ON Saturday night Floyd Mayweather announced his retirement from boxing.
It’s not the first time he’s stepped away from the sport. He had a hiatus of almost two years before fighting Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009. His straightforward 2015 points win over Andre Berto was also at the time supposedly Mayweather’s last contest. But few believed he’d be able to resist coming back to take his record to 50-0.
He proved his starpower, if not much else, when he halted UFC brawler Conor McGregor in Las Vegas. But afterwards Mayweather insisted this time it really was over and out. For so long we have been accustomed to Mayweather being at the top. Now we wait to see who will take over the mantle as the biggest star in boxing. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Anthony Joshua
Arguably the British big man is already there. He filled Wembley stadium for his tremendous showdown with Wladimir Klitschko. That fight had the whole world talking. Joshua had amply demonstrated his skill and power on the road to his world titles, in the Klitschko fight he showcased his grit, determination and resilience, in short proving himself the real deal. A charismatic champion, in the prestige division, Joshua could rule at heavyweight for a long time to come.
2. Canelo Alvarez
Canelo has a fanatical following already. The Mexican is one of the more glamorous stars in the sport and has already taken on big name opposition in Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto. His clash with Gennady Golovkin is one of the biggest fights of the year. It is though a fight that Alvarez could lose. Then he’d face something of rebuilding job but at his young age that should not be a major obstacle. And if he wins he’s a superstar.
3. Terence Crawford
With the abdication of Mayweather perhaps Crawford could become America’s next great boxer. Already he is a two-weight world champion and the undisputed king at 140lbs after unifying all four super-lightweight world titles, a rare achievement. Currently well supported in his home state of Nebraska, he needs to broaden his appeal. Promoter Top Rank’s deal with broadcast giant ESPN could be the avenue for him to do just that.
4. Errol Spence
Spence is a natural successor to Mayweather in the welterweight division. He is an all-American welterweight, exciting to watch with an aggressive style and the power to deliver highlight reel knockouts. Beating Kell Brook in Sheffield was a huge step for him in the right direction, but now needs the big fights at welterweight; Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia or even Manny Pacquiao.
5. Vasyl Lomachenko
In terms of pure boxing ability, the Ukrainian is the man to take over the mantle as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the sport. He has won the Olympic Games twice at two weights, and was arguably the best boxer in both tournaments. Less than 10 fights into his professional career he became a two-weight world champion. He is a testy character and has never gleefully embraced media duties, so there are possible brakes on his star potential.