Mayweather: What next?
By Simon Hirst: Last night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather Jr put on a masterclass against a game, but limited Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Although controversially scored as a majority decision, Mayweather continued to prove why he head and shoulders above anyone vying with him for the pound for pound number one position in boxing.
However, such success can often come at a price when there is a real lack of competition for Mayweather. Of course, this is not his fault and critics will struggle to rate him as the greatest of all time when they view the competition he has faced in comparison to the talent filled times of Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran who all had each other. So what does Mayweather do next?
Mayweather is arguably at his best around the 147 welterweight limit where he does have one or two options. He could look to face the winner of Alexander v Khan and grab himself the IBF title. Alexander has one defeat to Tim Bradley on his resume and was considered before the Guerrero fight. He is a very good all round fighter, who has improved since that loss and grown into the 147 division. Khan may lack a chin, but is known for his speed that could possibly trouble Mayweather. These two could be possible next.
Danny Garcia who fought on the undercard could also throw his name in the hat. Garcia proved he has boxing brains, beating Matthysse in retaining his unbeaten record and titles as well as power when destroying Khan and Morales. It could be an interesting fight, although I would argue he is unproven at 147 and if Mayweather stayed at 154, could go on to dominate (although this writer would personally love to see him go to war with Tim Bradley)
Other options are the winner of the Bradley Marquez fight. Of course Marquez has already fought Mayweather so it may be more difficult in selling that fight, although Marquez has seemingly grown to the 147 limit given his brutal one punch knockout of Manny Pacquiao. Tim Bradley, should he get by Marquez, may also be an interesting options. He sports good boxing skills and the ability to adapt and also shown great heart and courage in his war with Provodnikov. The winner of Rios – Pacquiao may also be an option. Many people have wanted the Mayweather – Pacquiao fight for the last 3-4 years and some are still requesting it. Pacquiao, although clearly past his best, is still tough, throws plenty and applies pressure may be the biggest money spinner opponent for Floyd of all those mentioned. Rios is known for his pressure and power punching. If he could learn from his loss to Alvarado and pull off the upset against Pacquiao, who knows? The unfortunate problem for the quartet mentioned is they are all promoted by Top Rank, which would probably end any chance they have of securing such a lucrative payday against Mayweather.
Another option could be Austin Trout. Some saw Trout’s slick boxing skill and him being more active as reason as why they believe he beat Alvarez, but did not get the decision. I would argue him being the only real option at 154 pounds unless an unlikely Miguel Cotto rematch happened.
For me personally, if I was to evaluate Mayweather’s legacy, I would have to think of the lack of competition he has faced. The Pacquiao fight will probably tarnish his legacy as critics and fans alike will hold it against both fighters that they were unable to agree a fight that would have easily have broken all box office records. That aside, what is the next best thing that Floyd could do? Well as a five weight champion, he could look to equal Oscar De La Hoya’s record as a six weight champion. Manny Pacquiao has won seven titles in different weight divisions but some of these have been ‘The Ring’ title which some may not consider as they aren’t one of the main four titles.
With this in mind, Floyd is all about the money. But perhaps people may start investing in him if he looks at his own legacy. There are some cracking fights at 160 if he were to attempt to equal De La Hoya’s record. The four champions are Barker, Quillin, Golovkin and Martinez. Now Martinez has been calling for the fight for a long time. However, he has shown signs of aging recently. Still, he is pretty slick and fights to a game plan well. He also has decent power and a flashy style that could gel into a good fight. Barker is probably the weakest of the champions and is tied up with mandatory and rematches with Sturm and Geale so he would seem an unlikely choice. However, Quillin is young and flashy, excellent power and would provide Mayweather with a tough test. Golovkin would be a huge fight for the hardcore boxing community with his excellent ability to cut of the ring and pressure partnered with his outstanding power and would probably give Mayweather the toughest test. If Mayweather wanted to fight the best fighters to enhance his legacy, I would argue Golovkin or Quillin would be the route to go.
If memory serves me correct, I remember a certain Andre Ward had a spat with Mayweather recently and indicated he would be willing to meet him at the middleweight limit of 160. Considering many have these two as pound for pound one and two, this would be a huge clash, although possibly even bigger with a world title on the line. Will it happen, probably not, but I would not rule it out as I am from a never say never attitude.
Also, looking at the super middleweight division, I would argue that Stieglitz is the weakest champion. Should Mayweather fight him, I and I’m sure a large percentage of the boxing community would back him to outbox Stieglitz to win a record breaking 7th world title in different divison. Sure Stieglitz would massively outweigh him, but I would argue that he wouldn’t be able to lay a glove on Mayweather.
Size, reach advantage and power may negate Mayweather’s speed and slickness as he went up the divisions, but Mayweather is the master defensive tactician and let’s be honest, I would rate this as a risk worth taking. Win titles at middleweight and possibly super middleweight and many would rate him as the greatest of all time. The scary thing is it is more than possible. With Showtime already guaranteeing Mayweather his money, it would give everyone a chance to get behind Mayweather for once as he searched for his legacy in becoming not one of the greatest, but the greatest of all time and leaving a legacy that would be unmatched for a long, long time.
For more boxing thoughts, follow me at https://twitter.com/simonihirst
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