The Associated Press
Saturday, May 2, 2009 | 2:30 p.m.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. says he hasn’t missed a beat.
Sixteen months after retiring on the top of the boxing world as the undefeated pound-for-pound champ, the Las Vegas resident announced his return to the ring today at a packed press conference at the Hollywood Theatre inside the MGM Grand, site of tonight’s megafight between Manny Pacquaio and Ricky Hatton.
"I left on top, I came back on top," said an excited Mayweather, who is slated to fight against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez on July 18 at the MGM Grand.
"Nobody has taken my throne, so how am I not the king if nobody has taken my throne? You've got all these fighters out here who are claiming that they're the best. I'm coming back to fight and reclaim what's mine."
Speculation has surrounded Mayweather's ranks recently, as the 32-year-old has been uncharacteristically private in the months leading up to his comeback announcement.
Among the rumors were that Mayweather (39-0, 25 KO) had been in talks with promoter Don King, had trouble in negotiations with Marquez about what weight the fight would take place at and had gone broke after not paying taxes.
Mayweather responded on all fronts Saturday, saying he had never considered leaving his advisor Leonard Ellerbe or his manager Al Haymon, wasn't concerned about fighting Marquez at a low weight and, most importantly, was doing just fine financially.
According to Mayweather, he turned down a multimillion-dollar offer last December to meet Oscar De La Hoya in a rematch. He also refused to come out or retirement last year to face Shane Mosley.
"Okay, well, let me see," Mayweather said, when asked about the financial rumors. "If that was the case I would have taken one of those other deals. I've got three cars paid for. I've got the mansion paid for, house costs $15 million paid for, another house costs $5 million paid for, mother's house paid for. The kids got college funds. I'm fine, believe me. When I tell you I'm okay, I'm okay."
It was also speculated that Mayweather may take on an easier opponent in his first bout since handing Hatton is only career loss in December of 2007. That certainly wasn't true either.
The six-time world champion who has claimed titles in five weight divisions should receive quite a challenge from Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KO), who some consider to have beaten the current pound-for-pound champion, Manny Pacquiao, twice. The two fought to a 12-round draw in Las Vegas in 2004 before Pacquiao earned a disputed split decision in their second meeting in March of last year.
"This is an even fight," said De La Hoya, who promotes Marquez. "The opportunity is perfect right now, Floyd has been off for a year—two years, Juan Manuel has been moving up in weight classes and knocking these guys out.
“So this fight is going to be done at 143, he doesn't have to go up much. Floyd is going to have come down, just like I had to with (a December loss) to Pacquiao. A lot of it is going into the hands of Marquez."
As should be expected, Mayweather didn't appear concerned regarding his time away from the ring, even opening his comments at the press conference by pointing out the fact that he hadn't come dressed in a three-piece suit and had just made his way over from a gentleman’s club.
After retiring on the basis that he had nothing left to prove in the sport, Mayweather said he felt an obligation to boxing fans to bring back their king.
"I've been off for a couple years man," Mayweather said. "And every time you pick up a magazine, I'm still the biggest draw. You know, when people ask about pound-for-pound, you've got two different categories. You've got the pound-for-pound list and you've got the Mayweather list.
“The pound-for-pound list you rate fighters, I don't even get rated. I'm that good."
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or firstname.lastname@example.org.