He was part of the biggest pay-per-view buy in boxing history, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. still must prove he is a PPV star.
After a 21-month layoff, Mayweather will return to the ring Sept. 19 to face Juan Manuel Marquez in a welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden that will be broadcast on HBO PPV.
Unlike his May 2007 fight with Oscar De La Hoya that set the PPV record with 2.4 million buys or his December 2007 fight with Ricky Hatton that produced 925,000 buys, Mayweather will carry the promotion this time.
Along with battling Marquez, Mayweather will take on the Ultimate Fighting Championship. UFC 103 will take place in Dallas on the same night.
“This is a true test to see how Mayweather sells,” said Richard Schaefer, chief executive officer of Golden Boy Promotions, which is co-promoting Mayweather-Marquez with Mayweather Promotions.
“He has had Oscar and Ricky Hatton to help him put up big numbers. But I believe Floyd is a true superstar, and, to me, he is the best active American boxer right now. He strikes an emotional chord with fans. Whether you love him or hate him, you are going to want to watch him.
“This fight can do 1 million buys. Floyd’s fans will support him, and Marquez’s fans will show up and support him.”
Marquez has not proven to be a pay-per-view attraction. His March 2008 fight with Manny Pacquiao produced 400,000 buys, the most of Marquez’s career.
By comparison, Pacquiao’s fight with Hatton in May did about 850,000 buys.
Mayweather said he won’t worry about going against the UFC.
“What UFC has to do, that’s their business,” he said. “This is about me and Marquez’s pay per view, and we’re not competing against anyone else. I look forward to doing good numbers and bringing excitement and flash back to the sport.”
• JUDAH-DIAZ OFF — Former welterweight world champion Zab Judah pulled out of his fight with Antonio Diaz on the Mayweather-Marquez undercard. No reason was given.
Diaz declined to fight another opponent.
Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said he is looking for another fight to fill out the undercard.
On the undercard, Chris John will defend his WBA featherweight title against Rocky Juarez, and former world lightweight champion Michael Katsidis will meet Vicente Escobedo.
• MAGDALENO OUSTED — Las Vegas bantamweight Jesus Magdaleno’s quest for a world amateur title ended Saturday when the Durango High School senior lost 11-8 to Denis Makarov of Germany in the second round of the world amateur championships in Milan, Italy.
Magdaleno, the reigning U.S. national Golden Gloves and USA Boxing national champion, trailed 8-7 entering the third and final round and lost it 3-1.
• CLOTTEY VEGAS CAMP — Welterweight Joshua Clottey will train in Las Vegas for his Dec. 26 fight with Shane Mosley, Top Rank announced.
Miguel Diaz will be Clottey’s lead trainer. In his last fight, Clottey, 35-3 with one no contest and 20 knockouts, lost a 12-round split decision to Miguel Cotto in June.
Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs) wanted a fight with Pacquiao, but settled for Clottey after Pacquiao signed to fight Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden.
Clottey is to arrive in Las Vegas in mid-October. No venue has been chosen for the fight, but Staples Center in Los Angeles is believed to have the inside track.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.