LAS VEGAS – After yet another unanimous decision victory, this time over the man regarded as the second-best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, it’s fair to ponder what’s next for Floyd Mayweather.
Saturday’s victory over Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena could only be described as Mayweather-esque, as the pound-for-pound king used defense, footwork, a sharp jab and an accurate right hand to win a fairly easy decision.
With one more fight left on his contract with Showtime, Mayweather is scheduled to return to the ring in September for one last fight before, he has repeatedly said, retiring. But whom will he fight?
It isn’t easy following a megafight, no matter the debate over the quality of the bout. And any opponent he faces will not have the juice that Pacquiao provided. In short, Mayweather has pretty much beaten everybody.
“There really ain’t no challengers out there, if you look at it,” Floyd Mayweather Sr. said ringside after his son improved to 48-0. “You look at the ratings and stuff, you don’t see no challengers out there. I don’t see any challengers out there.”
Mayweather Jr. offered no insight to whom might be next at the post-fight news conference either, pleading for the media to allow him to “enjoy my victory.”
But a fight will happen in September. So here are a few names that have been bandied about as Mayweather’s final opponent.
Pros: His name seems to come up the most. He’s a charismatic boxer/puncher with fast hands and he really is skilled, looking great in a one-sided win over Devon Alexander in December 2014.
Cons: He’s had some bad losses in his career, and selling a fighter from the United Kingdom isn’t always easy. Plus, September likely doesn’t work for him because of his religious obligations regarding Ramadan, which will likely end in mid-July and wouldn’t leave Khan enough time to prepare. During Ramadan, Muslims fast and don’t drink liquids from dawn to sunset.
Pros: He looked great taking the WBC middleweight title from Sergio Martinez in June 2014 and is a big name who is a proven pay-per-view commodity.
Cons: Mayweather already beat Cotto in 2012, but it was an entertaining bout. Also, Cotto is scheduled to fight Daniel Geale on June 6, and if he wins he as agreed to fight Canelo Alvarez next, should the young star win Saturday night against James Kirkland.
Pros: He’s the WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion, but all signs are pointing to him moving up. His last fight – a close and perhaps questionable decision over Lamont Peterson – was at a catch weight of 143 pounds. Garcia is undefeated and has had some great moments, including wins over Khan and hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse.
Cons: He’s struggled recently, with many observers feeling he lost a 2014 decision to Mauricio Herrera. Add that to the Peterson performance, in which he looked a lot smaller than his opponent, and he isn’t exactly a hot commodity. Plus, Garcia has said he needs to ease himself into the welterweight division.
Pros: “One Time” is a young, exciting puncher who is undefeated and has legitimate one-punch knockout power. He is charismatic, and his positive energy and likability really come alive in interviews. The WBA welterweight champion would be an easy sell …
Cons: … if only anybody outside of the boxing community had ever heard of him. He did draw decent ratings in the debut of the Premier Boxing Champions series in prime time on NBC, when he defeated Robert Guerrero in an entertaining slugfest in March. At 26, he is young and a big puncher, but without a big name or big following, he could be deemed an unnecessary risk for Mayweather’s final fight.
Pros: Brook is a quality fighter who looked sensational in taking the IBF welterweight belt from Shawn Porter in August 2014. He has slick boxing skills, good punching power and is fully recovered from a bizarre stabbing incident suffered September 2014 while vacationing on the Spanish island of Tenerife.
Cons: He is yet one more quality fighter with a low profile, and like Khan, he’d be another tough sell from the United Kigdom.
This may not be the most intriguing list, but after a career in which Mayweather has defeated such stars as Cotto, Alvarez, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley and now Pacquiao, the truth is that there just isn’t much left out there for the pound-for-pound king.