By Hamza Ahmed
In the end, it was too much and too little for Robert Guerrero. The Mexican American fighter, coming off the back end of a successful 2012 campaign following bruising wins over Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto, was hopelessly manhandled, outclassed and extinguished by arguably the sports’ premier fighter Floyd Mayweather. Another easy win and another couple of millions safely deposited in the bank. It was the first of a 6 fight retirement tour exclusively seen only on SHOWTIME PPV and due to its effortless nature, fans clamoured for a Canelo Alvarez showdown but crticis argued it would never see the light of day.
That was until late May, where Mayweather rolled the dice and moved his piece onto Canelo Alvarez Square. Following a bombshell announcement made on Twitter, the Canelo showdown was indeed on at a catchweight of 152 pounds in Las Vegas, resulting in the 2nd fight banked for Floyd but the question arose – what next? You see, boxing in some respects can be argued as a contemporary sport. Despite the rich prestige and history embedded over the years, the thirst for any information, whether leaked or official, has never been greater and is further fuelled by the likes of social media and endless lines of journalists always on the hunt for the big scoop. Boxing fans love salivating at the prospect of future fights even if they seem eons away. Here are 6 potential opponents who may serve as Mayweathers’ dance partners as he waltzes away into the sunset.
The British star has been touted as a potential opponent ever since his Stateside debut in May 2010 and a run the following year saw Khan reel off wins against a tepid Paul McCloskey and a gunshy Zab Judah until it came. The acid test. The fight he need to so desperately win in order to even have a chance of playing Monopoly on the same table as Mayweather and it came in the presence of former Mayweather sparring partner, Lamont Peterson. A terrific tussle saw Peterson edge a controversial decision over Khan and threw a new name into the Mayweather sweepstakes. But as destiny would so fittingly unfold, a Peterson rematch was scratched and Khan was given another chance – Danny Garcia. Khan, being a 4 – 1 favourite, was demolished by Garcia in 4 rounds and was booted unceremoniously back to square one. A rebuilding job under Virgil Hunter has Khan in a spot all too familiar yet again. A 3rd chance at Mayweather. The objective? Win, in style preferably. The opponent? Devon Alexander. It’s a fight either man can win. And it’s a fight where the circumstances are all too familiar for Khan – one eye on Alexander, the other at Mayweather. Khan must win in style to even be considered but it’s a fight Mayweather would be licking his chops at. Irregardless if Khan and Floyd were to fight either in England or Vegas, there’s money to be made. They both draw albeit one a bigger one. They both have vociferous support from their fan bases. And both are on the brink of retirement, with Khan expressing his intention to retire by 28. It’s a winnable fight for Mayweather. The boxing acumen along with the ever-impregnable defence, coupled with the fact that Khan’s chin isn’t exactly the sturdiest, begs the question – how many straight hands will Khan take before folding? Or will Mayweathers’ relative lack of KO power mean Khan will be more comfortable on the grand stage and present Floyd with a stylistic problem?
The Philadelphia native has been on a steady course so far in his boxing career with wins over Kendall Holt, Erik Morales twice, an upset win over Amir Khan and Zab Judah. But his next fight is a dangerous proposition. A mandatory fight against the Jr. Welterweight divisions’ grim reaper, Lucas Matthysse and a loss, especially in devastating fashion, resets Garcia from stardom to contender. If Garcia were to beat Lucas, he has all the privilege in the world to request a Mayweather fight. His father Angle has previously stated his son will only move up for a Floyd fight. If he were to win VS Matthysse, what’s there left at 140lb? He would have the scalps of 2 of the best fighters in the division at the time he fought them in Khan and Matthysse (bar Bradley) and it’ll be Danny’s stock which ascends into stratosphere. It’s a fight which Goldenboy and Al Haymon would have no problem making since they both reside under the same banner and a loss to one of boxings’ elite wouldn’t necessarily regress Garcia’s marketability. It could be argued Garcia may have a Victor Ortiz effect in finding success after a Mayweather loss i.e. Dancing with the Stars.
Mauro Ranallo couldn’t have put it any better on the telecast of Matthysse VS Ajose. ‘The Argentine Assassin’ he called him and has he ever lived up to the billing. Ever since 2 extremely controversial decisions going against him VS Judah and Alexander, ‘The Machine’ has gone on a warpath, terminating Humberto Soto, Olusegun Ajose, helpless Mike Dallas Jr. and Lamont Peterson, quite practically without breaking a sweat. He craves for Danny Garcia to join the pile of bodies dumped by his bare hands but a win over Garcia not only stakes his claim as the best 140lb in the world but it also gives him a chance. A lifetime opportunity at ‘Money’. It’s an interesting battle – the aging yet still agile Mayweather versus the relentless, powerful juggernaut named Matthysse who’ll no doubt give it his all. Is there money to be made? Absolutely. But it isn’t as marketable as say a Khan or Garcia fight due to Matthysse’s lack of English and possessing no breakout performance. But his right hand can snipe that drawback off the brink. A sensational win over Garcia will raise his stock even more and will pretty much erase any doubt as to who should face Floyd next.
Canelo Alvarez rematch
But what if Floyd doesn’t win? What if he demands an immediate rematch in the event of a say, controversial rematch or stoppage loss? Canelos’ size and power in conjunction with his combination punching is extremely poetic to watch when on song and his last 2 fights have shown different dimensions to the 22 year olds’ game. A more calculated and patient assault ensued against the ballsy but admittedly obese Josesito Lopez in contrast to the Austin Trout fight, where head movement was key and only timed single shots were deployed. If Canelo is dominated in September, there’s no sense for a rematch, despite the expectations going forward of ensuring Floyd V Canelo will smash PPV records and bring in a lot of millions. A rematch on the back end of a controversial ending however will bring even more money and even more recognition to the sport. It’s the only superfight available. The Manny Pacquiao train crashed spectacularly last December and even before, neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao gave a damn of making the megafight a reality. Sergio Martinez, long considered a peoples’ champion, has been plagued by long team injuries and surgeries, resulting in sitting on the doorstep of retirement. There’s nobody left but Canelo and if Canelo is easily dispatched come September, a rematch is ill-conceivable.
Arguably the most intriguing scenario. A close bond may be present between Broner and Mayweather but Mayweather’s expressed a desire to pass the torch to Broner. Broner has a title fight locked in against Malignaggi and it’s one he is widely expected to win. So many storylines are woven in place – ‘big brother’ VS ‘little brother’, both utilise Philly shell defences although for marginally different reasons with Mayweather the more defensively minded fighter against the more offensively minded Broner. A difference of over 15 years in age exists between the 2. One fighter already at the pinnacle of greatness and the other not only wanting to be there but to supersede his predecessors in as much style as his dancing is. Broner’s a big boy and has the power to complement with his handspeed but lacks footspeed, which plays right into Floyd’s hands. Broners’ defence isn’t as sturdy as it appears to be and he can be hit – clean. This may be the fight which could be Mayweathers’ last and the irony isn’t lost at all in calling this a fitting final fight. It’ll be a waiting game to assess where Mayweathers’ skills are by 2015 arrives but judging from their prior bouts, it’s hard to pick against Mayweather.
There you have it folks. 6 potential fights Mayweather could elect to take despite having only 4 fights after Canelo available. Despite the perceptual thinking that the Goldenboy/Top Rank and HBO/SHOWTIME rift would limit opponents for fighters, there are still lucrative fights to be made with lucrative repercussions and even more lucrative paydays. If Floyd were to sweep his next 4 fights, he’d possess a 49-0 record. It’s extremely possible for him to take on one more fight to hit a remarkable 50-0 and it would also mean his SHOWTIME contract ends after the 6th fight. A 50th pro fight against Manny Pacquiao on his original stomping grounds HBO? Maybe. Just maybe. There’s also a Juan Manuel Marquez rematch and a Timothy Bradley fight to consider should the latter keep winning. Devon Alexander has also been touted although frankly, it’s an awful fight probably designed just to have 2 Al Haymon guys get paid. Opportunities seem endless. There’s probably a wishlist of who Mayweather wants to fight and with so much opponents, there’s no complaints to be had for lack of the aforementioned. So while Richard Schaefer, Floyd Mayweather, Stephen Espinoza and Al Haymon take turns in power-playing and establishing the best fights to reap dividends of green paper, there’s always the sense that someone will gatecrash the table and put their own piece on the Monopoly board and demand their turn to roll the dice be next.