Floyd Mayweather Jr. announces he'll fight Victor Ortiz Sept. 17
Announcing on Twitter Tuesday morning that, "My fans have been waiting long enough," Floyd Mayweather Jr. said he will return to the ring for the first time since May 2010 to fight Oxnard's world welterweight champion Victor Ortiz Sept. 17, most likely at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mayweather, 34, has been in virtual hiding and in trouble since dominating Shane Mosley in his last bout, engaging in a expletive-filled video rant bashing Manny Pacquiao and getting charged in three separate criminal cases for domestic violence and attacking security guards inside his lavish Las Vegas community.
Nate Jones, a Mayweather assistant trainer, told The Times recently that he believed Mayweather would return to the ring against Ortiz as a prelude to a final performance against Pacquiao, likely sometime in 2012.
An action fighter and a southpaw, Ortiz, 24, will serve as a serious challenge to Mayweather, who has worn out the older Mosley and far lighter Juan Manuel Marquez in his most recent bouts. Those contests featured Mayweather at his defensive peak, and his punching speed shined especially in the Mosley victory.
Ortiz "did about four back flips," when Mayweather tweeted his announcement one of Ortiz's friends who was unauthorized to publicly discuss the bout told The Times. An official news release on the match-up is expected to be distributed later Tuesday morning.
For Mayweather, returning to fighting comes as his legal cases are on hold, with the next hearing on his felony domestic violence case scheduled for Oct. 20. The cases involving the guards are misdemeanor charges.
There were whispers during the last week that Mayweather was poised to announce the fight, but his extended time as a recluse and legal cloud stopped those closest to him from promising he would follow through with fight plans.
“It’s obvious the return of Floyd Mayweather is very important to the sport of boxing,” HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg said last week. “A superstar of that magnitude not in the ring hurts, and the entire boxing community is looking forward to the time Floyd steps up and through those ropes again.
“He’s too charismatic, too special of an athlete. Love him or hate him, you have to watch him.”
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Floyd Mayweather Jr. in action against Shane Mosley on May 1, 2010. Credit: Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images