Floyd Mayweather will proceed with his Dubai adventure.
Confusion as to when Mayweather’s previously postponed rematch with ‘Dangerous’ Don Moore will resurface appears to have been resolved, with the show back in play for this Saturday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The event takes place one week after the planned May 14 show was forced to shut down due to the sudden passing of UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who died at the age of 73 last Friday.
Muslim tradition calls for a 40-day mourning period upon the loss of a member of the Islamic community, along with announced three-day work suspension in the UAE public and private sectors. That directly affected the May 14 card that was due to take place on a helipad atop the luxurious Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.
Mayweather revealed via Instagram plans for the event to take place this weekend, while conflicting reports suggested the show would be pushed back to October. BoxingScene.com has confirmed that it will in fact move forward to take place this Saturday, along with at least two of the previously scheduled undercard bouts.
It remains unclear—as of Wednesday afternoon—whether it will still take place at Burj Al Arab, or at Coca-Cola Arena which was to have hosted a show topped by the now postponed lightweight fight between Tevin Farmer and Mickey Bey.
UFC legend Anderson Silva will face Brazil’s Bruno Machado, a UAE Warriors mixed martial arts (MMA) lightweight champion in mixed martial arts, in an eight-round exhibition at a contracted weight of 194 pounds.
The most notable boxing match still in play for the undercard pits former long-reigning WBC lightweight champion Delfine Persoon (46-3, 19KOs) and unbeaten Elhem Mekhaled (15-0, 3KOs) in a scheduled ten-round junior lightweight bout. Their matchup was a late addition to the original May 14 date and was to have the vacant WBC silver 130-pound title at stake. It is unclear whether the belt is still on the line this weekend, though BoxingScene.com has confirmed that travel was secured for both boxers who were en route to Dubai as this goes to publish.
The status of the previously scheduled cruiserweight bout between former two-division titlist Badou Jack (25-3-3, 15KOs) and Dubai-based Haney ‘Egyptian Hurricane’ Atiyo (16-4, 12KOs) is not immediately known. Jack tweeted, ‘New date coming soon’ earlier Wednesday afternoon, though not confirming if it meant his returning to the show or awaiting a new assignment.
Even as a fake fight, the assignment is by far the most significant event in the boxing lifetime of Moore. The 45-year-old from Gary, Indiana amassed a record of 18-0-1 (12KOs) over the course of his 17-year pro career, taking place almost exclusively in his home state.
In his final pro fight, Moore scored a second-round knockout of Deshaun Williams who was 5-16-1 at the time of their September 2016 clash in Conyers, Georgia. The bout was in line with a career filled with sub .500 opponents though also the farthest he traveled from his home state as a pro. The journey to Dubai is an experience far beyond any other he’s enjoyed, coming against one of the best fighters in boxing history with whom Moore frequently sparred.
Mayweather (50-0, 27KOs) takes part in his third exhibition bout since retiring in 2017. The Hall of Fame former five-division champion was last seen going eight rounds with content creator and cruiserweight novice Logan Paul last June in Miami, headlining a Showtime Pay-Per-View event that reportedly generated 1,000,000 buys.
The action was the first in the ring for Mayweather since a first-round knockout of kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in their 2018 New Year’s Eve exhibition in Saitama, Japan.
Mayweather left the sport for good in 2017 following a tenth-round knockout of UFC superstar Conor McGregor who made his pro debut for the occasion. The bout ended a 23-month ring absence for Mayweather, who previously announced retirement after a September 2015 points win over Andre Berto at MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. The win over Berto came four months after Mayweather soundly outpointed fellow boxing legend Manny Pacquaio (62-8-2, 39KOs) in May 2015, atop what remains the highest grossing event in boxing history.
Championship wins in five weight divisions along with his longtime status as the sport’s pound-for-pound were properly honored with three BWAA Fighter of the Year awards and the 2010s Fighter of the Decade. Mayweather was a slam-dunk, first-ballot selection for Hall of Fame enshrinement as part of the Class of 2021. He will be formally enshrined this June as part of a three-class induction ceremony, with the 2020 and 2021 induction ceremonies both canceled due to the pandemic.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox