SPECULATION about Floyd Mayweather’s next opponent began as soon as he was named the winner over Manny Pacquiao in the Fight of the Century. The American superstar refused to speculate on who he’ll fight, but confirmed it would be his last and would take place in September.
Here we list the candidates for that golden ticket, in order of appeal.
1. GENNADY GOLOVKIN
The middleweight terror is the most appealing opponent for Mayweather now that Pacquiao has been vanquished. Unbeaten and at his peak, the WBA champion would represent a huge challenge for Floyd. Victory over Golovkin would be quite a statement to historians who still question Mayweather’s legacy. However, Mayweather has never entertained the idea of a Golovkin showdown and despite his brilliance, GGG is not well known to the sporting world at large.
Chances: Slim and none, and slim just leapt on the first flight out of Las Vegas.
2. AMIR KHAN
British welterweight Khan has spent a long time chasing Floyd. He was famously snubbed by Mayweather in favour of Marcos Maidana last year but still hopes he can one day snare the unbeaten 38-year-old. Some experts believe Khan’s speed, power, and exceptional boxing ability would give Mayweather problems and he appears to represent Floyd’s best welterweight challenger. Ultimately, though, Mayweather chooses his opponents – and not vice-versa – and he has not been amused by Khan’s desperation for the shot.
Chances: Considering Khan cannot fight in September due to Ramadan, the likelihood of fighting Mayweather is low.
3. MANNY PACQUIAO
There is no way a rematch would be as lucrative as their first encounter but the Filipino remains Mayweather’s biggest cash cow. Although Floyd appeared to win comfortably, there was a smattering of respected observers who favoured Manny’s aggression. Their first bout was no classic, but it was far from a dud, and would probably fare well at the Box Office. As an event, Mayweather-Pacquiao was irresistible and Manny’s army of supporters would turn out in their droves again. However, hard to see Pacquiao – whether he was injured or not – improving on the his efforts in a sequel.
Chances: Mayweather did not completely rule out a rematch, and considering his thirst for cash, Pacquiao getting another try should not be discounted.
4. MIGUEL COTTO
The Puerto Rican gave Mayweather a reasonably tough time in 2012, and now sits atop the middleweight ladder after a shocking win over Sergio Martinez last year. Floyd’s intention to give up his welterweight titles – “so he can give the younger guys a chance” – suggests he’s open to moving up in weight and, confident he has the beating of Cotto, claiming yet another divisional crown will appeal. During the tense negotiations for the Pacquiao superfight, Cotto – a massive star in his own right – appeared to be Floyd’s second choice.
Chances: Providing Cotto doesn’t get upset by Daniel Geale next month, he looks like the most likely candidate.
5. KEITH THURMAN
Thurman is one of the leading contenders at welterweight and some have touted him as boxing’s next superstar. Roy Jones Jnr expressed his desire to see this fight but Thurman is yet to beat an elite fighter and, considering this would be billed as Mayweather’s last stand, Thurman lacks widespread appeal as the opponent. Also consider Floyd’s decision to give up his 147lb titles which suggests a fight against the likes of an up-and-comer like Thurman is not on his radar.
Chances: Although relatively appealing to the hardcore fan, Thurman represents the toughest sell out of all the names here.