Who’s next for Mayweather? Grading his next potential opponents

 floyd mayweather jr By Leonard Sandoval: After easily disposing of popular young upstart Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and once again proving he is the top pound –for- for pound boxer in the world, Floyd Mayweather Jr. finds himself in the proverbial corner. While Mayweather showcased his superior speed, efficiency and defense, the end result wasn’t exactly a fight of the year candidate. In today’s “what have you done for me lately?” world, Mayweather needs to follow up Saturday night’s victory with another big fight, but against who?

The ideal Mayweather opponent would provide some sex appeal and advance Mayweather’s legacy. Here’s how the contenders match up and the likelihood of each fight occurring:

Amir Khan

On the Monday after Mayweather’s victory, Amir Khan took to Twitter in an attempt to cash his ticket in the Mayweather lottery. Back in September 2011, this would have been a great match-up. Amir Khan was coming off three solid wins against Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana and Paul McCloskey. Unfortunately, Khan followed up those wins with a controversial loss by decision to Lamont Peterson and a brutal TKO by Danny Garcia. Since those setbacks, he’s won two straight against Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz, but hasn’t looked great in the process.

Khan still has some name recognition and if the fight were to take place in London or Dubai it could create a very compelling storyline. Khan also fights for Golden Boy and given the GBP /Mayweather Promotions relationship over the last six years, this is the easiest fight to make, but that’s also the hold up. Khan’s speed and power could make this an entertaining fight, but he wouldn’t add much to Floyd’s legacy. Is Mayweather willing to deal with the scrutiny for taking the easier fight? If the price is right, probably. If Khan can get past Devon Alexander on December 7, expect the chatter around this fight to heat up.

Grade: B-

Will it happen? Most likely.

***

Danny Garcia

Danny Garcia relishes the underdog role. As he should. After beating the likes of an Erik Morales (albeit the older version), Amir Khan, Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse, it’s not likely that he’ll be considered an underdog anytime soon – unless he fights someone of Mayweather’s stature. Sharing the bill with Mayweather for the Matthysse fight gave Garcia a lot of exposure and instant credibility. He is a rising star and the potential back-and-forth between his father and the Mayweather clan would likely provide enough entertainment value to make this fight worthwhile on its own. The fact that Garcia fights at Jr. Welterweight shouldn’t be an issue. Mayweather fought Robert Guerrero at 147lbs, and Garcia seemed to have some trouble making 140lbs against Matthysse.

The biggest obstacle Garcia presents is his likely status as Golden Boy Promotions potential torch bearer. Garcia has been in some battles lately and it’s not likely that GBP is going to want Mayweather to knock their next big thing down a peg… again. Given the other interesting options for Garcia like Robert Guerrero, Adrian Broner Marcos Maidana, or a possible rematch against Matthysse, it wouldn’t be surprising if the powers that be held off on this fight for now.

Grade: B+

Will it happen? It’s very possible.

***
Sergio Martinez

After narrowly avoiding a 12th round knockout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., winning a controversial decision over Martin Murray and suffering injuries that will keep him out of the ring until 2014, the 38 year old Argentinian is finally starting to show his age. With that said, he’s still a top pound-for-pound fighter who’s not afraid to mix it up. Martinez’ frame could allow for a fight at 154 pounds, the same weight limit for Mayweather’s fights against Oscar de la Hoya and Miguel Cotto.

Martinez is promoted by Lou DiBella, so the Top Rank / GBP civil war shouldn’t be too much of an issue. If this fight took place in Argentina, well outside of Mayweather’s Las Vegas comfort zone, could generate a ton of additional interest and could garner Martinez more money than all of his previous fights combined. Still, it’s unlikely he would take a fight as difficult as this after being out of commission with injuries since April.

Grade: A-
Will it happen? Maybe late 2014.

***
Gennady Golovkin

Although the casual boxing fan might not know his name, Gennady Golovkin currently holds the WBA and IBO middleweight titles, knocks out his opponents 88% of the time and scares the pants off almost every fighter between 154 and 168lbs. The baby-faced Kazakh has pounded his way to a 27-0 record against mostly ho-hum competition, but he’s shown in his recent fights against Gabriel Rosado and Matthew Macklin that he can handle quality fighters just the same.

What a Mayweather/GGG fight lacks in name recognition, it makes up for in intrigue. This fight would be a dream fight for die-hard boxing fans. Mayweather going all the way up to 160lbs to win a major title in a sixth weight class would not only put him in a club with only Oscar de la Hoya and Manny Pacquiao, but it would cement him as the greatest fighter of his generation. Too bad it’s not going to happen. GGG fights on HBO and Mayweather will likely close out his career on Showtime. More importantly, Mayweather just isn’t likely to move up to 160lbs to take on a bigger fighter who could put him in the hospital with a liver shot.

Grade: A

Will it happen? Nope.

***
Manny Pacquiao

You can’t discuss potential Mayweather opponents without listing Manny Pacquiao. Even after back-to-back losses against Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, Mayweather v. Pacquiao fight still has the potential to be the biggest fight of all time. Too bad it’s not happening anytime soon. Notwithstanding Pacquiao’s recent struggles and the fact that he has to get through Brandon Rios in November, the civil war between Mayweather/Golden Boy Promotions and Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, is too big an obstacle to overcome.

Grade A+

Will it happen? Not anytime soon.

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