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Welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. retires

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Unbeaten welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced his retirement again Friday, with boxing's unofficial pound-for-pound king saying he no longer has the passion necessary to fight.


Mayweather, the WBC welterweight champion, made the abrupt announcement in a letter to select media members Friday. The 31-year-old former U.S. Olympian (39-0, 25 KOs) hasn't fought since beating Ricky Hatton last December, but was widely expected to fight Oscar De La Hoya in September in a rematch of the richest fight in boxing history.


"This decision was not an easy one for me to make, as boxing is all I have done since I was a child," said Mayweather, the son and nephew of three of the sport's top trainers. "However, these past few years have been extremely difficult for me to find the desire and joy to continue in the sport."


Mayweather also said he was done fighting after each of his last two bouts, but his letter somberly described the reasons for the Pretty Boy's decision to "permanently retire from boxing."


"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," Mayweather said. "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."


Though he reportedly earned more than $50 million combined for his split-decision win over De La Hoya and a knockout of Hatton, Mayweather has seemed much more interested in being a celebrity than a fighter over the past 18 months.


He has appeared on "Dancing With the Stars," worked on his record label and entered the wrestling ring for a choreographed bout with the 440-pound "Big Show" at WrestleMania in Orlando earlier this year. He also gained a broader measure of fans through two short-run reality shows on HBO leading up to his last two fights, detailing the wacky family dynamics of the Mayweather clan.


Mayweather's father, Floyd Sr., is estranged from his son. He is De La Hoya's longtime trainer, and though he sat out De La Hoya's first fight with Floyd Jr., he planned to train De La Hoya for the rematch. Floyd Jr. is trained by his uncle, Roger, and another uncle, Jeff, also is emerging as a respected trainer.


Though fans and promoters have clamored for Mayweather to take on unbeaten welterweight Miguel Cotto, Mayweather had repeatedly dismissed the idea, saying he planned to fight De La Hoya, whose own plans for a three-bout arc to end his career will be altered by Mayweather's decision.


De La Hoya, who beat Steve Forbes in a tuneup last month, had hoped to fight Mayweather and Cotto this year before turning full-time to his career in charge of Golden Boy Promotions.


Given Mayweather's love of money and attention, he knows many fans won't believe he's truly gone — but Mayweather insists he's finished.


"I am sorry I have to leave the sport at this time, knowing I still have my God-given abilities to succeed and future multi-million dollar paydays ahead, including the one right around the corner," Mayweather said. "But there comes a time when money doesn't matter. I just can't do it anymore. I have found a peace with my decision that I have not felt in a long time."

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