Unbeaten welterweight

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

announced his retirement again yesterday, with boxing's unofficial pound-for-pound king saying he no longer has the passion necessary to fight.

Mayweather, the WBC welterweight champion, made the abrupt announcement in a letter to select media members yesterday. The 31-year-old former U.S. Olympian (39-0, 25 KOs) hasn't fought since beating Ricky Hatton last December, but was widely expected to fight Oscar De La Hoya in September in a rematch of the richest fight in boxing history.

"This decision was not an easy one for me to make, as boxing is all I have done since I was a child," said Mayweather, the son and nephew of three of the sport's top trainers. "However, these past few years have been extremely difficult for me to find the desire and joy to continue in the sport."

Mayweather also said he was done fighting after each of his last two bouts, but his letter somberly described the reasons for the Pretty Boy's decision to "permanently retire from boxing."

Though he reportedly earned more than $50 million combined for his split-decision win over De La Hoya and a knockout of Hatton, Mayweather has seemed much more interested in being a celebrity than a fighter over the past 18 months.

He has appeared on "Dancing With the Stars," worked on his record label and participated in the 440-pound "Big Show" at WrestleMania in Orlando this year.

In other boxing news:

* Former boxing champ Thomas "Hitman" Hearns owes the federal government more than a quarter-million dollars in unpaid income taxes, the Detroit News reported.


* North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson was charged with driving after consuming alcohol following an early-morning traffic stop.

* BYU freshman heptathlete Chelsi Petersen was killed when the car she was riding in collided with a car coming the other way in Provo Canyon, Utah. Former Cougars sprinter Paul Smith, who has been training for the U.S. Olympic trials, was driving Peterson, and was in serious condition.

* Akron dismissed basketball player Rydell Brooks, who was accused of shooting at police officers during a foot chase after a traffic stop.

* Washington and Wisconsin remained undefeated with narrow wins in the varsity eight semifinals of the 106th Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships on the Cooper River in Camden.

* Former UNLV basketball player Frank "Spoon" James, who was found dead in his cell at the Las Vegas city jail, died of natural causes, the Clark County, Nev., coroner said.

Sport Stops

* Tommy Armour III, Gavin Coles, Dean Wilson, Jason Dufner, Michael Bradley and Marc Turnesa shared the lead after two rounds of the Stanford St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tenn. All were at 3-under 137 - the highest 36-hole total on the PGA Tour since Angel Cabrera at the Open last year when he was at even par-140.

* The Court of Arbitration for Sports rejected runner Justin Gatlin's appeal of a 4-year drug suspension for doping.

* Landon Donovan, recovered from a groin strain, was put back on the roster for the United States' soccer exhibition game against Argentina tomorrow. *