Floyd Mayweather Jr. is nearing both the selection of his next opponent and the possibility of placing the Sept. 12 bout on CBS, boxing officials familiar with his workings have told The Times.
Mayweather and his representatives believe through network advertising they can satisfy the unbeaten fighter's need for a purse in excess of $30 million while also delivering a sort of payback to fans feeling deprived by his May 2 victory over Manny Pacquiao.
Mayweather beat Pacquiao by unanimous decision in a bout that lacked significant action, with Pacquiao revealing afterward that he suffered what was later identified as tears in his shoulder before the record-revenue bout. Pacquiao underwent surgery and is said to be out of action until 2016.
As The Times reported earlier this month, former world welterweight champion Andre Berto (30-3, 23 knockouts) is considered the favorite to fight Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs), with the date already cleared by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and MGM Grand again expected to host.
Berto, 31, has overcome a career-threatening shoulder injury. On March 13 in Ontario, he defeated Riverside's Josesito Lopez by sixth-round technical knockout.
The Sweet Science writer Michael Woods reported Tuesday afternoon that it will be Berto on CBS.
CBS is the parent company of Showtime, which signed Mayweather to a six-fight deal in 2013. This is the final bout in the lucrative agreement that netted Mayweather at least $220 million for the Pacquiao bout.
Officials speaking to The Times on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the talks called the Sweet Science report "premature," and two other officials close to Mayweather said while Berto is the likely choice, the deal is not finalized.