FLOYD MAYWEATHER RETURNS TO THE SWEET SCIENCE
Las Vegas, NV (May 2, 2009) - Sixteen months after one of the greatest fighters ever to grace the sport of boxing had his last fight and subsequently announced his retirement, the former six-time world champion and 2007 Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year, Floyd "Money" Mayweather announced his return to the sweet science at a press conference today in Las Vegas.
"When I made my decision to retire last year, I felt like it was time for me to go as I had been boxing my whole life and felt like I had done all that I could do," said Mayweather, whose success and popularity in and out of the ring made him a household name and one of the sport's biggest attractions. "But after I had time to rest, enjoy life with my family and friends, I started to miss the competition and my fans. I am ready to return to boxing and give people another dose of the Mayweather experience."
Much to the surprise of the sports world, Mayweather left the ring at the top of his game, having amassed an undefeated professional record of 39-0, 25 KOs and championships in five weight divisions. The then-recognized best pound-for-pound fighter in the world was coming off of back-to-back 2007 mega-performances with his historic May 5 victory over Oscar de la Hoya - in the highest grossing pay-per-view event in all of sports history - followed by his stellar December 8 tenth round knockout over the previously undefeated Ricky Hatton. These fights catapulted Mayweather near the top of the all-time money-earning list in the sport.
That same year, Mayweather's star-power and crossover appeal were reaching new heights. His appearances on ABC's Dancing With The Stars and his main event performance in the WWE's WrestleMania XXIV helped to elevate his worldwide recognition to even higher levels. Proof of Mayweather's staying power came with his recent appearance in an AT&T High-Speed Internet commercial that has been showing nationally, including multiple airings during CBS's coverage of this year's Masters Golf Tournament, despite him having been a retired athlete.
More importantly, while Mayweather stepped away from the sport, the world's top fighters continued to ask to fight him and fans everywhere were asking for him to come back to the ring.
"I retired from the sport, but it was as if I had never made an announcement," said Mayweather. "Fighters were constantly calling me out and fans would stop me all the time and ask me to make a return. It feels good to be back and trust me, I will deliver the same electrifying performances I always have throughout my career."
Mayweather makes his return against the dangerous and highly-touted five-time world champion in three weight divisions Juan Manuel Marquez, who is rated among the top fighters in the world today and considered to be a very aggressive selection by Mayweather for his first challenge after his long layoff. The bout will take place on Saturday, July 18 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be broadcast live on HBO pay-per-view
"I am not wasting any time with a tune-up fight," said Mayweather. "I'm going straight to the top. Marquez called me out immediately after his victory over Juan Diaz in February and now he gets his wish. What he is going to find out is that you should be very careful what you wish for."
Mayweather continued, "the rest of those fighters who called me out can get in line too because they are going to get their chance...one at a time and slowly but surely. It's going to be a great return and a wonderful 'experience.' Don't blink - I'M BACK!"
MAYWEATHER vs. MARQUEZ:
"NUMBER ONE/NUMERO UNO"
SET FOR JULY 18 AT MGM GRAND IN LAS VEGAS
AND LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW
LAS VEGAS (May 2, 2009) - The boxing world received two gifts this week, not only the announcement that six-time world champion in five weight divisions Floyd "Money" Mayweather has returned to the sport, but also that he was immediately putting his undefeated record on the line when he faces the dangerous and highly touted five-time world champion in three weight divisions Juan Manuel "Dinamita" Marquez in MAYWEATHER vs. MARQUEZ "Number One/Numero Uno" on Saturday, July 18 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada which will be broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9pm ET / 6pm PT. Mayweather's return and the fight were announced today at a press conference at MGM Grand.
"That's right. I'm back and you can all get ready for another chapter of the Mayweather experience!" said Mayweather. "I told my CEO Leonard Ellerbe from the start that I wanted to come back fighting the best fighters out there and Juan Manuel Marquez is one of the best in boxing today."
"To be considered the best in the world, you have to fight the best, and I have made it clear even when Mayweather was away from the sport that he was the only man I really wanted to fight," said Marquez. "I'm happy that he's come out of retirement and accepted my challenge. Unfortunately for him, he might be sorry he came back at all."
The summer showdown between Mayweather (39-0, 25 KO's) and Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KO's) will be promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions in association with Marquez Promotions.
"Mayweather Promotions is proud to announce the return of Floyd Mayweather after a much needed rest," said Ellerbe. "But he is coming back with a vengeance and clearly Marquez is a significant challenge for his return. It is going to be an extremely competitive and exciting fight."
"Floyd Mayweather is back and Juan Manuel Marquez is ready to fight," said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer. "Mayweather is clearly making a statement by accepting this challenge to fight the dangerous Marquez in his first fight back. Having seen Floyd perform live in his two previous fights, I know a big challenge brings out the best him. Boxing is in for a great night on July 18th."
"Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Marquez has the potential to be one of boxing's all-time great fights," said Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "Not only are they two boxers destined for the Hall of Fame and two of the greatest technicians of this era, but they also both have a warrior's spirit that comes out when they get tested. I know that they'll push each other to the limit when they step into the ring July 18th."
"MGM Grand is thrilled to host Floyd Mayweather's return to the ring and welcome back the great Juan Manuel Marquez," said Richard Sturm, President of Sports and Entertainment for MGM MIRAGE. "We anticipate this to be one of the hottest fights of the year and look forward to the exciting night of boxing these two champions will deliver to the MGM Grand Garden Arena."
"Floyd Mayweather is a special athlete and it's heartening to see him return in such a big fight against an accomplished opponent in Juan Manuel Marquez," said Ross Greenburg, President of HBO Sports. "Boxing fans will be intrigued by this mid-summer match-up."
For these two future Hall of Famers, all that really matters is what happens when the bell rings on Saturday, July 18 and with Mayweather's return to the ring in a quest to reclaim his pound-for-pound title by taking on Marquez, a man looking to add once again to his amazing legacy, this is a true mega-fight which will determine who is the premier boxer of this era.