LAS VEGAS — Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer has confirmed reports that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is planning to fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on the two traditional Mexican holiday weekends — May 4 (Cinco De Mayo weekend), as well as Sept. 14, which is the day before Mexican Independence Day.
Mayweather (43-0, 26 knockouts), who turns 36 in February, is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over then-WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto in May at the MGM Grand, even as he still is considered to be the WBC’s reigning welterweight titleholder.
“It is correct, I’m very excited that Floyd has decided to fight twice next year. I think that this is great news for sports fans and boxing fans to have the No. 1 fighter in the world committing himself to fighting twice next year on the two biggest dates,” said of Mayweather, who was released from the Clark County Detention Center on Aug. 3 from a stay that began on June 1.
“So next year, we’re not only going to have one Mayweather Super Bowl, but we’re going to have two Mayweather Super Bowls, so I’m very excited about it. We have the necessary elements in motion, and we have been working on this for a while. So I think that additional information will be forthcoming within the next week. Obviously we are holding the MGM Grand for both dates. I’m going to Las Vegas and work out the necessary deals.”
Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, confirmed that Golden Boy has requested the venue for May 4.
“You can request the venue any time you like, but they won’t be put on the agenda any earlier than six months before the date of the fight card, with the exception of the busier wekends of Cinco De Mayo, which we would do as early as three months out,” said Kizer.
“They have requested May 4 at the MGM, and that will be put on our February agenda. They can request September, but we wouldn’t vote on that until June. They have not requested September yet. Only May.”
Schaefer would not name potential opponents for Mayweather.
“I don’t want to speculate or comment on that, although I have a pretty good idea about what’s going to happen, as you can imagine,” said Schaefer.
“But that will be up to Floyd Mayweather and his team to announce who it’s going to be. So I’m going to leave it at that. I’m not going to be making any comments or statements in that regard.”
The announcement comes during the same weekend as Manny Pacquiao’s fourth bout with welterweight rival Juan Manuel Marquez, which will happen on Saturday night at the MGM Grand. Pacquiao is coming off June’s controversial split-decision loss to WBO 147-pound titleholder Tim Bradley.
A Mayweather-Pacquiao fight has long been desired by the public, only to have negotiations with Pacquiao — promoted by rival Top Rank — fall apart over issues of drug testing and money.
During a recent interview, Pacquiao claimed that he is willing to do whatever it takes to make the fight with Mayweather, going as far as saying that he would be willing to take the lower half of a 45-55 split.
“That’s a big fight that the fans are waiting for, and even you guys. Are you waiting for that fight? The fans are really waiting to see that fight,” said Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) of Mayweather, who already has dominated Marquez by unanimous decision in September of 2009.
“And that’s why I said I’m okay with 45-55 or whatever you want, just to make the fight happen. If you want drug testing in the rules, or whatever you want, it’s okay. No problem. I think I already announced everything that they want. Just waiting for the answer. It’s up to him.”
During an earlier interview with RingTV.com, Schaefer has identified Robert Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs), who is promoted by Golden Boy, as a potential Mayweather opponent, saying “I’m going to see if Robert can get that Mayweather fight,” and, “I’ve already started negotiations for the Guerrero fighting Mayweather.”
In the aftermath of September’s fifth-round stoppage of Josesito Lopez, Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs) called out Mayweather, Cotto or RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez as potential opponents for a May 4 return at the MGM.
Schaefer was asked how Mayweather’s return would mesh with Alvarez’s target date.
“We’re obviously working on that as well, and that will obviously be announced. Right now, it’s like you know when the National Football League is going to have it’s Super Bowl. We know the date, we know the venue, but we don’t know yet who is going to play in it,” said Schaefer.
“Here, it’s basically we know the date, we have locked in a venue, and we know one of the participants already, which is the best fighter in the world, Floyd Mayweather, and now, everybody’s just going to have to wait until we announce who he is going to fight, and then the event will be presented. But I can assure you that this is going to be an event which has the potential to be the biggest pay per view event of all time.”
Martinez, however, is slated to face unbeaten Martin Murray, of England, on April 27 in his native Argentina, and Cotto lost a unanimous decision this past Saturday to Austin Trout, although Schaefer still considers the Puerto Rican Cotto a possibility for Alvarez.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said that he would respect the Golden Boy dates and not try to schedule against them, as long as Mayweather was the main attraction.
“Obviously, if they have Floyd Mayweather fighting on May 4, we would not go head-to-head. But if they’re using this to push another fight on May 4, we might go head-to-head,” said Arum. “If Mayweather wants to go on a particular date, he’s the gorilla, like Pacquiao’s the gorilla. That’s fine.”
Arum did, however, question Golden Boy’s move to take both Mexican Holiday weekends.
“Why did they do it? Because what happens if Marquez wins, and we do a Marquez-Bradley fight and we want to put it on May 4,” said Arum. “They would say, ‘hey we have the date.’ You have it for Mayweather, but you don’t have it for anyone else. That’s the game.”
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org