Mayweather-Marquez set for Sept. 19
Floyd Mayweather's return to boxing is back on.
The flamboyant former pound-for-pound king, who was scheduled to fight Juan Manuel Marquez next month at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, issued a statement Friday that said he's been cleared by doctors and the fight has been rescheduled for Sept. 19.
Mayweather, who is coming out of a brief retirement, damaged cartilage in his ribs during training two weeks ago. The two fighters were committed to rescheduling the fight, even though more lucrative opponents like Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao became available for both of them.
"I am relieved to be cleared to fight, as I was already looking forward to getting back in the ring," Mayweather said. "Trust me, September 19 is a great weekend for boxing, and all of my fans -- of which there are many Mexicans too -- can certainly hold on to their hats and sombreros when I get back into the ring."
Ticket sales reportedly had been slow for the pay-per-view fight, but they may get a significant boost because of the new date. Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16, and the bout will follow on Saturday -- a weekend that had long belonged to Oscar De La Hoya, whose Golden Boy Promotions handles Marquez.
De La Hoya announced his retirement from boxing earlier this year.
"I am happy that Mayweather has been cleared to fight and we can get down to business," Marquez said. "This weekend is not just an important weekend for boxing, but even more so for all of the Mexican and Mexican-American people I will be fighting for.
"[They] will have a great reason to celebrate my win over Mayweather, which will be for all of the people and for the entire country of Mexico that night."
Mayweather, the former five-division champ, hasn't fought since knocking out Ricky Hatton in December 2007, when he was still reveling in his breakthrough victory over De La Hoya. His unexpected retirement last year came in a statement issued by his publicist, just as he was gaining mainstream attention with appearances on "Dancing with the Stars" and at WrestleMania.
His aura seemed to have dimmed over the past year, though, and there have been reports that Mayweather (39-0, 25 KOs) has been having financial hardships. On top of that, Pacquiao has risen to become boxing's best all-around fighter.
That alone may have been enough to lure "Money" back into the ring.
His handlers began fielding offers for fights several months ago -- few believed that Mayweather would stay retired -- and he eventually settled on Marquez, who insiders rank highly on the pound-for-pound list but who is unknown by most mainstream sports fans.
Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KOs), who has fought to a draw and close split-decision loss against Pacquiao, is coming off riveting knockouts of Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz, which earned him the vacant WBO lightweight title in February.
He'll be moving up to fight Mayweather at a catch weight of about 143 pounds, eight more than Marquez has ever fought and the lightest Mayweather has been since 2005.
"I am sure of victory and si se puede," Marquez said, "yes we can and yes we will."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
MORE BOXING HEADLINES
- Arum: Pacquiao-Mayweather fight imminent
- Former heavyweight promoter Kushner dies
- Holyfield has starring role in road-rage PSA
- Mayweather, Pacquiao meet again privately