Floyd Mayweather Jr wants to return to the ring as soon as 11 July and friends say he would welcome a rematch after with Ricky Hatton
. The enigmatic American last fought 15 months ago, stopping Hatton in the 10th round of their World Boxing
Council welterweight title fight in Las Vegas.What has inspired Mayweather's interest in a comeback – apart from his free-spending lifestyle – is the light-welterweight showdown in Las Vegas on 2 May between Hatton and Manny Pacquiao . If the Filipino wins he will cement his reputation as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world with a title at a fifth weight, equalling Mayweather, who was the undisputed pound-for-pound champion before retiring last year.
If Hatton beats Pacquiao, a second fight with Mayweather would present the intriguing prospect of the American fighting an opponent trained by his own father. If held in Las Vegas, it would also bring to the promotion Hatton's 30,000-strong army of fanatical Mancunian supporters.
A source close to Mayweather told ESPN.com: "He is coming back. I've been around him. He's ready to dance again very soon. He's itching to go. The way he sounded, he is willing to take on whoever they throw in his face. He would do the Pacquiao-Hatton winner, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Márquez. The only one he doesn't have an interest in is [a rematch with] Oscar De La Hoya.But in Floyd's mind, he knows there is one Godzilla, and that's a fight with Pacquiao."
Márquez, the new World Boxing Organisation and World Boxing Association lightweight champion touted as a possible future opponent for Amir Khan after the Bolton fighter's fifth-round technical cuts stoppage win over Marco Antonio Barrera on Saturday night, has also been mentioned as an opponent for Mayweather at light-welterweight. Mayweather has teased the media on a regular basis about coming back. But the latest noises – added to the confirmation last week by Floyd Mayweather Sr, Hatton's trainer, that his son was "definitely" looking for another fight – sound convincing.
He needs to shed the ring rust before he takes on either Pacquiao or Hatton, though. Broadcaster HBO, with whom Mayweather made major money in five of his last six bouts, has an 11 July free-to-air slot lined up for the new cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek to defend against Bernard Hopkins, but neither fighter is a big draw."They don't want to upset Floyd," ESPN's source said, "and they hope the situation resolves itself."
"Money" Mayweather, as he calls himself, has had a large tax debt, gambles on American football and hinted he needed to replenish his stocks when he dabbled briefly in WWE last March in a farcical match against the 7ft Big Show. Mayweather is still one of the few marquee names in American boxing, a genuine ring artist unbeaten in 39 fights over 11 yearswho has won six world titles at five weights.
He was 32 last month and is a flamboyant partygoer, but he is also a dedicated gym addict who is always in shape. Hatton, who leaves for the United States on 29 March, was not immediately available for comment.
His father and manager, Ray, said recently they would gladly entertain a rematch with Mayweather. Ideally, they would like the fight at the City of Manchester Stadium, but the economics suggest it would be held at one of the big casinos in Las Vegas.
- guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009