Can Mayweather be lured out of retirement?

Almost immediately after boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated Manny Pacquiao last year in May, and before Mayweather announced his 49th and final professional prizefight against the hapless Andre Berto, undefeated welterweight Keith Thurman was almost certain he could talk his way into a lucrative bout against the era’s best.

But having whiffed on the potential passing-of-the-guard fight, one that could have launched the then 26-year-old toward the upper echelon of the sport, Thurman has finally made peace with the idea of never getting that opportunity.

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“I’ve come to terms that Mayweather, obviously with his nickname being Money, only cares about the money,” said Thurman. “I don’t think that there’s anything I can do this year — it doesn’t matter how many fights I take, how many champions I beat — I don’t believe there’s anything I can do to entice Mayweather to come out of retirement to fight me.”

Thurman said it wasn’t that he necessarily expected Mayweather to stay retired.

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Rather, that even if boxing’s biggest superstar returned, it would be to fight someone else.

“Will he stay retired? I think he will, and if he doesn’t, I really don’t see him doing much more outside of a Manny Pacquiao rematch.”

Yes, the Mayweather-Pacquiao was a bust aesthetically speaking, but it was big business that generated a tremendous amount of buzz. The two styles melded together in a way that made the so-called superfight look more like a sparring session than a professional prizefight.

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But Thurman believes the powers that be in boxing could drum up interest in an instant so long as Pacquiao holds up his end of the bargain on Saturday night against Timothy Bradley.

Still, like many other fightersThurman would love to test his skill set against Mayweather. Unlike Pacquiao, Thurman is a naturally larger man and in his prime. He possesses legitimate knockout power in both hands, and could conceivably attack Mayweather in ways that might give the gifted technician real problems.

His footwork is superb, and one has to wonder what Mayweather might be able to land to keep Thurman from advancing.

That, alone, might be the reason Mayweather, age 39, might choose to stay retired in lieu of facing Thurman.

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