YOU know it’s a sad day in boxing when the sport’s best fighter becomes giddy about fighting a retired 42-year-old former world champion in his swansong before he hangs up his gloves.

It sends a wrong message to the fans, and all but confirms what Floyd Mayweather’s critics have been saying all along about his career.

COMEBACK. A couple of weeks ago, Oscar de la Hoya stirred the pot by alluding obliquely to a possible comeback and even naming the formidable Grennady Golovkin as his preferred opponent.

Was he serious? Maybe, maybe not.

But Oscar is Oscar and he is entitled to his musings. A multiple world champion in six different weight classes and now, the head honcho of Golden Boy Promotions, he has impacted the sport in a manner unprecedented in the history of the “Sweet Science.”

There were other trailblazers before, but no other boxer has been as successful as Oscar in parlaying his accomplishments inside the ring into a lucrative transition as a promoter.

Ergo, we have to give him some leeway if he decides to engage in some meaningless banter about making a comeback.

But for Floyd Mayweather Jr. to take that seriously and immediately offer him a rematch in September--well, that says a lot about the top pound- for- pound fighter.

MONEY. To recall--and in fairness to Oscar--he did give a good account of himself in that May 2007 fight against Floyd.

In fact, this Last Rounder scored the fight for him and so did one of the ringside judges, thereby resulting in a split decision verdict for Floyd.

To date, no other opponent has come as close as Oscar to handling Floyd that elusive first loss.

Marcos Maidana did good in their first fight, but even that was good enough for a majority decision.

However, that was eight long years ago, and Oscar hasn’t fought since Manny Pacquiao retired him in eight rounds in 2008.

For obvious reasons, the Oscar card is being played by “Money” because of its potential for another lucrative payday.

With Pacquiao out of the equation until next year due to a shoulder injury, no other opponent can have that pull both in the pay per view and the live gate.

Oscar even at 42, will be a huge draw simply because he is Oscar and fans will be curious about how he will fare inside a ring after 8 years.

And of course, both of them can just waltz their way to the bank after 12 boring, uneventful rounds.

This is bad for the sport because it underscores how money has become the driving force behind it and illustrates why the fans are denied the most palatable match-ups out there.

Whatever happened to meritocracy in boxing?

Thankfully, Oscar has declined Floyd’s challenge, which made the latter look like an imbecile for jumping immediately at the opportunity.

COTTO. Speaking of possible opponents, Miguel Cotto did an awesome job last week, and we were right on the money with our prediction of a TKO victory for him over Daniel Geale.

Cotto brutalized Geale inside four rounds, and under Freddie Roach’s tutelage, seems to have rediscovered that brutal physicality that used to define his performances inside the ring.

Cotto should fit the bill perfectly for Floyd’s retirement fight. The name recall factor is there so you won’t have a problem selling the fight.

Plus, Cotto has the potential and the skill level to score an upset.

So how about it Floyd? You want a rematch, give Miguel another chance.

LAST ROUND. It’s on my mother-in-law, Alma G. Navarro who is celebrating her birthday in San Francisco, California. Happy Birthday, Ma and cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)