Friday, June 26, 2009 | 12:02 p.m.
- Mayweather Jr. with injured cartilage, can't train (6-15-09)
- Mayweather Jr. fight postponed (6-14-09)
- Mayweather Jr. proud to be an American (6-12-09)
- Marquez prepared for ‘best Mayweather ever’ (5-19-09)
- Mayweather-Pacquiao seems inevitable (5-3-09)
- Mayweather boasts that boxing’s best is back (5-2-09)
- Boxing/UFC/MMA coverage
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been cleared by doctors to proceed with his comeback fight against Juan Manuel Marquez that was originally scheduled for July 18.
The damaged cartilage in his ribs that forced Mayweather to postpone the fight shouldn’t give an advantage to his opponent on the rescheduled date of Sept. 19 at the MGM Grand.
But the date itself might present a problem.
Although it’s nothing that scares the confident former pound-for-pound king, the announcement means that Marquez, a wildly popular fighter in his native Mexico, will fight on Mexican Independence Day weekend.
“I am happy that Mayweather has been cleared to fight and we can get down to business,” Marquez said in a released statement. “This weekend is not just an important weekend for boxing, but even more so for all of the Mexican and Mexican-American people I will be fighting for.
“[They] will have a great reason to celebrate my win over Mayweather, which will be for all of the people and for the entire country of Mexico that night.”
Mayweather, who unveiled an American flag mural on the front of his Las Vegas Gym last month, said he didn't mind rescheduling the fight on the Mexican holiday.
“Trust me, it is a great weekend for boxing and all of my fans, of which there are many Mexicans too,” he said. “They can certainly hold on to their hats and sombreros when I get back in the ring and show them what they have been missing these past 18 months.”
The announcement comes less than two weeks after Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions, the company promoting Mayweather, said that his injury was preventing him from training.
Despite that news, Schaefer hinted that Mayweather had said he could be ready as early as September and was waiting for approval from his doctors.
The 12-round bout is scheduled at a catch-weight of 143 pounds. The weight is eight pounds heavier than Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KO) has ever fought and lightest weight for Mayweather (39-0, 25 KO) since 2005.
Mayweather, the former five-division champ, hasn’t fought since posting a win by knockout over Ricky Hatton in December 2007. He was expected to fight a rematch with Oscar De La Hoya last year, but announced his abrupt retirement last June.
It’s possible that Mayweather could be headed for a meeting with the current pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
Mayweather announced his comeback at an afternoon press conference the same day Pacquiao fought, and defeated, Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand on May 2. At that time, Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach said they wouldn’t wait around for Mayweather.
“I think he’s scared of Manny,” Roach said following that fight. “He chose Marquez and we’re not just going to wait around, I like to keep Manny busy. If Miguel Cotto wants to come down a few pounds we can make that happen.”
Roach apparently wasn’t kidding. Just this month it was announced that Pacquiao will most likley fight Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand.
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].