HAVING sat ringside in Las Vegas to watch Manny Pacquiao defeat Jessie Vargas at the weekend, Floyd Mayweather sent speculation over his potential comeback into overdrive. He retired last year after a woeful mismatch against Andre Berto, which followed his underwhelming – but mostrously lucrtive – win over Pacquiao. There are numerous incentives for his return to the ring, most namely an obscene amount of money. Here, we’ve taken a look at the options the 39-year-old has in front of him.
Manny Pacquiao rematch
Floyd was ringside in Vegas due to an invitation from Pacquiao, though Mayweather insisted the only reason he was there was to take his daughter. Regardless, he was seen chatting to some of Pacquiao’s representatives, including Todd duBoef. Due to their disappointing first fight, a rematch with Pacquiao is only likely to generate roughly half as much money – which is still enough to make you rub your eyes in disbelief. For Mayweather, it’s the most amount of money he can earn for what he would consider not much risk, given how comfortably he beat Manny in 2015. As Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, recently pointed out, a lot of the legwork of negotiations were done for the first fight and the two sides remain on decent terms, meaning a rematch would be markedly easier to make. It remains the top of Pacquiao’s wishlist.
Of course, Mayweather may have just attended the Vargas fight to generate a few headlines and sow his face. It wasn’t a long trip from his home, after all.
Like it or not, this bizarre boxing/mixed martial arts crossover fight has been mooted for months. Both men have addressed it in the media and both have expressed interest in it, though Mayweather insists it would be a boxing match with boxing rules. Dana White, UFC frontman and McGregor’s promoter, has said any negotiations would have to go through him due to Conor’s contract.
Again, for Mayweather it represents an opportunity to line his pockets with a king’s ransom for a fight in which he would be a heavy favourite. If it happened, he would be fighting a novice boxer. However both men have stratospheric profiles and the mainstream appeal of this matchup would make it a blockbuster event. This weekend McGregor vies to become the first fighter to hold UFC titles in two weight classes simultaneously when he fights lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. Should he win, the Irishman will cement his status as one of the biggest stars in combat sports.
There are rumours Mayweather will travel to New York to watch McGregor fight Alvarez (though it seems unlikely) and Conor has teased ‘big’ things after the bout.
Canelo Alvarez rematch
In 2013 Mayweather trounced a green Canelo in a record-breaking mega-fight. Since Mayweather’s retirement the flame-haired Mexican has become boxing’s biggest draw and, pound for pound, one of the best fighters in the world. He has vastly improved since his underwheming showing against Mayweather and recently returned to 154lbs after flirting with the middleweight division. Whether he remains at a weight he struggles to make is not yet clear, but he would certainly stay there for another crack at Floyd.
Though it would be going over old ground, a return between these two superstars would still be huge and would have added intrigue given the extra size and strength Alvarez has added since his loss to Mayweather.
Canelo is currently sidelined through injury and there are murmurs that when he returns, it would be at middleweight.
On paper, this is the most tantalising option for Mayweather. ‘GGG’ is the unified middleweight world champion and regarded as one of the most dangerous fighters on the planet. In recent years he has also emerged as a genuine star, charming fans with his babyface smile before enthralling them with his destructive fists. He and his team have insisted he would drop to 154lbs, or some sort of catchweight, for a fight with the smaller Mayweather.
Though Golovkin is not quite the ‘name’ that Alvarez, McGregor or Pacquiao are he is undoubtedly the biggest challenge out of all of them. Mayweather loves his money, but he also calls himself ‘The Best Ever’. A win over Golovkin would massively enhance his standing as an all-time great.
Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia winner
These two welterweight champions are set to collide in March, and the winner will hold some considerable pulling power. The unbeaten victor would also be an attractive option for Mayweather, who was reportedly considering Garcia as a potential comeback opponent anyway.
He would be a favourite over either man but in the court of public opinion, a fight with the winner would be a worthwhile test. However neither Thurman nor Garcia are crossover stars and Floyd could potentially earn more money if he looked elsewhere.
He might not come back at all. He earned hundreds of millions of dollars during his career and his promotional company continues the cashflow. His lavish lifestlye means he burns through money at an alarming rate, but maybe not so much that he needs to return to boxing. At almost 40 years old, Mayweather’s body will be feeling the effects of operating at an elite level for decades. He has children and plenty of interests outside of the sport and may well decide to stay away for good.