By Jake Donovan
It didn’t take long for news to circulate of Floyd Mayweather Jr. being granted a five month delay on a prison term that was set to begin Friday.
The unbeaten pound-for-pound king was expected to turn himself in to Clark County authorities by no later than 10:45AM local (Las Vegas) time on Friday, but instead had his lawyers plead his case for an extension in order to fulfill a commitment to fight in Las Vegas on May 5.
In a shocking twist, the judge granted the request, though pointing out that the terms will change dramatically should Mayweather miss even one day of counseling, fight or no fight.
Part of the request presented by his legal team centered around the amount of revenue he is able to generate for the Las Vegas area whenever he chooses to step into the ring. Mayweather ended a 21-month hiatus last September in facing and knocking out Victor Ortiz in the fourth round of their welterweight fight, for which the six-time champion in five weight classes earned $20 million.
The question - as far as it relates to boxing – is who that mystery opponent will be on Cinco de Mayo. The answer that everyone wants to hear has been the same as the opponent of choice for more than two years – longtime pound-for-pound rival Manny Pacquiao.
Rumors are already swirling that the Pacquiao camp – chief among them Hall-of-Fame promoter Bob Arum – have already begun making excuses of not being able to fight until June, and that Mayweather isn’t their targeted opponent.
For the moment, they remain just that – rumors.
“I have no idea about that right now,” stated Arum to BoxingScene.com. “I still have to talk to Manny. I was due to talk to him next week. That hasn’t changed.”
Arum references his previously discussed plans to fly to the Philippines in mid-January for a number of reasons. Chief among them, to check on progress on the healing of cuts suffered in last November’s tougher-than-expected majority decision win in his third showdown with longtime in-ring rival Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao is due to be examined to determine when he will be medically cleared to return to the ring.
Preliminary discussions had the record-breaking Filipino southpaw rumored to fight on June 7, with a quartet of options that didn’t include Mayweather on the premise of his beginning a 90-day prison sentence on Friday.
Among the fighters under consideration are: Tim Bradley and Lamont Peterson, both of whom serve as titlists in the 140 lb. division, but would move up to 147 for such a fight; a potential fourth fight with Marquez; or a rematch with 154 lb. titlist Miguel Cotto, with such a fight taking place somewhere in the middle.
Obviously, that would change should the right offer come along to finally get together the sport’s two biggest stars in what figures to be the most lucrative event in boxing history.
Until next week’s meeting and with medical reports in hand, however, it all remains speculation.
“Right now, we have no idea if he can go in May,” Arum explained. “He’s supposed to have his cut examined. I’m going over to speak with him regarding his future, and we can go from there.”
As for Mayweather’s sentence being delayed by five months?
“I have no reaction whatsoever,” Arum emphatically stated. “The judge decided what was decided today and I really have no reaction to that.”
Mayweather’s team struck a deal on Dec. 21 in exchange for a reduced sentence stemming from domestic abuse charges. Had he been found guilty on all charges during trial, Mayweather would’ve faced up to 34 years in prison.
The ruling on Friday allows Mayweather to keep a reserved date he had with the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 5. Regardless of whether he faces Pacquiao, another opponent or simply doesn’t get the chance to fight at all, he will be expected to begin his sentence on June 1.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]