Maidana up next for Mayweather

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. gave himself a 37th birthday present on Monday: an opponent. The pound-for-pound king announced on Twitter that he will next fight fellow welterweight titleholder Marcos Maidana on May 3.


The 147-pound unification fight will be carried by Showtime PPV and take place at a venue to be determined -- either in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand, the front-runner, where Mayweather has had his last eight fights, or the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., which came into the picture in recent weeks and is making a strong push for the fight.

Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer, who has worked with Mayweather since 2007 and also promotes Maidana, told ESPN.com that he hopes to have the venue locked in "in the next couple of days along with the ticket information."

The fight will be the third of a 30-month, six-fight deal worth $200 million-plus that Mayweather signed with Showtime and parent network CBS last February. Mayweather has said he plans to retire at the conclusion of the contract.

Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) holds world titles at junior middleweight and welterweight but will return to welterweight to make his second defense when he faces Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs), a 30-year-old crowd-pleasing slugger from Argentina who will be making the first defense of his belt. Maidana, who landed the fight over fellow former junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan, won his world title in dramatic upset fashion by scoring two knockdowns in a unanimous decision against Adrien Broner in their Dec. 14 brawl at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

"Marcos Maidana's last performance immediately brought him to my attention," Mayweather said. "He is an extremely skilled fighter who brings knockout danger to the ring. I think this is a great fight for me and he deserves the opportunity to see if he can do what 45 others have tried to do before him -- beat me."

Said Maidana, "I am extremely happy to be facing Floyd Mayweather because it will give me the opportunity to show the world that I am the best welterweight in the division. I just handed a great defensive fighter his first loss and I plan to do the same to Mayweather. I don't care whether he's the best and undefeated. I will bring some real Latino power to him on May 3rd."

In his last fight, Mayweather easily outpointed Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Sept. 14 to unify junior middleweight titles in a fight that set numerous records, including the biggest pay-per-view gross in history ($150 million) and biggest live gate ($20 million). The bout sold 2.2 million pay-per-view units, second-most all time behind the near 2.5 million subscriptions sold for Mayweather's 2007 showdown with Oscar De La Hoya.

The May 3 fight does not figure to come close to that sort of business because Maidana is not nearly as popular as Alvarez and will be an even bigger underdog. But Maidana, one of the best punchers in boxing, does possess fight-changing power.

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