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If Not Pacquiao, Then Who? Top Five Fighters for Floyd Mayweather

Posted on 05/15/2012

By Sam Geraci, Chicago, IL

After Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s crowd-pleasing Cinco de Mayo victory over 154lb champion Miguel Cotto, fans and sportswriters have been calling for a clash between Mayweather and Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao, the other top pound-for-pound fighter of the world.

PHOTO BY Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos

The problem with this fight happening, however, is everything. The fighters have yet to come to terms on purse splits, drug testing, location, glove size, and promotional control.

In addition to the disagreements on the logistics of the event, both fighters face serious issues outside of the negotiations of the fight that could delay both of them from taking on a top fighter after June of 2012.

For Mayweather, an 87-day jail sentence for misdemeanor domestic violence awaits on June 1, 2012, and he is still entangled in a defamation lawsuit that Pacquiao filed in response to Mayweather’s allegations that Pacquiao used performance enhancing drugs.

For Pacquiao, his greatest challenge to the Mayweather fight comes in overcoming the hungry and undefeated Timothy Bradley in their June 9, 2012 fight. In addition to the Bradley fight, while not yet facing legal charges, Pacquiao must resolve allegations of tax evasion in his native, Philippines, and, as always, Pacquiao is also facing criticism in the Philippines for his performance as a congressman.

So, if this mega fight doesn’t happen, then what’s left for Mayweather?

Top Five Fighters for Mayweather:

1) Sergio Martinez (160lbs; 49-2-2, KOs 28) Martinez is clearly the third best fighter in the world, and he hasn’t really lost a fight since 2000. His size, speed, southpaw stance, and dynamic punching power should create Mayweather’s most fan-friendly and challenging fight to date. At 154lbs, a fight between Mayweather and Martinez is the best fight out there (even better than Mayweather vs. Pacquiao).

2) Erislandy Lara (154lbs; 16-1-1, KOs 11) While Lara is the least known fighter on this list, in two years, he might be known as the best. Lara is an accomplished Cuban amateur whose southpaw stance, height, and reach should create a major challenge for Mayweather. His dominating performance over Paul Williams, which was incorrectly scored a loss, and his draw with Carlos Molina earned him this spot.

3) Winner of Andre Berto (147lbs; 28-1, KOs 22) vs. Victor Oritz (147lbs; 29-3-2, KOs 22) on June 23, 2012 Both of these guys possess big names, big punches, and fast hands that could make for an explosive and entertaining matchup with Mayweather. In addition, the sour taste left after the Mayweather vs. Ortiz fight might warrant a rematch for Ortiz if he can defeat Berto convincingly.

4) Saul Alvarez (154lbs; 40-0-1, KOs 29) After dominating a faded and oversized Shane Mosley on the Mayweather vs. Cotto undercard, Alvarez has clearly established himself as a crossover pay-per-view star. While Alvarez might be too inexperienced to defeat Mayweather, his larger size, plodding style, thudding punches, and what appears to be a genuine desire to be great might make for a competitive matchup that would be a huge pay-per-view sell. Moreover, another victory over a fighter like James Kirkland while Mayweather is incarcerated would make this matchup and even bigger sell.

5) Paul Williams (154lbs; 41-2, KOs 27) Before his devastating knockout loss to Sergio Martinez in their second fight, Williams was probably the most avoided fighter in the game, and the fighter most fans wanted to see challenge Mayweather. While Williams might be on the backside of his career after one of the most controversial wins in history over Erislandy Lara, Williams’s history of impressive wins, 6’1″ frame, 79″ reach, toughness, and ability to throw punches for every second of every round earn him a spot on this list.

*Bradley jumps to number two on this list if he defeats Pacquiao.

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