As in the aftermath of all huge championship fights, and most definitely in Floyd Mayweather’s career over the last five years, when one fight ends it takes only minutes for the boxing fans and media to start discussing the next bout. With “The One” finally over talks of Floyd Mayweather and Saul Canelo Alvarez’s next opponents swirled through the boxing world like a tornado. For one, is seems obvious, and for the other, it seems endless.
First the obvious, Saul Canelo Alvarez. His next opponent will most likely be based on what happens October 5th between Miguel Cotto and Delvin Rodriguez. The expectation is that Cotto will win under new trainer Freddie Roach. Should that happen, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer has already said that his interest in a Canelo-Cotto matchup next is what he wants. The fight shouldn’t be hard to make. Cotto his is own promoter, and is bound to no network. He has a good relationship with Golden Boy and isn’t afraid to fight anyone. A matchup against Canelo would make perfect sense for him should he beat Rodriguez in the coming weeks. The pickings are slim right now at 154 for Canelo, and should a Cotto fight fall through, it’ll be hard matching him with someone that can generate some extra buzz. Schaefer would likely want a Canelo-Cotto fight to be a PPV event. If he can’t get Cotto, then Canelo’s next fight will likely be against a tune-up fighter on regular Showtime. Carlos Molina makes sense. Maybe they take a chance and go for a rematch against Austin Trout. My bet though is that Canelo-Cotto gets done, and we see it in February or March on PPV.
Now, the endless, but most difficult. Floyd Mayweather. While the opponents range from Danny Garcia to Amir Khan to Devon Alexander, the biggest question doesn’t revolve around who gives Mayweather the toughest fight, but instead who is the biggest seller. Truth be told none of the above guys stand a chance at beating Mayweather in the ring, and trying to get the public to believe that one of them can would be an utter joke. With the Guerrero PPV buys being as low as they were, it’s a proven fact that Mayweather needs some sort of star or threat as an opponent to generate more than one million PPV buys. And since Mayweather destroyed the only opponent that posed that, he has no one left.
Amir Khan may be the biggest seller, if it happens in the UK. However, the likelihood of Mayweather traveling there is low. Once they put some numbers together, and time difference issues, Mayweather will realize that it financially makes sense to stay in Vegas. Also, Khan has Devon Alexander to worry about on December 14th, a fight that he’s not even close to guaranteed win, and he may not even be the favorite in. Danny Garcia isn’t a draw yet, and poses no threat to Floyd. At least not enough to generate PPV buys. A fight against Devon Alexander isn’t sellable either. Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin might generate some interest but both fighters are fighting at 160 right now. Both claim that they could make 154 to fight Mayweather but that high risk fight against a much bigger opponent will likely be something the Mayweather camp will try to stay away from.
Essentially, Mayweather’s problem is the product of his own dominance. After teaching Canelo a boxing lesson, who was the biggest threat to him out there, no one in the world believes he can be beaten. Because of that, “casual” boxing fans don’t want to buy his fights because they think he is boring. After all these years one would think people would have gotten used to it, and they would appreciate what he does in the ring. However, that isn’t the case. People want to see someone challenge Floyd, and knock him out. A popular Mexican fighter always sells a little more however right now there isn’t one for him. As long as that threat isn’t there ‘casual’ fans will not buy the fight. Those are the fans that push Mayweather over 1 million PPV buys. It appears that Floyd’s hardest fight will not be in the ring next, but outside of it. Who can he face that will generate buzz?
Well, interestingly enough, the name Manny Pacquaio has once again surfaced. Immediately after Floyd washed Canelo, our twitter feed was buzzing with Manny Pacquiao tweets. People still want it. And it would likely crush the Canelo PPV numbers (which has not been released yet but are rumored to be in the 2-2.3 million range.) If Pacquiao were to beat Rios, and a miracle were to get done to where Mayweather-Pacquiao did happen, it would likely make Floyd Mayweather the first person in boxing history to sell over 2 million PPV buys in three different fights. And the first person to ever do it back to back. Even four years later it would be bigger than Mayweather-Canelo, which is hard to imagine.
Can it happen? Can the fight that everyone has been wanting to see over the last four years finally come to light? First, Pacquiao would have to beat Rios. Second, there would have to be serious interest on Mayweather’s side of the court. If Floyd wants it, despite all the Top Rank vs Golden Boy and HBO vs Showtime craziness, it could happen. With the amount of money the fight would generate, everyone would win. It wouldn’t be easy to make but it could happen. The fans will likely have to wait till January to hear about Floyd’s next fight, and a Pacquaio fight will likely not happen, but if there’s one thing we always learn in the sport of boxing, it’s that anything is possible.