Boxing nation, the wait is over.
You can finally breathe, secure in the knowledge that Floyd Mayweather, after months of dithering, has chosen his next victim, er, foe.
The 45-0 hitter, who turned 37 today, took to Twitter to announce that on May 3, he will be fighting Marcos Maidana.
That sound you heard was the Khan Armys' tears hitting the floor...
"I will be fighting Marcos Maidana May 3rd on Pay-per-View Showtime/CBS," the 'Money' man Tweeted at 7:54 PM ET. A site hasn't been announced. Brooklyn has been mentioned, though Las Vegas is Floyd's home base.
In a release, Mayweather said, "Marcos Maidana's last performance immediately brought him to my attention. He is an extremely skilled fighter who brings knockout danger to the ring. I think this is a great fight for me and he deserves the opportunity to see if he can do what 45 others have tried to do before him - beat me."
Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza checked in with TSS post-announcement. "Maidana is the best available fight," he said. "He's ferocious and determined, he has monster power and he never stops coming. He's the Argentinean Terminator."
When, I wondered, was the choice made that Maidana would be The One? "Awhile back, but it took time to get the contract signed," Espinoza said.
I asked about the site, and the boxing chief answered, "TBA," for the record.
Maidana is a strong banger, whose power and desire are his strongest traits. He brings a nice record, 35-3, with 32 KOs, to the party, and is getting the gig largely off his stellar win over Floyd Mayweather Lite aka Adrien Broner, on Dec. 14. The Argentine's WBA 147 pound crown will be up for garbs on May 3, against Floyd's WBC version.
Floyd, who will receive the Boxing Writer's Association of America's Fighter of the Year award at the forthcoming awards dinner, date and site TBA, was a lock to fight chinny Brit Amir Khan, many folks thought. That pairing was floated as a trial balloon back in October, in the (UK) Daily Mail. Writer Jeff Powell wrote that Money would meet Khan in Vegas, and that report was poo-poohed by suits, some of whom maybe deserve an I'm sorry from know-it-alls who assumed they were fibbing when they said Khan was not the guy.
Showtime contracted for six Floyd fights last year, and has four extravaganzas left to unfurl, and, some say, played their top foe card in September, when Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez did bangup business at the MGM Grand, and on PPV. But Floyd went to a higher level of renown last year, and, some argue, could fight Mike Woods and do 1.4 million PPV buys. So, even though the choice of Khan didn't blow away the social media crew, many others accepted that a Mayweather bout is a happening, and the B side is almost immaterial. The Khan vs. Floyd promotion seemed even more of a lock when Khan came in first, over Maidana, in a post Superbowl poll. But Floyd threw us all a curveball, as he teased out his choice, and then dissed Khan.
More from the release which went out at 8:07 PM ET: "A former WBA 140-pound world champion, Maidana's hard-charging, aggressive style has earned him knockouts in 82 percent of his wins. The remarkable ratio of knockouts ties the late Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo for the highest knockout percentage of any Mayweather opponent to date and is one of the highest of any current fighter at the world-class level."
"I am extremely happy to be facing Floyd Mayweather because it will give me the opportunity to show the world that I am the best welterweight in the division," said Maidana. "I just handed a great defensive fighter his first loss and I plan to do the same to Mayweather. I don't care whether he's the best and undefeated. I will bring some real Latino power to him on May 3rd."
"This is an extremely dangerous fight for Floyd as Marcos Maidana is a technical knock-out artist and continues to show us that he gets better with each fight," said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. "Maidana showed so much in his last performance, he's clearly at the top of his game and a great match-up for Floyd."
Mayweather has a knack for prolonging the "ecstasy" of anticipation in the minds of fight fans who want to get the word on who will be the next victim to believe they can do something different than the rest of the poor souls who couldn't fathom the skills and focus of the Michigan-born boxer until they stepped in with him. It left us fans feeling like the long suffering galpal, promised an engagement ring for year after year..
Maidana comes in off more of a surge than Khan; he has wins over Jesus Soto Karass, Angel Martinez, Josesito Lopez and then Broner (via UD12) in his last four. He can be and has been out-boxed, though. Andriy Kotelnik in 2009 did it, as did Khan (in 2010) and Devon Alexander (in Feb. 2012).
He will have, many will say, the proverbial punchers' chance come May 3. I am guessing Floyd outboxes him in a near shutout, same as he did with Robert Guerrero and Canelo Alvarez, three men who are not known for majestic footspeed and footwork, and out-of-nowhere explosivity.
The waiting game doesn't appeal to many folks used to more immediate gratification, but even those expressing animus toward the process, I'm guessing, haven't been able to ignore the mystery, even if they intended to do so.
Mayweather, who boasts 4.68 million Twitter followers, has been rather canny about milking the moment, which is other sports is a foregone conclusion, with the league office setting the schedule.
Readers, weigh in...you like this pick for Floyd's next? Weigh in, in our Forum.
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