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Monday, May 4, 2009

Mayweather-Pacquiao a possibility after Marquez

Emerging from retirement, undefeated and former six-time world champion fighter Floyd Mayweather of Grand Rapids has plans for a much busier schedule.

He told the Los Angeles Times he is prepared to fight as often as three times a year while accepting challenges from all of the top rivals near his weight class.

"How am I not the king when nobody's taken my throne?," Mayweather, dressed in black clothing and a stocking cap, said during a press conference Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas to announce his return to the ring. "If I can stick 'em up three times ... that's why I came in all black, because it's bank robbery, baby."

His initial plan is to steal the spotlight from undisputed lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico on July 18 in a matchup being billed as "Number One/Numero Uno" at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The fight is being contested at a catch weight of 143 pounds.

In addition to Marquez, Mayweather told the L.A. Times he'd welcome the opportunity to climb into the ring with the finest competition, including Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley and the recently retired Oscar De La Hoya.

"All roads (to the pound-for-pound title) lead through Mayweather," his adviser, Leonard Ellerbe said.

Pacquiao, the reigning pound-for-pound champ, administered a second-round knockout of Ricky Hatton on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

"For me, I can fight anybody at 147 (pounds), or I can fight at 140, but he's got an upcoming fight with Marquez, and we'll see after the fight," Pacquiao told ESPN's Jaime Motta following the Hatton bout.

Speculation persists that Mayweather, who left the sport as the pound-for-pound king in December 2007 following a 10th-round technical knockout of Hatton, is in line for a megafight against Pacquiao -- if all goes well against Marquez.

Marquez has a split-decision loss and a draw against Pacquiao.

Promoter Bob Arum said a decision would not be made on Pacquiao's next opponent until after the Miguel Cotto-Joshua Clottey fight on July 13 in New York.

"Mayweather, if he wants a piece of the little Filipino, just be my guest," Arum said.

It is up to opponents, Mayweather insisted, to shut him up.

"I don't change for fighters, fighters change for me," he said. "Some day, someone might shut my mouth, but right now I am going to talk. I am the top dog and I am back in the spotlight."


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