Floyd Mayweather Jr. will return to the ring against welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz on Sept. 17, it has been formally announced. Mayweather broke the news on his Twitter account this morning.
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas appears to be the most likely site, according to Arellano. Cowboys Stadium reportedly is another possibility. The terms of the agreement have not been made public.
"I am ready to return to the ring and give my fans a fantastic night of boxing by fighting the best out there and for me, that is Victor Ortiz," Mayweather said in a news release. "He is the current champion and an extremely talented fighter who showed amazing skills and heart in his last performance against Andre Berto. At this stage of my career, these are the challenges I look for, a young, strong, rising star looking to make his mark in boxing by beating me. Like the rest of my opponents, he is going to try to prove that he can beat me.
“I commend him for accepting the fight, but on Sept. 17, Ortiz is just going to be another casualty, the 42nd one who tried and failed. Trust me, I will be ready."
It’s not clear whether Mayweather’s legal problems could impact the fight. Mayweather faces felony domestic violence charges after an incident with the mother of his children, for which his next court date is Oct. 20. He also has been charged in an altercation with a security guard.
Mayweather hasn’t fought since he easily outpointed Shane Mosley in May of last year, meaning he will have been out of the ring for 16 months when he fights Ortiz. And this would be only his third fight since 2007.
Ortiz "did about four back flips" when he heard about Mayweather's Tweet, a friend of the fighter reportedly told the Los Angeles Times.
"I respect Mayweather because he has been a champion for many years and I know he will be ready, but so will I," Ortiz said in the same news release. "I'm a strong fighter and I have worked really hard to silence my critics. I'm a world champion for a reason and I am not going to let go of my title any time soon. This is going to be a great fight, but I will remain a world champion for many years to come."
Mayweather, the former pound-for-pound king, already is being criticized on message boards for agreeing to fight Ortiz instead of rival Manny Pacquiao, with whom he twice failed to come to terms on a megafight.
And, indeed, Ortiz will be a heavy underdog in the fight.
At the same time, Ortiz, who created a sensation by outlasting Andre Berto in a classic brawl to win the WBC belt in April, is a strong and quick-handed young (24 years old) fighter who is no pushover.
One could argue that Ortiz is a more-serious threat to Mayweather than Pacquiao’s last few opponents have been to him.
“I think this proves that Mayweather isn’t afraid of anybody,” said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, Mayweather’s partner. “Victor can punch. And he’ll come all night long. If he hurts Mayweather, he won’t take his foot off the pedal like Shane Mosley did. He’ll go for the kill.
“And Victor is big. He weighed, what, 161 [in the ring] against Berto? Victor is a big, young powerful fighter.”
One report suggested that Mayweather's plan is to use the Ortiz fight as a stepping stone to a Pacquiao fight next year.
Pacquiao is scheduled to face Juan Manuel Marquez in a third fight on Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand.