Boxer Floyd Mayweather announced this week that he'll return to the ring in mid-September after a lengthy hiatus. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)


Floyd Mayweather is coming back, but for how long?

Mayweather continued his flirtation with boxing and its fans this week, announcing he'll fight World Boxing Council welterweight champion Victor Ortiz in mid-September.

That will represent nearly 16 months since his last fight, a significant layoff but much less than the 2 Ω years he took off from 2007 to 2009.

Some of the tea leaves would indicate that this could mean the unbeaten fighter has an eye on Manny Pacquiao in 2012 in what would be the most lucrative bout of all time.

As with many superfights, it would occur when both fighters are technically past their peak. Mayweather will be 35 in 2012, Pacquiao 33.

It didn't escape the notice of Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach that Ortiz is a southpaw like his charge, as well as an action fighter.

No one can compare to Pacman, but of all the welterweight candidates, Ortiz is the closest you'll get.

But don't get too excited about the possibility, this is a tune-up for much bigger things.

There are still several factors and obstacles in the way.

One is easy to dispense with.

Juan Manuel Marquez may have given Pacquiao fits in two previous fights south of 130 pounds, but in an over-140 bout in November he'll show plenty of heart but not threaten to win.

It's on the Mayweather ledger that things get cloudy.

The Ortiz bout is sandwiched between a misdemeanour battery trial and a more serious preliminary hearing for felonies in an alleged incident involving the mother of two of his children.

The latter case could involve prison time.

Also needing to be settled is a defamation suit that Mayweather is facing after strongly hinting that Pacquiao has used non-natural means to rampage up the weight classes (This has depressingly become de rigueur - previously unbeaten Andre Berto wondered on Twitter days ago just how Ortiz could be so physically strong in their recent fight).

There's also the possibility that Mayweather is back in the ring mostly for cash and not the purposes of enhancing his ring legacy in the shape of a career coda against Pacquiao.

According to Grand Rapids Press reporter David Mayo, who's followed Mayweather as long as anyone, the fighter is again facing a multi-million dollar tax bill from the I.R.S.

In addition, anyone following Mayweather on Twitter knows that he uses large sums of money for betting on basketball, among other things.

It will be good to see Mayweather back in the ring, and the matchup with Ortiz should provide some compelling moments.

But beyond that, it's foolhardy to say.

Add comment

Security code

Latest comments