Floyd Mayweather has announced his next opponent. It’s his last opponent.
The welterweight champion will take on Marcos Maidana on September 13. Mayweather won a memorable majority decision victory over the Argentine brawler on May 3. Maidana gave Mayweather one of the most competitive fights of his career, with one judge scoring it a draw and a few ringside observers seeing the match for the aggressive challenger.
While the site–the MGM Grand Garden Arena–may be the same as for Mayweather’s last nine matches, the circumstances are different than all but one of the undefeated pugilist’s past 46 fights. The return engagement with Maidana marks Mayweather’s first since his rematch with Jose Luis Castillo twelve years ago. Mayweather, a one-and-done fighter, has participated in few competitive bouts and thus few rematches.
The fight, Mayweather’s fourth in a six-fight $200 million Showtime contract, appears as the best of numerous bad options. Manny Pacquiao remains under contract with HBO through the end of the year, making that superfight unrealistic until 2015. Amir Khan, who could deliver a sizable global audience, refuses to train during Ramadan, making the September date a nonstarter for the British Muslim. Miguel Cotto, hot off demolishing Sergio Martinez last month in Madison Square Garden, announced the need for rest after the most electrifying performance of his career.
This left Mayweather with few marketable opponents to choose from. The 900,000 buys generated by the Maidana pay-per view marked the second time in three fights that Money failed to hit the million mark. By way of comparison, Mayweather’s fight last year against Canelo Alvarez generated 2.2 million buys. To earn the $200 million contract, Mayweather may feel increasing pressure from Showtime to make the most attractive fights, e.g., Pacquiao, Khan, and possibly Cotto. Right now, based on his performance in May, Maidana may be Mayweather’s most marketable opponent. Surely the Argentine’s name recognition ranks higher among the public than it did prior to his first fight against Mayweather.
Perhaps more surprising than the familiar opponent is the familiar promoter. Despite Mayweather favorite Richard Schaefer departing from Golden Boy, and reports of the prize fighter’s deteriorating relationship with the “Golden Boy” himself, the welterweight champion will fight under Oscar De La Hoya’s promotional banner in September. Last month, Mayweather’s camp pronounced their relationship with Golden Boy dead in the wake of Schaefer’s departure.
“There’s no reason for Floyd and I not to be working together,” De La Hoya told reporters at an event promoting Saturday’s Alvarez-Lara pay-per view. “We don’t have to be best of friends. But we don’t have to be enemies or rivals or have issues. I’m glad that we came to terms and made this fight happen.”