Floyd “Money” Mayweather has returned to the sport to recapture what was once his, the status as the number one pound for pound fighter in the world.
In hopes of regaining that ranking, Mayweather wasted no time on that hope s when he signed on to face who many consider the number two pound for pound fighter in the world, Juan Manuel Marquez.
The two will meet July 18 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where tickets are scheduled to go on sale Friday. They'll fight at a catch-weight of about 143 pounds, eight more than Marquez has ever fought and the lightest that Mayweather has been since 2005.
After two days of media activities in Los Angeles, today was the first of two days worth of appearances in the Big Apple that is on tap, which included today’s press conference at the tallest building in New York: The Empire State Building.
Mayweather, who is the King Kong of boxing, stood with Marquez on the 80th floor of the world's most renowned skyscraper to discuss their mega-fight.
“"I'm expecting the best Floyd Mayweather ever," Marquez said Tuesday, at the news conference. "I'm putting in my mind that he never retired, so I'm expecting the best."
Marquez is coming off one of his most impressive wins of his career when he stopped Juan ”Baby Bull” Diaz in the ninth round in one of 2009’s best fights so far.
With the win, Marquez captured the WBO and WBA 135-pound titles to his resume in the process.
But Juan Diaz is no Floyd Mayweather and with the move up in weight against one of the best boxers of our time, Marquez knows this will not be a walk in the park.
He has done some hardcore training in the mountains of Central Mexico. He has been packing on muscle and doing a brutal regimen, which included 25 days of weight training. With this kind of training, Marquez feels he can pull the upset.
“I don’t like easy fights. This fight is very important for my life and career,” said Marquez. “I always prepare myself to win, he's not a machine, he's a human being, and human beings can be beat."
Floyd Mayweather already has been in the gym for a few months and claims he's at 147 pounds and pronounced himself fit after a run through Central Park in the morning.
“Training camp has been tremendous,” said Mayweather. “I am giving my blood, sweat, and tears training for this fight. You are going to see the best Money Mayweather to date on July 18.”
Mayweather will be making his return to the ring for the first time since December 2007, when he scored a spectacular 10-round knockout against Ricky Hatton, handing the British superstar his first professional loss.
He would try to expand his horizon after boxing by appearing on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars which introduced a new audience to the sport’s biggest star.
He would continue to expand his fan base by appearing at Wrestlemania XXIV when he faced the Big Show.
With his time off, Manny Pacquiao stepped in to the spotlight to capture the status of the number one pound for pound fighter in electrifying fashion.
While Mayweather took 10 rounds to knock out Hatton, the smaller Pacquiao only needed two. Mayweather went a full 12 rounds with Oscar De La Hoya while Manny made Oscar quit after eight rounds.
Now, whether Mayweather likes it or not, everyone considers Manny as the best.
"I respect him for what he does, I respect him in the fight game, but I've never been beat," Mayweather said of Pacquiao, who's lost three times, the last in 2005. "Nobody has the antidote for Floyd Mayweather."
A win by Floyd against Marquez would have those two settle it in the ring. Mayweather wasn’t shy to downplay the career of Pacquiao a little bit.
“No one ever talks about Manny’s two losses. When he fought Eric Morales, many people thought Morales was not the same fighter as he used to be,” Mayweather said. “Right after the win, Morales goes on to lose to Zahir Raheem?! Not only that, but I feel you could add another two losses to Pacquiao’s career because Marquez easily could have won both those fights and in my mind, he did.”
After his second loss to Pacquiao, Marquez has rebounded nicely with two straight knockout wins over Casamayor and Diaz. With those two excellent performances, it produced an opponent that intrigued Mayweather enough to return to the ring.
"Marquez is a warrior," he said, giving him his due. "He's a hell of a fighter. I don't have to come here and bad-mouth anybody."
Mayweather paused for a moment, then added: "They say to be the best, you got to beat the best. I think they got Marquez in the dark and somebody has to give him a shot. Why not me?"