United States professional boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Russian professional tennis player, Maria Sharapova, were chosen as the United States Sports Academy’s May 2014 Athletes of the Month.

 Mayweather Jr. defeated Marcos Maidana with a majority decision 117-111, 116-112, 114-114 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., on May 3rd.  The victory for Mayweather Jr. unified the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight belts to remain undefeated at 46-0.

In the female division, Maria Sharapova defeated Simona Halep 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 to capture the Madrid Open Championship title in Madrid, Spain, on May 11th. She also followed up that victory with a win last Sunday in the French Open, defeating Halep 6-4, 6-7 (7-5), 6-4 to claim her fifth major title.

Finishing second in the male division was Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Josh Beckett who tossed Major League Baseball’s first no-hitter of the year on May 27th. The no-hitter was the first of his career and the 24th in Dodgers history. Beckett threw 128 pitches in the Dodgers’ 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, striking out six and walking three batters.

The runner-up to Sharapova in the female division is United States golfer Jessica Korda, who won the LPGA’s AirBus Classic. The tournament was held at The Crossings course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course on May 25th in Mobile, Ala. Korda birdied the 18th hole during the final round and finished the tournament at 20-under 268.

Third place May recipients are the United States track and field athletes, Justin Gatlin and Jenny Simpson.

Sprinter Justin Gatlin won the men’s 100 meters at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Tokyo, Japan on May 11th with a winning time of 10.02 seconds. In addition, Gatlin won the men’s 100 meters at the Shanghai Diamond League meet in Shanghai, China on May 18th. His winning time was 9.92 seconds, the fastest time in world this year.

Jenny Simpson won women’s 1500 meter race at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix with the current world-leading time of four minutes and 8.49 seconds.

Sharapova and Mayweather Jr. are now eligible for the Academy’s male and female 2014 Athlete of the Year Award. For the 30th consecutive year, the Academy will oversee the worldwide online voting that will take place in December. This prestigious award is currently done in conjunction with NBC Sports.

The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nomination and ballot voting processes. Visit the Academy website at www.ussa.edu to submit your nominations each month, and then return to the website during the first two weeks of each month to vote for the male and female Athletes of the Month. The votes along with an Academy committee choose the winners who become candidates for the Athlete of the Year. The monthly and yearly winners are announced on the Academy’s website and in the sports university’s online edition of The Sport Update.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.