During his licensing hearing in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Wednesday in Las Vegas, welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. told the panel under questioning that he had a deal in place to face junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto on May 5 at the MGM Grand.
Mayweather was ordered to appear before the commission for a hearing so the commissioners could ask him questions about the criminal case he recently made a plea deal in.
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The commissioners are expected to vote on his license application at the hearing.
Mayweather faces an 87-day jail sentence at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas after a plea deal on domestic violence charges related to a September 2010 incident with his ex-girlfriend, who is also the mother of three of his children.
Mayweather was supposed to begin his sentence on Jan. 6, but the judge in the case, Justice of the Peace Judge Melissa Saragosa, deferred his report date to June 1 after his attorney, Richard Wright, successfully argued that he should be allowed to fight on May 5 in order to honor an existing deal with the MGM Grand and because a Mayweather fight would inject $100 million into the ailing Las Vegas economy.
The deal between Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) and Cotto does not come as surprise. With a much-anticipated fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao off the table at least until the fall, Mayweather-Cotto is widely considered the next biggest fight he could take. Junior middleweight titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was also considered a leading candidate to face Mayweather.
Mayweather-Cotto also means that Pacquiao, who intends to fight June 9, will not be facing Cotto in a rematch. Pacquiao-Cotto II was one of the potential fights Pacquiao and his promoter, Bob Arum, had discussed. The leading candidate to face Pacquiao in June is junior welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr.
Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) had been promoted by Top Rank for his entire career but his contract recently expired. If the fight with Mayweather goes through it will be the first fight of his career without Top Rank’s involvement.
WRITTEN BY Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com & FULL STORY HERE