Floyd Mayweather Plans His Return to Boxing

It’s been considered a fait accompli for some time now among boxing insiders that Floyd Mayweather would fight again following his abrupt retirement last summer that foiled a potential rematch with Oscar De La Hoya. ↵

↵Now, it seems that his return to the ring is imminent, with the rumor mill grinding out news that Floyd’s people are in talks with HBO about having Mayweather fight a non-pay-per-view tune-up bout on July 11th with an eye towards fighting the winner of the May 2nd Manny Pacquiao/Ricky Hatton bout in Las Vegas. ↵

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↵There are, as always, numerous obstacles to this plan, the most pressing being that Floyd does not want to fight on pay-per-view in his July tune-up fight because he fears that potentially weak PPV numbers could weaken his negotiating position for facing the winner of Pacquiao/Hatton. Another problem is that HBO has been negotiating a match-up between Bernard Hopkins and cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek for their open date on July 11th. One would imagine that relatively inconsequential bout would be pushed aside in a heartbeat for the return of Floyd, but you have to remember that Bernard Hopkins is much more than a popular-but-not-as-popular-as-he-thinks-he-is fighter. He’s also a partner in Golden Boy Promotions, one of the two most powerful gangs in the fight biz at the moment, the Sharks to Bob Arum’s Jets. Brushing off Bernard is one thing, but brushing off Golden Boy is another thing altogether. ↵

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↵A final sticking point to the plan might be the toughest of them all, and that’s why they call it “the bottom line.” Floyd wants to fight on HBO’s free-to-subscribers World Championship Boxing series, but he wants pay-per-view level money to do so. Will HBO fork over that kind of dough to get Floyd back on their network? ↵

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↵My bet is… probably, although it could be a tortured negotiation, and I’d be prepared for some “the whole thing is completely off and will never happen” type talk from both sides before it eventually ends up happening. What’s at stake is just too huge for either side to walk away from the deal, and the fact of the matter is that it makes perfect sense for Floyd to fight on free-to-subscribers HBO this summer rather than do an uninspiring PPV appearance. Because Floyd and HBO are both hunting the one true white whale of the boxing world right now -- Floyd vs. Pacquiao -- a fight that has the potential to do gigantic numbers and make everybody involved filthy rich. My observation generally has been that when there’s that much money on the table, the parties involved usually find a way to hammer out a deal. For evidence of that, look at Pacquiao/Hatton, a fight that seemed to be dead at one point over mere points on the package before cooler, greedier heads prevailed. ↵

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↵It’s the same old story, innit? To paraphrase the forgotten Robert Cray, “Money’s right next door and he’s … such a strong persuader.” Yes indeed, Lil Floyd Money May, who reportedly is a little short on money these days, is sitting in the catbird seat, right where he loves to be. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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