Boxing’s pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather used last weekend’s BET Awards in Los Angeles to announce that he would be meeting Marcos Maidana in a welterweight rematch this coming September, but that wasn’t the only news he made.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the second part of his statement has gotten lost in the shuffle.
Mayweather, per Martin Domin of the Daily Mail, had this to say:
“September 13, back to business, Marcos Maidana vs. Floyd Mayweather part two.”
That’s the part that has gotten all the headlines, but he also added this:
“And then in May, I'm fighting in May, I'm going to have a big surprise for y'all.”
Understandably, most of the attention has been paid to his announcement of a rematch with Maidana. The two welterweights fought a spirited contest this past May.
Mayweather emerged from a rough, tough bout with a deserved majority-decision win, but he had to work hard for it, a rarity in his professional career.
Despite previously announcing he wouldn’t be doing business with Golden Boy Promotions for his next fight—in the wake of Richard Schaefer’s departure—Mayweather apparently has either had a change of heart or was forced to make a business decision, grinning and bearing it despite his personal feelings.
Mayweather Promotions, per Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News, was granted a promotional license by the New York State Athletic Commission on Thursday, leading to some conjecture that the Mayweather vs. Maidana rematch could wind up at the Barclays Center.
If that happens, all the air in the room and attention will be sucked up by that development.
With all this floating around, less attention has been paid to Mayweather’s vague promise of something big in the first half of next year.
So what could that mean?
Immediate speculation—or wishful thinking—will turn to the potential for a superfight between Mayweather and longtime rival—everywhere but inside the ring—Manny Pacquiao.
A hypothetical Mayweather vs. Pacquiao match has been discussed, debated and argued about for the better part of five years now, and with both men occupying the throne befitting boxing’s best fighter during that stretch, it’s inexplicable that the fight hasn’t come off yet.
And both men are to blame for that outcome.
It’s easy to throw out unsubstantiated claims that one or the other man ducked the other, and you can slice and divvy up the blame in any share you choose, but nobody has clean hands.
Kevin Iole reported in 2012 that the sides very nearly came together on an agreement in 2009 for a fight that would have been held the following March.
Golden Boy Promotions, on behalf of Mayweather, sent a contract proposal to Top Rank that offered a 50-50 financial split and made accommodations for both fighters on issues ranging from ring-walk order, announcement order and even minute details like who would step on the scales first at the weigh-in.
Pacquiao refused the offer, not wanting to concede to the strict drug testing required under the contract. He has since acceded to this demand, but Mayweather’s most recent financial terms, which if you put yourself in the Filipino’s position have to seem a tad unreasonable given the lack of pay-per-view revenue, have remained an obstacle.
Mayweather has also gone on record, several times, insisting he will never do business with Pacquiao (and former Mayweather) promoter Top Rank, and more specifically with Bob Arum, who runs the company.
Mayweather and Arum had an acrimonious split some years back, and Pacquiao, who remains one of the most loyal fighters in the business, recently re-upped with Arum on a promotional contract that will extend through 2016.
To many, that move signaled the final death knell, the last nail in the coffin of a fight that coulda, woulda, shoulda but didn’t happen.
So let’s quash that one right out of the gate.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, no matter how much wishing and praying you do, is a train that has left the station, almost certainly never to return.
With that out of the way—obviously eliminating the biggest possible announcement—what else could the pound-for-pound king have up his sleeve?
Could it be that he’s bringing his show on the road to the media capital of the world, New York City?
And even more so now that Mayweather has the ability to promote in New York.
Mayweather has flirted with the Big Apple in the past, and the Barclays Center made an aggressive pitch to host his bout with Maidana this past May.
It would certainly be a huge development, boxing’s biggest star on the sports world's biggest stage, but something says Mayweather is looking bigger.
Before settling on Maidana for this past May’s tilt in Las Vegas, Mayweather conducted an online poll on his website, asking fans to choose between Maidana and former junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan for his next opponent.
Khan was the runaway winner of the fan balloting, but he was snubbed anyway, instead defeating Luis Collazo in the main undercard bout to support Mayweather vs. Maidana.
The 27-year-old Brit lobbied extensively—both before and after the fight—for a crack at Mayweather, but he was not available for a September date due to Ramadan, the Islamic Holy Month of fasting, falling over the summer, which would make training and conditioning impossible.
But Khan could be perfectly available for a date in May.
He’s recently thrown his hat in the mix for a possible showdown with Pacquiao in Macau this November—that’s still in the very early stages and a lot of things need to go right—but everyone knows Mayweather is the one he wants.
And there might just be an appropriate—perfect— venue for the fight.
Mayweather is the consummate businessman. If you think he wasn’t paying attention when Carl Froch and George Groves drew 80,000 fans to Wembley Stadium earlier this year, then you don’t know a thing about him.
Mayweather vs. Khan at Wembley would easily be the biggest fight in British boxing history. The amount of interest, star power and—most importantly—money it would generate would be off the charts.
If you’re looking for a realistic option for a “big surprise” in May, you could do a lot worse than this one.
As recently as this past June, Mayweather was very open to the possibility of fighting at Wembley, expressing a desire to do so and put on a big event. This would be a big event, and it would be big business for all involved.
With a well seemingly running dry of lucrative options—there is no doubt that a Khan bout would sell better in the UK than in the United States—the timing is perfect for Mayweather to jump across the pond for a fight.
Of course, Maidana might have something to say about that first.
But that would be the biggest surprise of all.
Kevin McRae is a featured boxing columnist for Bleacher Report and an auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). You can follow him on Twitter @McRaeBoxing.