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Mayweather to end layoff against Ortiz

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, June 8- Unbeaten US boxing star Floyd Mayweather said he will end a 16-month layoff on September 17 when he fights countryman Victor Ortiz for the World Boxing Council welterweight title.

Mayweather, 41-0 with 25 knockouts, has not climbed into the ring since May of last year when he won a unanimous 12-round decision over Shane Mosley but he announced on his Twitter microblogging page that he was ready to return.

"My fans have been waiting long enough. Floyd Mayweather vs Victor Ortiz. Sept-17 2011 for the WBC World Championship," Mayweather tweeted.

Southpaw Ortiz, 29-2-2 with 22 knockouts, claimed the WBC crown last April with a unanimous 12-round decision over previously undefeated Andre Berto of the United States.

"I am ready to return to the ring and give my fans a fantastic night of boxing by fighting the best out there," Mayweather said. "For me, that is Victor Ortiz.

"He is the current champion and an extremely talented fighter who showed amazing skills, and heart, in his last performance. At this stage of my career, these are the challenges I look for, a young, strong, rising star looking to make his mark in boxing by beating me.

"Ortiz is just going to be another casualty, the 42nd one who tried and failed. Trust me. I will be ready."

Countered Ortiz: "I know he will be ready, but so will I. I’m a world champion for a reason and I am not going to let go of my title any time soon."

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Fight fans have waited for years to see Mayweather face Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, but talks have failed and the fighters have battled other foes instead.

Pacquiao defeated Mosley last month in Las Vegas, which is likely where Mayweather’s September fight will be staged. Pacquiao is expected to face Juan Manuel Marquez in November at Las Vegas.

Mayweather, who has fought only twice since stopping Britain’s Ricky Hatton in December of 2007, also faces two court cases, one which could result in a 34-year prison sentence.

Mayweather’s evidence hearing on felony domestic violence charges is set for July 29. He is accused of grand larceny, coercion and robbery felonies stemming from an dispute last September with former girlfriend Josie Harris and could go behind bars for 34 years if convicted on all charges.

Mayweather also faces a September 1 trial date on a misdemeanour battery charge for allegedly poking a 21-year-old homeowners’ association security guard in the face during a scuffle last November over parking tickets. He faces a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine in that case.

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