Friday, June 6, 2008 | 4:26 p.m.
Welterweight world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced his retirement from boxing Friday afternoon in a prepared statement sent to members of the press.
The surprising announcement evidently means Mayweather will not fight Oscar De La Hoya in a rematch of a 2007 megabout that was expected to take place this fall.
Mayweather, 31, widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, compiled a record of 39-0 with 25 knockouts, winning titles in five weight classes.
Here is the text of Mayweather's announcement:
"It is with a heavy heart that I write you this message today. I have decided to permanently retire from boxing. This decision was not an easy one for me to make as boxing is all I have done since I was a child. However, these past few years have been extremely difficult for me to find the desire and joy to continue in the sport.
"I have said numerous times and after several of my fights over the past two years that I might not fight again. At the same time, 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. 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. So I have finally made up my mind, spoken to my family, particularly my mother, and made my decision.
"I am sorry I have to leave the sport at this time, knowing I still have my God-given abilities to succeed and future multimillion-dollar paydays ahead, including the one right around the corner. 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.
"Finally, I want to personally thank all of my fans for their loyalty and dedication as my career comes to a close. I always believed that their enthusiasm and support helped carry me to victory with every fight I ever had.
"It was a great joy to have fought for all of you. Now I hope you understand my decision and wish me well with the rest of my life.
Floyd Mayweather Jr."