Floyd “Money” Mayweather is keeping everyone on edge by not confirming who he will fight on Sept. 12.
Everything is in place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for that date – except for naming an opponent by the king of egos.
Haitian-American Andre Berto was announced by many media outlets as Mayweather’s opponent, but the contracts have not been sealed. He remains the favorite, but it might have been a ploy on Mayweather’s part.
How he can dictate terms to this extent is a wonder, but because he generates so many millions from pay-per-view income, gate and merchandise receipts and for Sin City’s overall revenues, he has carte blanche.
It looks like Mayweather’s fight will be on Showtime PPV, not free on CBS after all. The Money Man announced a couple of months back that his farewell bout would be free as a thank you to his legions of followers, perhaps forgetting that he has a $200 million six-fight deal with Showtime and this is the sixth. Before that, the biggest fight this month is Shane Mosley in a rematch with the wild and unpredictable Ricardo Mayorga at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, on Aug. 29. Both are way past their prime, but Mayorga is always entertaining. He even openly smokes cigarettes and eats junk food at the weigh-in to unnerve his opponents. Mosley won by stoppage in the last second of their 12-round fight seven years ago.
The fact that American Mosley is 44 next month and Mayorga is 42 in October doesn’t diminish the value of this bout because the Nicaraguan veteran, aka “El Matador” fights like a bull, charging into opponents with no thought of the finer points of the noble art. Head, elbows, knees … he has used them all at some point to supplement his fists.
Adonis Stevenson, the WBC light heavyweight champion, defends his belt against Tommy Karpency at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto on Sept. 11. Stevenson is one of the sport’s most destructive punchers and this is seen as a tick-over contest for the Canadian against an American who is really just a club fighter.
Deontay Wilder’s next contest is scheduled for Sept. 26, but no opponent has been found yet. The WBC heavyweight champion is another knockout specialist. All but one of his 34 bouts have concluded early. Wilder has yet to find someone brave enough to step in with him.
After that, Gennady Golovkin faces David Lemieux at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Oct. 17.
Golovkin is the most formidable boxer out there. He has stopped 30 opponents in winning all 33 bouts and has never looked remotely in trouble in any contest. The Kazakhstan puncher faces a powerful, but limited fighter, in Canadian Lemieux, who is 34-2 with 31 knockouts.
Golovkin keeps promising to take on the elite fighters and biggest names in his division or at a heavier weight, but nobody of note really wants to risk it with him.
Possibly the best action of the year will be the Miguel Cotto confrontation with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Nov. 21.
This is the sort of pairing boxing purists savor. Both are celebrated multi-titled world champs with huge followings from their respective countries.
Cotto is 34 and appeared on the slide after comprehensive defeats by Mayweather, Antonio Margarito, Austin Trout and Manny Pacquiao. But the legendary Puerto Rican has redeemed himself with spectacular stoppage wins against Sergio Martinez and Daniel Geale.
Alvarez, a 25-year-old Mexican whose only loss is to Mayweather, will start as a favorite mainly because he is younger. But Cotto has found fresh energy in the twilight of his career under new trainer Freddie Roach.
It is a pretty even contest, one that could go down as an all-time great.
Arthur Abraham, the WBO super middleweight champion, may before the end of the year be facing the remarkable Bernard Hopkins, the 50-year-old warhorse. Hopkins promised this would be his last year in the ring, but he has been saying that for a decade.