LAS VEGAS — Although pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. said last week that he planned to give a rematch to Marcos Maidana, the unified welterweight champion made it official on Thursday with an announcement over social media.
Mayweather-Maidana II — dubbed Mayhem — will go down Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and headline a Showtime PPV card, the fourth bout of Mayweather’s six-fight deal with Showtime/CBS.
Although the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, has pressed hard to land a Mayweather fight, he is comfortable fighting in his hometown and will lace ’em up at the MGM Grand for the 10th consecutive time.
Mayweather is hoping to erase any doubt about what happened on May 3 when he faced Maidana for the first time and won a majority decision — 117-111, 116-112 and 114-114 — to unify 147-pound world titles in a very tough fight, one of the most competitive and entertaining of his career.
Marcos Maidana is a tough customer and he gave me a fight that had me work for the victory, Mayweather said in a news release. His style is difficult at best, but with experience comes a way and will to win. I’m not one to give second chances in the ring, but I want to give the fans what they want to see. I will be as prepared as I always am when I step in the ring on Sept. 13. I only see the outcome one way and that’s another successful night for me and my team.
Although most thought Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs), 37, did enough to win, Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs), 30, of Argentina, disputed the decision and had given Mayweather his most difficult fight in years.
The rematch with Mayweather is the only fight that really motivates me, Maidana said in the release. I feel I earned it in the ring and Floyd owed it to me. I’ve already proved that I don’t care if the man I have in front of me is the best pound-for-pound champion. I was close to ending his reign last time. On Sept. 13 he will not get away undefeated.
Mayweather also probably picked Maidana because he is essentially out of established opponents to face since a showdown with fellow champion Manny Pacquiao — the one fight the public has demanded for years — is not even up for discussion given their different promotional and network alliances. And that’s even before an argument over the financial split, drug testing and numerous other issues.
It was such a great fight in May and I know everywhere I’ve been going the fans have been saying that and that Floyd should fight him in a rematch, Mayweather Promotions chief executive Leonard Ellerbe told ESPN.com. So why not? Maidana thought he won the fight. Floyd knows he won the fight. It was a tremendous fight.
Ellerbe said they considered other potential opponents, but he declined to name names.
I don’t want to get into the names. It comes down to that the first fight was a great fight and this is a fight that fans wanted to see again, Ellerbe said.
The fight will be promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, which has promoted all of Mayweather’s fights since 2007. The reason why that is noteworthy is because last month, in the wake of the resignation of Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer, who is very close to Mayweather, Ellerbe told ESPN.com that they would no longer work with Golden Boy.
Absolutely not, Ellerbe said when asked if they would work with Golden Boy minus Schaefer.
Mayweather himself said before the first fight with Maidana — when Schaefer’s future at the company was in question — that the only reason he worked with Golden Boy was because of Schaefer. Mayweather does not have a good relationship with Golden Boy president and co-founder Oscar De La Hoya, who has taken the reigns of the day-to-day business of the company.
But the decision to remain with Golden Boy came down to business. Mayweather Promotions is not licensed in Nevada, and although it could have hired somebody else, Golden Boy is one of the biggest promotional companies in the world, has loads of experience with Mayweather events, the MGM and the sponsors, not to mention that Maidana is promoted by Golden Boy.
Following Thursday’s final news conference for Saturday night’s Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara fight at the MGM Grand, De La Hoya, who is promoting the Showtime PPV card, addressed the Mayweather situation.
There’s no reason for Floyd and I not to be working together, he said. 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. I’m sure he could have chosen to use somebody else (as his promoter).
The fact that he understood and the fact that he gave us the opportunity — it’s a business, and behind his decision was common sense. We bring something to the table that is very valuable. We know how to promote fights.
When asked why the change of heart, Ellerbe said: My job is to maximize all the revenues, benefits and opportunities for Floyd Mayweather. That is a very strict business principle. At the end of the day, I have a lot of damn work to do. Any time that you’re running the business and you’re putting on major, major events and generating this kind of revenue, it’s by any means necessary.
Added De La Hoya: Getting Mayweather with Golden Boy Promotions is a powerhouse. We will do whatever we can and as much as we can to make this event once again a success. But most importantly, I have to take my hat off to Floyd Mayweather for picking once again Maidana, for giving us the rematch. He didn’t have to. It was a tough fight. It really was.
Physically, it was a very difficult fight. So he didn’t have to give Maidana the rematch, but he did. You have give credit and respect where it’s due.
A five-city tour to promote the fight — with all stops open and free to the public — kicks off on Monday with news conferences in New York in the afternoon followed by an evening one in Washington, D.C. They will be in Chicago on Tuesday afternoon, San Antonio on Tuesday evening and Los Angeles on Thursday.
The day before the May 3 fight a controversy arose over the kind of gloves Maidana would wear. Mayweather objected to a pair and the Nevada State Athletic commission agreed, but even when the commission signed off on a replacement pair of gloves — a model considered better for punchers, which is what Maidana is — Mayweather still objected.
Ultimately, they made a side deal engineered by Al Haymon, the adviser for both Mayweather and Maidana, under which Maidana was paid an additional $1.5 million to switch to the kind of gloves Mayweather approved.
Ellerbe declined to discuss what the contracts for the rematch say as it relates to the gloves but added, We have a document and if Maidana wants to talk about it, fine. They won’t be using no horse hair gloves, but I don’t want to get into specifics.