Marcos Maidana won the latest lottery ticket that comes with being the next opponent of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
As a result of his convincing victory over Adrien Broner on Dec. 14, Maidana will have his opportunity against Mayweather — the sport’s top pay-per-view attraction — on May 3 in Las Vegas.
A bout against Mayweather immediately enhances a fighter’s profile and payday. Recent Mayweather opponents and eventual ring victims Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero can attest to the sweetened purses they received for their fights with Mayweather.
Now Maidana has his moment of top billing in the welterweight unification title match. But transcending the occasion and turning it into an upset for the ages remains daunting.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
“There were other names out there but Mayweather is a boxing person and he made the right choice,” Robert Garcia, Maidana’s trainer, said when the fight was officially announced four weeks ago. “I think Maidana earned the right to fight Floyd. He’s going to come out and do his best — just like he did against Adrien Broner.”
With his victory over the previously unbeaten Broner, Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) blew up a possible Mayweather-Broner fight for the immediate future.
Mayweather has three appearances remaining on his pay-per-view deal with Showtime and indications pointed to a fight with Broner at the latter end of Mayweather’s pact with the premium cable network.
“Broner was supposed to be the next great thing,” Garcia said. “What Maidana did to him was something that no one believed could happen.”
Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) prides himself on his promotional acumen. And, if the undercard bouts scheduled for his pay-per-view event with Maidana are an indication, Mayweather already is laying the groundwork for future fights and showcasing potential opponents.
Broner will have a preliminary bout against Carlos Molina and former 140-pound world champion Amir Khan will face Luis Collazo. Khan, who won a hard-fought decision against Maidana four years ago, reportedly was a favorite to become Mayweather’s next opponent before Mayweather opted for for Maidana.
“I don’t know who my next three opponents will be,” Mayweather said. “A lot of people ask me that. You want to fight me? Earn it.”
Unless the boxing universe undergoes a seismic transformation, two names that fight fans won’t see on Mayweather’s next opponents’ list are Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley. Mayweather might laud his opponents’ abilities, but the majority of the boxing public recognizes Pacquiao and Bradley as the next best welterweights.
But Pacquiao and Bradley, who will fight in a highly anticipated pay-per-view match on April 12, are promoted by Bob Arum. Mayweather — because of a long-standing feud with Arum — has not faced fighters represented by his former promoter.
“If he wants the fight to happen, then so be it,” Bradley said of possibly fighting Mayweather if both win their upcoming bouts. “I will never shy away from the best and Mayweather is the best right now.
“At the end of the day everyone is going to want to see the fight but the business side of boxing is totally different and it’s not our fault. It’s just the way it is.”
Fort Lauderdale resident Sergey Kovalev retained his World Boxing Organization light-heavyweight title with a seventh-round knockout win over Cedric Agnew late Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J.
A native of Russia, Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs) floored Agnew in the second and sixth rounds and dropped his outclassed opponent again with a fight-finishing body shot that ended the bout at 58 seconds of the seventh.
Miami resident Luis Ortiz continues his push toward heavyweight contention after he signed with Golden Boy Promotions last year. Ortiz will headline the next telecast of Fox Sports1’s shows on Thursday, when he faces former contender Monte Barrett in Indio, Calif.
A native of Cuba, Ortiz is 20-0 with 17 knockouts since he turned professional four years ago.