Floyd Mayweather Jr has confirmed he is coming out of a 17-month retirement to fight Mexico’s WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez.
The unbeaten former pound for pound champion (39-0, 25 KOs) will fight Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KOs) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 18 with the match made at a catchweight 144 pounds.
Six-time, five-weight world champion Mayweather, 32, will be fighting for the first time since defeating Britain’s Ricky Hatton in December 2007 for the WBC welterweight title. Marquez, 35 and a champion in three divisions, is coming off a ninth-round stoppage of Juan Diaz in February.
“I’m not wasting any time with a tune-up fight,” Mayweather Jr said. “I’m going straight to the top.
“Marquez called me out immediately after his victory over Juan Diaz in February and now he gets his wish.
“What he is going to find out is that you should be very careful what you wish for.
“He’s a good small man but I’m a great big man.
“A small man will never defeat me, everybody knows that.”
It has been revealed in December that Mayweather was looking to get back in the ring and had approached Hatton through a third party. Hatton faces current pound for pound champion Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas tonight and while Mayweather did not speak about future fights beyond Marquez, he said he had a “hitlist” of potential opponents.
Mayweather said he was returning to the ring to satisfy public demand and his competitive instincts.
“When I made my decision to retire I felt like it was time for me to go as I had been boxing my whole life and felt like I had done all that I could do,” he said.
“But after I had time to rest, enjoy life with my family and friends, I started to miss the competition and my fans.
“I am ready to return to boxing and give people another dose of the Mayweather experience.”
With 11 weeks until fight night, Mayweather looked trim and fit as he spoke at a press conference at the MGM Grand Hotel called by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.
“I’m running seven, eight miles every day,” Mayweather said. “I’m in tremendous shape.
“On my first day back in the gym I boxed seven or eight rounds and I know when it comes to fight time I’m going to be ready, mentally as well as physically.”