COMMENTARY | Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions are now deep in the process of finding that next bankable, competitively viable opponent for five-division world champ, Floyd Mayweather. Although there are some solid names within Mayweather's weight range, it's not an easy task to find someone who can pull his share of the promotion while also presenting himself as a legitimate challenge to the future Hall of Famer.
Making things more difficult is a hostile relationship between Mayweather's side of the boxing world and promoter Bob Arum's side. So, off limits to Mayweather are Top Rank stars such as Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, and Brandon Rios.
The conventional, safe choice for Mayweather would be Danny Garcia, the undisputed junior welterweight champ who took the hard-hitting Argentine, Lucas Matthysse to school on the Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez undercard in September, winning a fairly one-sided unanimous decision. Wins over Matthysse, Zab Judah, Amir Khan, and Erik Morales have earned Garcia boxing street cred and some level of name recognition. However, there is still doubt as to whether Garcia is a big enough name and/or whether he can be sold as a viable opponent for Mayweather.
For the third fight of his six-fight deal with Showtime, maybe Mayweather needs to think a little bit outside the box and roll the dice on an unconventional foe. Perhaps the Mayweather-Alvarez blockbuster should be followed up by a shocking match-up that will attract attention because of its unusual stylistic pairing or because of some sort of exploitable back story.
Maybe the search for viable Mayweather opposition has reached a dead end and it's time to begin manufacturing some new challenges. Here are three "outside the box" opponents who could be creative alternatives to the safe, conventional road:
If he beats Mike Alvarado this coming Saturday, and does so in impressive fashion, the Russian brawler will become one of boxing's most talked about characters in the 140-147 lbs. weight range. As someone not under exclusive contract with Top Rank, he'll also be free to enter into honest negotiations with Team Mayweather.
As for Provodnikov as a suitable opponent-his style and temperament will make for an interesting fight while a USA vs. Russia Cold War theme could help sell the bout to the casual fan.
Kirkland has just signed with former Mayweather Money Team partner, 50 Cent and is set to return to the ring December 7. Kirkland, at his best, gives off the vibe of a ring monster out for blood and would be a legitimately dangerous opponent for the much smaller Mayweather.
A science vs. violence theme, along with the Floyd-50 Cent back story would make for definite high drama and help generate monster business.
As a young fighter, Mayweather was bested in a videotaped sparring session with then-IBF lightweight champ, Spadafora. The video would go viral among fight fans and become almost a sacred object for dedicated Mayweather critics. More than a decade later, Spadafora remains undefeated at 48-0-1, but has fallen on hard times following serious legal issues aggravated by drug and alcohol abuse.
Now on the straight and narrow, Spadafora is well past his physical prime at 38 years of age, but could still be sold as the only opponent to ever take Mayweather to school.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. 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.
- Sports & Recreation
- Floyd Mayweather