Retired pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather will return from a two-year retirement Saturday with a chance raise his career record to 50-0 when he meets UFC champion Conor McGregor in their Las Vegas boxing pay-per-view showdown airing live on Showtime PPV.
A victory for Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) would break a tie and eclipse the revered and mythical mark of Rocky Marciano, who retired as heavyweight champion in 1955 with a record of 49-0 and 43 knockouts.
Critics of the fight, focused exclusively on McGregor's lack of professional boxing experience, have labeled it a circus and claimed it should be considered an exhibition match rather than a sanctioned fight. In fact, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has been widely panned for approved the matchup between the greatest boxer of his era and one making his boxing debut.
Consider Rocky Marciano Jr., the son of the late legendary heavyweight, as a member of that group.
"No matter what happens, I don't think it should go towards Mayweather's professional career [record], win or lose," Marciano Jr. told USA Today on Monday. "This fight to me isn't a true boxing match."
The elder Marciano died in a 1969 plane crash on the eve of his 46th birthday, but his record has remained revered, his son says, because it came at heavyweight.
"Heavyweights, most of them, hold the highest knockout percentage for a reason,'' Marciano Jr. said. "They're bigger, they're stronger and one punch can take a heavyweight out. So it's a lot more difficult to stay undefeated than it is for someone in the lower weight class, where it can be more of a type of match where you're just outpointing your opponent."
Marciano Jr. has plenty of respect for Mayweather, 40, and everything he has accomplished. That doesn't mean he will be watching the fight, however, and he has turned down invitations to attend it in person at T-Mobile Arena.
"It's not a fight that I'm interested in," he said. "I see the interest in it, but I don't think it'll be an interesting fight."