COMMENTARY | Five-division world champ and current pound-for-pound top dog, Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs), took to social media Tuesday night with a major announcement that pretty much turned the boxing world upside down:
"The negotiations for my fight are almost done," Mayweather said via his official Twitter and Facebook accounts. "The front runner is IBF Champion Devon Alexander. It'd be a unification bout at welterweight."
If this statement is at all based in reality, it completely flips the script on the idea that interim WBC welterweight titlist, Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero would be Mayweather's May 4 opponent at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mayweather-Guerrero has been long-rumored, with the buzz becoming especially strong since Guerrero scored a unanimous decision victory in November over former welterweight titlist, Andre Berto.
Now, if Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs) is, indeed, the front runner for the big-ticket Mayweather bout, all parties will have to deal with a fairly disappointed fan base. It has to be mentioned that fans might balk at the idea of the counter-punching Mayweather squaring off against a mobile, defense-minded southpaw in a match-up that, to be kind, would likely be less than thrilling in terms of ring action.
Mayweather-Alexander being confirmed would also mean that both sides of the fight had to do some major backstage maneuvering in order to get this deal done without anyone finding out.
Alexander was scheduled to defend his IBF welterweight title against highly-regarded UK prospect, Kell Brook, as part of a Showtime card from Detroit, Michigan on February 9. It was reported earlier this week that Alexander had pulled out of the contest due to a bicep injury and that he'd likely be on the shelf for eight weeks or so.
Of course, this decision to withdraw from the Brook fight would fit in perfectly with his people closing in on a deal to face WBC champ, Floyd Mayweather, in a much bigger and better-paid unification bout in, possibly, the biggest boxing event of the year. From a professional point of view, there's no comparing what Alexander can take from a Mayweather bout to what he gets from facing the relatively unknown and unproven Alexander in a much smaller event. Win, lose, or draw against Mayweather, Alexander's star will rise just from being in the same ring as Mayweather.
For Mayweather, moving from Guerrero to Alexander is pretty much a lateral move in terms of what he can get from the bout. From a pure boxing point of view, the significantly more aggressive Guerrero would produce a much more entertaining performance than Alexander. Plus, with the bout being held on Cinco de Mayo weekend, the Mexican-American Guerrero would also make more sense from a marketing perspective.
But, as we've seen over and over again, "Money" Mayweather does what "Money" Mayweather wants-- and if he's dead set on Devon Alexander, nothing will likely move him from his selection.
Something to consider is that all of this may be another tweaking of the media just to get a reaction. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that Mayweather has said something just for shock value. The Hall of Fame fighter has been jabbing at the media ever since he learned that doing so could make him a very wealthy man.
Another possibility is that Mayweather could be floating Alexander's name out there as a bargaining tool to lower Guerrero's asking price. The timing and manner of this "revelation" is odd and seems more in line with being a decoy of some sort rather than an actual announcement.
But, with Mayweather, you just never know.
It shouldn't surprise anyone in the least if, in a matter of hours, Mayweather comes out with something totally different and completely shifts directions. Stay tuned.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Floyd Mayweather's Official Twitter Account