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The richest fight in boxing history is on the verge of getting a sequel.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya, who shattered box office records when they met last spring, are close to finishing a deal for a rematch, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Jan 16.
“We are still discussing things but we have almost finalized it,” said Schaefer, who heads De La Hoya’s promotional company. “I think an announcement will be forthcoming.”
Schaefer said the fight would be Sept. 13 or Sept. 20 on HBO pay-per-view. He said the site for Mayweather-De La Hoya II has not been settled but he is holding the September dates at the 27,000-seat Home Depot Center, the outdoor home to the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. He said other venues are also interested, including the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
A source also told ESPN.com that Dodger Stadium was interested in hosting the fight after L.A. native De La Hoya suggested he’d like to fight there before retiring.
Mayweather won a split decision to take De La Hoya’s junior middleweight belt when they met May 5 at the MGM Grand.
The match between boxing’s No. 1 fighter, Mayweather, and its greatest attraction, De La Hoya, was a success and, ultimately, a rematch was hard to pass up.
“Floyd is agreeable to do the fight and so is Oscar,” Schaefer said. “Now it’s just me working through everything.”
Although De La Hoya has said he planned to return to the welterweight division and Mayweather is the welterweight world champion, Schaefer said the weight for a rematch hadn’t been determined. He said it could be at a catch weight somewhere between the 147-pound welterweight division and 154-pound junior middleweight class.
“It’s something we are discussing,” he said.
Backed by five-months of promotion, which included an 11-city cross-country tour and HBO’s reality series “De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7,” the first fight broke boxing box office records including total gross ($165 million); pay-per-view subscriptions (2.4 million); pay-per-view gross ($134.4 million) and live gate ($18,419,200).
Although the fight was panned by many for a lack of action and the rematch probably won’t approach the numbers of the original, it still figures to do well.
De La Hoya had planned to return to the ring May 3, but didn’t have an opponent. The prospect of facing British star Ricky Hatton, his first choice, evaporated when Mayweather returned to welterweight and knocked Hatton out in the 10th round on Dec. 8.
Welterweight titleholder Miguel Cotto was a darkhorse candidate to fight De La Hoya. Cotto promoter Bob Arum acknowledged it was unlikely. He spent Wednesday in New York meeting with HBO executives about an alternative plan for Cotto, who probably will fight in April, possibly against first-season “Contender” star Alfonso Gomez.
Hatton’s lopsided defeat left Mayweather as De La Hoya’s most lucrative opponent. But instead of facing him on Cinco De Mayo weekend, the rematch will move to the fall because Mayweather is taking a break after a grueling 2007 inside and out of the ring.
Mayweather’s fights with De La Hoya and Hatton were the biggest of the year and the promotions were exhausting. He also found mainstream recognition during his fall run on the popular reality series “Dancing with the Stars.”
A rematch with De La Hoya (38-5, 30 KOs) would delay Mayweather (39-0, 25 KOs) jumping to mixed martial arts, which he has discussed with “Dancing with the Stars” pal and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who also owns his own MMA promotional company.
Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather’s adviser and close friend, was unavailable for comment.
With De La Hoya moving off May 3, it is possible that his friend and Golden Boy Promotions partner Shane Mosley could fight on the date instead.