Floyd Mayweather was triumphant once again on May 5, scoring a Unanimous Decision victory over Miguel Cotto to capture a title in the Junior Middleweight division and retain his undefeated professional record, now 43-0.
Mayweather has expressed his desire to fight again this fall, and there's already been speculation about his next opponent. Of course, he'll have plenty of time to get to the business of plotting his next move in the ring as he's whisked away to jail for a mandatory 87-day vacation.
While Manny Pacquiao automatically tops the list of fighters Mayweather should face, those negotiations continue to sputter, stall and fail. Therefore, here's a list of the top 5 possible opponents for Mawyeather besides Pacquiao.
1. Sergio Martinez
Maravilla is awaiting a showdown against the winner of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Andy Lee fight, but he'd be even more eager to face Mayweather. The fight would likely need to be arranged at a catchweight, perhaps around 156 lbs, which would nullify some of the size and strength advantages that Martinez brings to the table. Still, Mayweather has little to lose in going up against the recognized middleweight champion, while the rewards in terms of his legacy and all-timer credentials are vast.
2. Andre Berto (if he beats Victor Ortiz)
Berto has a score to settle with Victor Ortiz as the two men finally meet this July for their highly anticipated rematch. It's far from a foregone conclusion that Berto defeats Ortiz this time around, but if he does, he immediately becomes one of the most intriguing opponents for Mayweather. He'll have avenged his lone defeat and scored a victory against a guy Mayweather recently faced, and in the process he would become the highest ranked opponent at welterweight whose name doesn't rhyme with smackuiao.
3. Saul Canelo Alvarez
Fighting Saul Alvarez provides a great opportunity for Mayweather, but as I've already written, a terrible one for Canelo. The fight would sell well and be a big event, but Canelo simply doesn't have enough to be very competitive against Mawyeather right now. It would be a fun match and I believe Mayweather would put on a brutally effective clinic, knocking off an undefeated superstar in the making.
4. Amir Khan (if he beats Lamont Peterson)
As of today, it's unclear if the scheduled May 19 Khan vs. Peterson rematch will even take place, due to Peterson's failed drug test. If it does, Khan's plan is clearly to avenge his defeat and move up to welterweight to chase Mayweather. Mayweather has long stated his desire to fight in the UK, and a match against Khan is the perfect opportunity to reengage the British fan base. While it's not a fight against Pacquiao, it is a fight against a Freddie Roach disciple.
5. Devon Alexander / Kell Brook / Mike Jones / Paulie Malignaggi
This quartet represents the most intriguing of the remaining top 10 welterweight contenders. Brook and Jones are undefeated prospects, while Alexander and Malignaggi are well known commodities. None of these are truly "big" fights, however, any of them would suffice as a placeholder this fall until something major got put together. Better yet, if any of these guys fought one of the others during Mayweather's prison stint, the winner would emerge as a bigger name and more appealing candidate.
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Sources: HBO PPV, ESPN.com/Boxing, Boxrec.com, My weight class rankings on ProBoxing-Fans.com
Jake Emen runs the boxing news websiteProBoxing-Fans.com. You can find more of his writing, along with interviews, rankings and breaking news stories at the site, or you can follow ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.
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- Floyd Mayweather
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- Victor Ortiz