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Mayweather Jr. to end retirement; fight Marquez in July

The Canadian Press

5/1/2009 11:54:39 PM

LAS VEGAS -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. is back, ending his brief retirement from boxing.

The undefeated five-division champion plans to announce Saturday his return to the sport with a July fight against lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, a person close to the fight confirmed Friday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the fight hadn't been officially announced.

Mayweather last fought when he stopped Ricky Hatton in the 10th round of their December 2007 welterweight title fight.

He was expected to fight Oscar De La Hoya in a rematch of the fight he narrowly won earlier that year, but last June said he would not fight again because he had lost his love for the sport.

The 32-year-old Mayweather has won all 39 of his fights, and would put himself in position for a potentially very lucrative fight against the winner of Saturday's bout between Manny Pacquiao and Hatton.

De La Hoya, who helps run Golden Boy Promotions, said this week that his company had been talking to Mayweather about a possible return, and there were also reports that Don King was trying to sign the fighter.

Golden Boy Promotions called a press conference for Saturday at the MGM Grand hotel for what it called a major announcement.

Mayweather's estranged father, Floyd Sr., also said last week that his son was in the gym and training and that he expected him to fight again. HBO had been holding a pay-per-view date of July 18 in hopes of his return.

Mayweather's return could lead to some profitable fights. Mayweather's bout against De La Hoya in May 2007 was the richest fight ever, drawing a record 2.15 million buys.

Since stopping Hatton 17 months ago, Mayweather appeared on WWE's Wrestlemania but has been largely absent from the sport he began learning even before he began to walk.

Mayweather, who made more than US$50 million in the ring during an 18-month stretch that ended with the Hatton fight, became a celebrity of sorts outside the sport when he also appeared on "Dancing With The Stars."

But when he quit last June he said it was for good, saying it had become "extremely difficult for me to find the desire and joy to continue in the sport."