By Chris Robinson
As initially reported by ESPN.com, it looks as though Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be making his return to the ring on May 5th of next year inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. While there is nothing official as of yet, it does seem that Mayweather and his team are interested in landing a fight against WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao.
It’s a scenario that has been played out before, dating back nearly two years ago, as sides to both fighters twice failed to finalize the possible super fight. With Pacquiao soon to be 33 years old and Mayweather set to turn 35 in February, this very well could be the last chance for the posturing to end and the bout to become a reality.
Mayweather's Uncle and trainer Roger was spotted today at the Mayweather Boxing Club and after working the mitts with a quartet of fighters, he shared his thoughts on his nephew’s return. Asked if he was surprised to hear an announcement of Floyd’s next fight so soon following his September 17th knockout over Victor Ortiz, Roger denied as much.
“No. Floyd returned because Floyd’s been laid off a long time,” said Roger of Floyd, who has fought three times since December of 2007. “He’s been laid off seventeen months one time and he’d been laid off another twelve months one time, or something like that. At this age he wants to be more active so that’s why he’s probably returning. He’s returning before he’s too old to whip Pacquiao’s ass.”
Despite having obvious admiration for one another, Roger and Floyd go long stretches without speaking, with one of the reasons being because the younger Mayweather seems to always be traveling from one city to the next. Roger himself is much more reserved as very rarely leave his bases in Las Vegas but understands why Junior has the urge to get up and go.
“I mean, what are you going to do?” Roger asked. “If you make that kind of money you have to travel. You have to get out and get away from boxing and focus your mind on something else other than the boxing world. But Floyd knows what he’s got to do and when he comes back he’s going to put the work in.”
There had been whispers of negotiations taking place between Mayweather and Sergio Martinez, the lineal middleweight champion of the world. The 37-year old Argentinean has been on a grand run late into his career but Roger wasn’t paying him much attention in case a backup plan was in order if the Pacquiao fight were to fall through.
“Floyd aint got to worry about that mother******,” Roger said of Martinez. “Floyd already won a junior middleweight title. Floyd needs to focus on what he needs to do. He needs to focus on the fight that he has coming and he needs to focus on Pacquiao. He needs to focus on Pacquiao and get ready for Pacquiao.”
Meanwhile, Pacquiao will be defending his title next Saturday against Juan Manuel Marquez, also at the MGM Grand. Pacquiao battled Marquez to a split-draw in May of 2004 and nipped him via split-decision nearly four years later in March of 2008 and is considered a huge favorite heading in.
Roger’s prediction for Pacquiao-Marquez III?
“It will be a hard fight because they’ve fought two hard fights twice. I don’t think it’s going to be any different than when they fought the first two times. I think those guys are just made for one another and that will make the fight that much harder because Pacquiao got to prove to him that he beat him the first two times. Those fights were very close, so now we’ve got to see what he can do,” stated Roger.
Roger went on to add that he could see Floyd fighting four or five more times and that his legacy would be intact even if he retired tomorrow. But whether he is fighting or not, Roger sees Floyd staying close to boxing regardless.
“I think that he’ll be around the gym because he likes the gym. He likes being around people and he’ll be back in the gym. Even if he aint fighting he’ll probably be training or messing with little kids. He’ll be in boxing anyways whether he’s fighting or not.”
[Reader's note: Visit the following slideshows for images from the boxing world... The Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez Timeline / Behind the scenes at the Mayweather-Ortiz 'Star Power' event ]
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected]