Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight Robert Guerrero on May 4, and he's changing television networks to do it.
The biggest star in boxing dropped a surprise Tuesday while announcing his long-rumored next bout: After several years on HBO, Mayweather is moving to Showtime with a lucrative multi-fight deal.
Mayweather's move is a coup for Showtime, the CBS-owned network that has always trailed behind HBO in boxing prominence. Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) is the sport's biggest moneymaker, and his new revenue-sharing deal with Showtime could include up to six pay-per-view fights over 30 months.
"They were extremely aggressive from the start, and they made it clear they want Floyd Mayweather to be the face of Showtime," Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbe told The Associated Press. "It's the ultimate compliment to a fighter like Floyd. They were aggressive, and the deal that they put on the table was essentially a deal that you can't refuse."
Mayweather's first bout is against Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), the WBC's interim welterweight champion. The fight likely will be at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, the site of Mayweather's last six bouts.
Mayweather turns 36 on Sunday, but the unbeaten WBC 147-pound champion has shown few signs of advancing age in the ring. He hasn't fought since beating Miguel Cotto last May 5, and he spent two months in jail last summer after his conviction in a misdemeanor domestic battery case.
With Showtime as his new showcase, Ellerbe said Mayweather's fans will see much more in the next few years from the re-energized champion, who has fought just four times since December 2007.
"He has a renewed motivation to stay active and to take on everybody out there," Ellerbe said. "When Floyd is more active, he's going to be beyond untouchable. He's proved he can stay sharp with those layoffs in the past, but he's going to be more active now."
Guerrero beat out several contenders to get the biggest payday of his career and a shot at his sport's biggest name. Guerrero, from Gilroy, Calif., is a onetime featherweight champion who hasn't lost since 2005, beating welterweight Andre Berto in a thrilling fight last November.