s mixed martial arts competition series Iron Ring.
Mayweather was in the midst of negotiating a September 20 rematch with De La Hoya prior to his retirement announcement. HBO senior vice president of sports operations and PPV Mark Taffet said that De La Hoya will still look to fight a PPV bout in September.
“We’ve had conversations with [Golden Boy Productions CEO] Richard Schaefer, and he said Golden Boy has every intention on of promoting an Oscar De La Hoya fight on HBO PPV on September 20,” Taffet said. “He indicated that Oscar has a number of options out there and they’ll be working diligently on those over the next few days.”