LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. is enough of a businessman to know his latest fight would be a tough sell, especially after setting records with Canelo Alvarez his last time out.
But sell he must, even though oddsmakers and nearly everyone else give Marcos Maidana little chance in their welterweight title fight Saturday night. A full house is already guaranteed at the MGM Grand hotel arena, but Mayweather needs people at home to pay $64.95 for the fight if he is going to recoup his guaranteed $32 million purse.
So Mayweather hinted this week that this might be his last fight, though few in boxing believe that. He also said he planned to stand in front of Maidana and trade punches with the hard-hitting Argentine, though his history in the ring suggests he won’t. Oh, and he wants to score a knockout, something he’s done only once in the last seven years.
‘‘I want to look impressive,’’ he said. ‘‘I want to put on a good show. We don’t expect this fight to go the distance.’’
Mayweather returns to the ring for the first time since dominating Alvarez in boxing’s richest bout, taking on Maidana in a fight that even Mayweather seems to have trouble expressing much enthusiasm about. He’s a bigger, much more skilled fighter than Maidana, just part of the reason oddsmakers made him an 11-1 pick to remain undefeated in the 46th fight of a pro career that has made him the richest fighter ever.
Still, Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) says he has to be wary of the power Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) brings into the ring.
‘‘He’s got an 80 percent knockout ratio so I can’t go to sleep on this guy,’’ he said. ‘‘But guys can’t go to the mental level I’m at. I can beat them many ways.’’
Maidana earned the fight with a strong showing in his last bout, twice knocking down Adrien Broner on his way to a decision win in December. Maidana hits hard, but he will be up against a fighter who rarely gets hit with more than one punch in any exchange.