Floyd Mayweather turned 46 a few days. He couldn’t possibly compete at a high level against prime opponents in sanctioned bouts at this stage of the game.
Or could he?
“Money” looked a lot like the dominating fighter he was at his best in an eight-round exhibition with reality TV star and former MMA fighter Aaron Chalmers on Saturday at O2 Arena in London, Mayweather’s first-ever fight in the U.K.
He didn’t try to beat up Chalmers even though he certainly could have. He merely showed glimpses of what made him great, firing off his quick, accurate jab and landing a variety of power shots at will. Chalmers was as much a spectator as anyone else.
And what about Chalmers’ offensive efforts? Forget it.
The 35-year-old Englishman tried to land punches but he was in against arguably the greatest defensive fighter of all time. Mayweather saw everything coming as if Chalmers was moving in slow motion and ducked out of the way.
Either that or he beat Chalmers to the punch, connecting on shots when Chalmers opened up to set up his own punches.
In other words, it was mission impossible for the grossly overmatched Chalmers. His only accomplishment was remaining on his feet until the final bell, which is something.
Chalmers stated the obvious when he said afterward, “He’s f—ing unbelievable. I just want to tell the grandkids [one day].”
Mayweather began to inject his personality into the fight around the fifth round, when he started talking to those at ringside while he was exchanging punchers with Chalmers. Yes, Mayweather added another weapon to his arsenal late in life: multitasking.
In the end, the crowd seemed to appreciate the opportunity to watch a once-great boxer demonstrate the skill set that led him to a perfect 50-0 record and to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Mayweather was asked afterward whether he might make another appearance in the U.K. “If the fans want me to come back, I’ll come back,” he said to the cheers of the satisfied spectators.
And Mayweather certainly had a good time. He had said repeatedly going into the fight that his mission now is to entertain people. He certainly did that in front of a new audience on Saturday.
That was Mayweather’s sixth exhibition. There obviously are more to come.
Jake Paul, who fights Tommy Fury on Sunday in Saudi Arabia, has been mentioned as a potential opponent. Mayweather already fought Paul’s brother, Logan Paul. But he made it clear he won’t face Paul or anyone else who has a legitimate chance to hurt him.
Those days are behind him. He just wants to enjoy himself now, as he did on Saturday.