Calling Fact or Fiction on Possibilities for Floyd Mayweather's Next Fight
Last weekend at the BET Awards, pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather gave a red-carpet interview where he stated that his next fight would be on Sept. 13 in a rematch with his last opponent, Marcos Maidana. He further teased that he would be announcing "a big surprise" for next May.
Mayweather is the biggest star in boxing right now and aside from Manny Pacquiao, the only fighter with mainstream recognition in the United States. His fights are gala events that transcend the increasingly marginalized sport.
"Money May" is the type of celebrity who is always surrounded by TMZ-style rumors. But of relevance to what he does in the ring, the following five rumors are worth looking at.
Floyd Mayweather Will Fight Marcos Maidana in September
It's being written and talked about as a done deal now, but it's important to point out that at this point, Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana II remains just a rumor. In the video here where Mayweather made the big "annoucement," his revelation about Maidana was actually little more than a throw-away statement in the last 20 seconds of the interview.
So it's hardly official.
There's no doubt Maidana wants the fight. He quickly responded on twitter:
— Marcos René Maidana (@ChinoMaidana) July 1, 2014
A rematch with Maidana is the most lucrative fight Mayweather could make right now, aside from a long-awaited bout with Manny Pacquiao. One judge scored the fight a draw and for the first time since he fought Jose Luis Castillo in 2002, there is public debate over whether or not Mayweather deserved a judging decision.
This fight could be official by early next week. But in boxing, anything that hasn't been presented at a contract signing and press conference should still be viewed as provisional.
Still, this is one rumor that definitely seems like it's quickly approaching fact.
Mayweather Will Fight Next in New York
As reported on July 3 by Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News, Floyd Mayweather has officially been approved for a promotional license in the state of New York. Mayweather's push to become licensed in New York has prompted speculation that his rematch with Marcos Maidana will take place in the Big Apple, instead of his customary home base of Las Vegas.
There is some basis for thinking this rumor could be true. Mayweather recently broke off his business relationship with Golden Boy, who has been the licensed promoter for all of his recent fights. Mayweather himself lacks a license in Nevada.
But I have a hard time imagining that Nevada would deny Mayweather, or at least somebody else associated with his promotional team, a license. Mayweather fight weekends are incredibly important sources of revenue in Las Vegas.
No way are government officials going to ignore the kind of dollars Mayweather brings into the state.
The Money Team has an entire roster of fighters and getting licensed in New York allows them to expand that end of their business. They already promoted a card in New York earlier this year at the Turning Stone Casino, under licensing from the Oneida Nation Athletic Commission.
So I think a lot of people are reading way too much into the fact that Mayweather Promotions has gotten licensed in New York. It's possible the timing is designed to put extra pressure on Nevada.
But my own feeling is that this rumor is false. I don't see Mayweather abandoning his home turf in this case. Expect his next fight to once again be at the MGM Grand.
Floyd Mayweather Will Fight Saul Alvarez in May
Of all the rumors I'm offering for consideration in this piece, this one seems most unlikely. Floyd Mayweather's win over Saul Alvarez last September was as one-sided as any of his recent victories.
Despite judge C.J. Ross' utter incompetence, Mayweather's win over Canelo was closer to a shutout than a tie.
So it's tough for me to imagine that Mayweather-Alvarez II would be a big seller just a year-and-a-half later. Still, such is the popularity of Canelo that when Mayweather mentioned "a big surprise" for next May last weekend, Alvarez's name instantly came forward.
Typical of the speculation was Raimundo Ortiz's column yesterday in Sports World News. The theory is driven by Alvarez's stated desire to fight in May and September, as the popular boxing weekends are built around important Mexican holidays.
Mayweather has also expressed an openness to facing Canelo again.
I do think Alvarez might do better against Mayweather in a rematch, and I can imagine the fight taking place. But I don't see it happening as soon as next May.
I think a more likely scenario is that Oscar De La Hoya and Bob Arum will team up to present Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto on May 2, as a potential direct challenge to whatever fight Mayweather has on offer.
If Alvarez is able to handle Erislandy Lara later this month and can manage to wrest the lineal middleweight championship from Cotto in May then I believe a rematch with Floyd Mayweather will be very possible.
But as far as May 2015, that's a rumor I am inclined to view as pure fiction.
Floyd Mayweather Will Fight Manny Pacqiao in May
For the majority of boxing fans, when Floyd Mayweather talked about having "a big surprise" on tap for May, that could only mean just one thing, that he was finally going to make the Manny Pacquiao fight.
A long-anticipated fight with the Filipino star is really the only thing that would qualify as a "big surprise" from Mayweather at this point. This is a fight fans have wanted since the early years of Barack Obama's first term.
If Mayweather's "big surprise" ends up being anything other than a fight with Pacquiao, a huge percentage of boxing fans will howl with outrage.
The part of me that is a pure fan has his hopes up. But the part of me that has spent countless hours over the past few years reading or writing about a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao bout can only cynically shake his head.
It's close to impossible for to believe that Mayweather and Bob Arum would ever work together to make it happen.
My head is calling this rumor fiction, but my heart sure hopes that I'm wrong.
Floyd Mayweather Will Fight Amir Khan in May
While most boxing fans heard "Manny Pacquiao" last weekend when Floyd Mayweather promised a "big surprise" for next May, in England they heard something else. They heard "Amir Khan."
Martin Domin of The Daily Mail was quick to respond on Monday with speculation that "the big surprise" might be Khan.
Of course, only the British media would view Amir Khan as a tease-worthy surprise. If Mayweather ends up announcing that he will fight Khan next May, North American fans will shriek.
I still think there's a great chance that it ends up happening. And if it does, I am positive Mayweather will make the rare choice to fight outside Las Vegas, on Khan's home turf in London.
Last May Carl Froch and George Groves sold 80,000 tickets in Wembley Stadium. Mayweather-Khan would certainly do similar numbers.
All those tickets and the extra pay-per-view sales in the U.K. would make up for the revenue Mayweather would surely lose if Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya present Miguel Cotto vs. Saul Alvarez on the same weekend.
Of all the rumored opponents for Mayweather's big "May surprise," I think this one is the most likely to be fact.