By Rick Reeno
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has advised BoxingScene.com that a big announcement is coming shortly, regarding the disclosure of who Floyd Mayweather Jr. (43-0, 26KOs) will be fighting on May 4th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The opponent has been selected and the contracts are in the process of being finalized, says Schaefer.
"We are working on the contracts. We had conference calls with our lawyers yesterday and today. All parties who are participating [on May 4] have agreed, and now the attorneys are working on the contracts...drafts are circulating. We hope that we are able to announce something by the end of this week or early next week. The contracts are being finalized and obviously I don't want to go and announce something without signed contracts. An announcement is imminent," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
For my money, the frontrunner to face Mayweather is WBC interim-welterweight champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero (31-1-1, 18KOs). While Schaefer is unable to confirm the opponent right now, he indicates that one fighter who won't be facing Mayweather, at least on May 4th, is WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley. Over the last few days, rumors have circulated heavy in the industry that Bradley was a wild-card possibility to land the Mayweather fight.
"That is not correct. If that is what [Top Rank] are telling Timothy Bradley, then they are misleading Timothy. It was another one of those examples where yesterday [Top Rank CEO Bob Arum] was lying and today he is telling the truth. I wouldn't bank on it because that is not the truth. There have been zip, zero conversations related to that. We know that Top Rank likes to throw around Floyd Mayweather's name. They've done it for years with [Manny] Pacquiao. The fact is, Floyd is the biggest star and the biggest name in the sport and whenever you mention Floyd Mayweather's name it creates headlines and news. That's what they like to do and that's a pattern that they have and they should really not talk about Floyd Mayweather anymore," Schaefer said.
One likely possibility for May 4th is having Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (41-0-1, 30KOs) in the co-feature position on the show. But until the contracts are signed and sealed - Canelo's participation on the show is not solidified.
"There is a very good likelihood that will happen, but again I say likelihood because until I have everything signed I don't want to confirm anything. Mayweather is a pound for pound star, he's the best boxer in the sport and he's the face of the sport. And with Canelo you have an emerging superstar and he can certainly carry his own events. So putting both of those guys, the two biggest names in the sport today, on the same card - its not exactly that easy," Schaefer said.
"When we had [Canelo and Mayweather on the same show in the past] it was different, but now it is not an easy thing. That's what fight fans and general sports fans would like to see, those two big names on the same card. And that's what I've been working on and that's why it's taking time, because it's a very difficult and complex deal structure. I don't want to disappoint people if in the end it doesn't happen, but my goal is to be able to deliver that to the fans."
And regarding Manny Pacquiao's chances to fight Mayweather in the future. The Filipino superstar had a dark 2012 - losing a twelve round decision to Bradley in June and then getting knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round of their December showdown. While Schaefer doesn't completely rule out a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, there is no denying the match has lost a lot of luster and momentum over the years.
"I don't think that's a fight that anybody would want to see now. There are a lot of other fights out there, which are very attractive for Floyd and frankly more attractive than a Pacquiao fight. And who knows that Pacquiao is going to do [in the future]," Schaefer said.