Undefeated welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather will fight junior welterweight champion Miguel Cotto this May in the first major pay-per-view event of 2012, according to ESPN.
Mayweather, after failing once again to reach an agreement to fight Manny Pacquiao in what would likely be the biggest bout in PPV history, will instead battle Cotto on May 5 in Las Vegas. The fight is the first for Mayweather since he defeated Victor Ortiz last September in a fight that reportedly drew 1.25 million PPV buys.
Cotto's most recent PPV fight last December resulted in technical knockout win over Antonio Margarito.
It's unclear whether HBO Sports, Showtime or another company will distribute the Mayweather-Cotto PPV event to cable, telco and satellite distributors.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao is currently negotiating a June PPV event against junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley Jr., according to ESPN. Pacquiao outlasted Juan Manuel Marquez in his last PPV event this past November.
While industry observers will welcome back to the squared ring arguably the two biggest PPV event attractions, the hope is that the two boxers will eventually meet each other in a mega PPV event later this year.
HBO Sports president Ken Hershman said the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, which has been in the works for the past two years, has a "sell-by" date of late 2012 or early 2013 before it loses its potential box office appeal.
"I would love to see the fight as a fan," Hershman said, adding that the network would step in as a mediator if approached by the fighters' promoters. "We are uniquely positioned to do that, but I don't envision that happening."