Floyd Mayweather Jr. gave himself a 37th birthday present Monday by selecting Marcos Maidana as his May 3 opponent, thus guaranteeing the champion another multimillion-dollar payday.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 knockouts) will defend his World Boxing Council welterweight title on Showtime in a pay-per-view bout in Las Vegas.
The 30-year-old Maidana, who is known for his punching power, has a 35-3 record with 31 knockouts.
“Marcos Maidana’s last performance immediately brought him to my attention,” said Mayweather. “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.”
In September, Mayweather cruised to a majority decision victory over World Boxing Council junior-middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico, as the fighters generated a record $150 million in pay-per-view sales.
Late last year, Mayweather was expected to pick England’s Amir Khan as his next opponent. But that fueled criticism that Khan (28-3, 19 KOs) was undeserving, given that the 27-year-old had lost two of his last four fights and was knocked down in the fourth round of his April fight against veteran Julio Diaz in a fight Khan won by decision.
Meanwhile, Maidana gained traction after winning the World Boxing Association welterweight title by knocking down then-unbeaten Adrien Broner twice en route to a unanimous-decision triumph Dec. 14.
Maidana, who is from Argentina, dominated Josesito Lopez in June, knocking him out in the sixth round.