viernes, 20 de marzo de 2009
by Brian VanOchten | The Grand Rapids Press
As the boxing world awaits a puff of white smoke to appear from high above the Las Vegas mansion of retired pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather, there is endless speculation surrounding his return to the ring.
Is he training again?
The Internet has been plastered with unconfirmed reports the undefeated Mayweather is sparring again in preparation for an upcoming fight.
"There's no truth to that," Leonard Ellerbe, the fighter's business manager, told The Press last week. "If and when Floyd Mayweather ever decides to return to boxing, I'll be the first to know or one of the first to know."
If he knows something, he's not prepared to tell.
Yet, that's not stopping everyone else from quoting anonymous sources who insist Mayweather will emerge from retirement to participate in a possible July 11 tune-up fight, as ESPN.com is reporting, that might be the prelude to a pay-per-view megafight in late fall, as HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg suggested in comments posted on BoxingScene.com earlier this month.
"He is coming back," according to an unnamed source quoted by ESPN.com's Dan Rafael. "I've been around him. He's ready to dance again very soon."
A tune-up fight for Mayweather makes sense.
He'll need a non-threatening bout to help shake off the effects of a 16-month absence from the ring. He left the sport at the absolute height of his powers after appearing on ABC's hit series "Dancing with the Stars" while training for a matchup against British brawler Ricky Hatton, which he handled with ease.
If all went well, he'd be set up for a megafight.
"If that little guy from Grand Rapids/Las Vegas comes back, I think he could create some megafights, don't you?" Greenburg told BoxingScene.com. "I think he will be the anchor for something like that, but we have to hear from him. So, we'll see.
"The winner of the Pacquiao-Hatton fight will be positioned for a megafight in November," he added.
Manny Pacquiao, regarded as the current No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, meets Hatton in the ring May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The winner of that slugfest goes to the front of the line for a shot at Mayweather.
At least that's what everyone else is speculating.
"There's a bunch of good fights out there for Floyd," Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told The Press. "The question is: When will Floyd come back?
"In the end, it is totally up to Floyd. Is a fight between Floyd and "Sugar" Shane Mosley going to be a mega superfight? Yes. Is a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez going to be a superfight? Absolutely. Is a fight between the winner of Hatton-Pacquiao and Floyd a superfight? Absolutely," he said. "So, you know what you have.
"Unless he comes out and says, 'Hey, I'm back,' it's just wishing for him to come back."
It seems everyone is predicting Mayweather's return.
Even his estranged father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., who is training Hatton again, told media members on a conference call earlier this month to promote Pacquiao-Hatton that his son is preparing to climb back into the ring.
"Of course, there is no question about it. He's trying to get a fight right now as we speak," Mayweather Sr. insisted. "He's gonna fight again."
It all seems plausible enough.
Upon his return, Mayweather, who turned 32 on Feb. 24, will immediately command the spotlight no matter which opponents he chooses to fight.
"You'd have the biggest fights in the sport," Schaefer said.
He has become a larger-than-life sports and entertainment figure since settling into retirement, further pumping up his box-office appeal as a participant in WrestleMania XXIV and continued efforts as a hip-hop record producer.
That's why a return would send tremors through the sport.
"I can't comment on anyone else's quotes," Ellerbe said. "Floyd does what he does. He always goes to the gym and keeps himself in shape (from a fitness standpoint)."
Hmm. I guess that's not much of a confirmation.
In the meantime, while the fires keep smoldering in anticipation of Mayweather's comeback, everyone is left to ponder how much longer before the puff of white smoke emerges. No doubt there are megafights on the horizon for him.
If and until he gives his blessing, it's just speculation.
E-mail Brian VanOchten: firstname.lastname@example.org