Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but as long as he and Manny Pacquiao continue to avoid a fight with each other, boxing fans will have to look towards others who can give Money May a challenge in the ring.
While Pacquiao certainly has the best chance to defeat Mayweather, there are several young and talented fighters who have yet to reach their full potential and would not allow the undefeated fighter to add another victory easily.
Mayweather still has not scheduled his next fight. Although people will be hoping for Pacquiao to be named as his opponent, this does not seem likely at this point.
Here are three fighters that would provide Mayweather with a difficult fight.
The undefeated 22-year-old has continued to build his reputation as one of the brightest talents in boxing.
He is 41-0-1 in his career and is coming off a TKO over Josesito Lopez in which he defended his WBC Light Middleweight title for the fifth consecutive time.
Through his 41 victories, Alvarez has proven to be fearless and aggressive. This provides a complete contrast to Mayweather, who is the most masterful defensive fighter of his generation.
If Mayweather were to agree to a fight with Alvarez, these two fighters would provide an extremely entertaining bout. Alvarez’ relentless attacks would have to break through Mayweather’s impenetrable defense in order for an upset. Although Mayweather would be heavily favored, the contest would still be thrilling to watch.
While Alvarez and Mayweather have contrasting styles, Bradley provides Mayweather with an opponent who will employ an almost identical strategy.
Bradley is a superbly conditioned fighter with fantastic defensive reflexes. Sound familiar?
Mayweather also has these qualities, and has been significantly more effective at putting them to use across his career. Bradley is younger, though, and if he can avoid Mayweather’s lethal counter-punching ability then he may be able to make the fight last until the final bell.
As Bradley proved in his last fight, anything can happen after that.
Martinez is coming off of an impressive victory over Julio Chavez Jr. in September, and as a middleweight fighter, he would provide Mayweather with a unique challenge.
Money May is normally a welterweight fighter at 147 pounds, while Martinez routinely fights at 160 pounds.
Martinez, at 37 years old, is an experienced fighter who would be able to use his size and strength intelligently. His speed and athleticism will give Mayweather’s blocking ability a serious test.
Ultimately, Mayweather will be heavily favored in any fight he takes against a fighter other than Pacquiao, but each of these three boxers offers would challenge him in different ways.