Floyd Mayweather has again teased fans about a potential return to the ring just days after reconfirming his retirement.
In a post to his Instagram account, a photo of a shirtless and ripped looking Mayweather was accompanied by six words: “Coming out of retirement in 2020”.
The post was circulated on Twitter almost immediately by UFC president Dana White, firing up the rumour mill that the pair were planning to work together.
Mayweather has previously suggested he would like to compete in mixed martial arts in some capacity one day, while also saying boxing is the superior combat sport.
Speculation mounted this week that a partnership between Mayweather and White was brewing after the duo were spotted talking at a basketball game on Wednesday night.
White watched his beloved Boston Celtics lose 107-104 to the Los Angeles Clippers from courtside seats.
The UFC boss had planned to launch his new venture Zuffa Boxing last month as he seeks to diversify his interests in combat sports.
Little has been revealed about this venture although it is widely rumoured that the organisation will not recognise the traditional sanctioning bodies and instead create their own world championship belt inline with the UFC model.
Mayweather worked with White on his boxing match against UFC star Conor McGregor in 2017, which the 42-year-old undefeated American won by 10th round stoppage.
“We gave the MMA sport a boost,” Mayweather said at the time. “Eventually I will move on to build my brand in MMA but for right now I’m in boxing, and boxing will always be at the top as long as I’m involved.”
The Instagram announcement directly contradicts Mayweather’s comments earlier this week that he intends to remain retired, despite being linked with a rematch with Manny Pacquiao.
“I’ve got calls to get back into the ring, but my health is my wealth,” he told Reuters.
“Boxing is a very, very brutal sport. In the last few years a lot of fighters have died inside that squared circle.
“You have got to know when to hang it up. I had a great career.
“I’ll still travel and do exhibitions. I make great money doing exhibitions; between $10 and $30 million.
“I think I make more doing that than most fighters make fighting.”