Who should Floyd’s Mayweather next fight foe be?
Floyd Mayweather Jr. of US (L) throws a right as he slips a punch from Canelo Alvarez of Mexico (R) during their WBC/WBA 154-pound title fight the MGM Grand Garden Arena, September 14, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. FP PHOTO / John GURZINSKI
Last weekend Saul Alvarez became Floyd Mayweather Jr’s 45th victim and his unbeaten run doesn’t look liked ending any time soon.
With ‘Canelo’ outclassed, Mayweather’s brilliance means there is a real dearth of quality opponents out there.
Two fights into a six-bout deal, ‘Money’ needs four more quality opponents before he pulls the plug on his outstanding odyssey in the ring.
But who can trouble the pound-for-pound king? Who can ask questions of the undefeated multiple world title-holder?
With the age-defying Mayweather holding belts at welterweight (147 pounds) and junior middleweight (154 pounds), there are just a few options.
His mate Adrien Broner, a mini wannabe-Mayweather, is one. Broner is young, brash and has a 27-0 record.
There is another fellow American, Devon Alexander, who is defending his IBF strap against Amir Khan on December 7.
Khan is also being touted as a possible Mayweather opponent, but arguably more for his standing in the British market and his ability to generate interest there than for his 28 and 3 record.
There’s also Timothy Bradley, who beat Alexander in 2011 and controversially outpointed Manny Pacquiao last year.
Bradley faces Mexican veteran Juan Manuel Marquez next month and, of course, Marquez is the man who knocked out Pacquiao and Australia’s Michael Katsidis.
But at 40 and having already been Mayweather’s 40th victim, back in 2009 by a unanimous points decision, it’s unlikely ‘Money’ would go back to Marquez.
At junior middleweight the choices are also pretty limited – Carlos Molina, Austin Trout and the already-vanquished Alvarez.
At welterweight he has already beaten most of them – Marquez, Robert Guerrero, Shane Mosley. Kell Brook might be a bit of wildcard but – like Bradley, Alexander and Khan – he would be a huge long shot.
At the division below, light welterweight (140 pounds), there is the up-and-coming Danny Garcia. He is young and undefeated, but a date with the man known as ‘Pretty Boy’ would probably be a step too far.
Someone who would give Mayweather a proper contest, a challenge over 12 rounds, is scarce. It is unlikely buddies Broner and Mayweather would fight and, even if they did, you could argue Broner is too inexperienced at this early stage of his career.
Everyone would have loved to see a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight a few years ago. There’s plenty who would still love to see it now. But that seems as likely as a ring comeback from Muhummad Ali.
Pacquiao is with Top Rank and the animosity between the two camps runs deep.
The Filipino’s heavy defeat at the hands of Marquez was effectively a nail in that coffin anyway. Pacquaio would need to demolish Brandon Rios, at the same time as hell freezing over, for that bout to eventuate.
It remains a shame the two greats will never share a ring.
Getting ‘Money’ to go up to 160 pounds, or getting some of the top middleweights to come down to junior middleweight, is where things get a little interesting.
In that division two names stand out – Sergio Martinez and Gennday Golovkin.
Martinez is an experienced, world-class but ageing fighter. He is becoming injury-prone, but if the Argentine is fully fit it could be an intriguing battle.
Golovkin is the KO Kazah king, yet to be beaten after 27 fights and possessing real power.
The defensive specialist against the man who loves to knock people out. That would get many excited.
The other bolter is super middleweight champ Andre Ward. The WBA’s super champion, Ward is a 29-year old San Franciscan who has outpointed the likes of Mikkel Kessler, Australian-based Sako Bika, Arthur Abraham, Carl Forch and Chad Dawson on the way to his 29 straight victories.
A 2004 Olympian gold medal winner at light heavyweight, however, the weight difference between Ward and Mayweather would definitely be a big stumbling point.
Mayweather is after a challenge but there’s not much chance of him giving 21 pounds, or even 14, to an opponent.
So as boxing’s biggest star rests up after another one-sided victory, the questions remain.
Who is next? Who could make an interesting and engaging bout in the final stages of his long and storied career?
There is no clear-cut answer.
But I don’t think Anthony Mundine should be hanging by the phone waiting for a call at this stage.