Floyd Mayweather: Predicting Opponents for 6-Bout Mega-Deal with Showtime
Call it the shot heard round the boxing world.
Undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. shocked the boxing world earlier Tuesday when he announced he was leaving HBO and signing what we can only assume is a highly lucrative six-fight deal with rival Showtime (per Dan Rafael of ESPN.com).
Mayweather, who has spent the majority of his career with HBO, and Showtime say the details of the package are contractually confidential, but for boxing's biggest pay-per-view star, you'd have to imagine the figure is staggering.
The question now becomes, who are the six men who will be lucky enough to hit the Floyd Mayweather lottery and share the spoils of this new contract?
Let's assess a few of the possibilities.
Reaction and Analysis
Before we even get into the possibilities, let's manage some of the fallout. The boxing world is rightfully buzzing over this topic, and some of the reactions are telling.
HBO issued the following statement upon learning of the deal (via BoxingScene.com):
We made an aggressive and responsible pay-per-view offer. Now we move on. We are focused on the best boxing franchise in the television business. We are proud of the roster of superstar fighters and emerging stars who are scheduled to appear on the multiple HBO television platforms this year.
Responsible is the key word here. HBO has been reluctant to hand out mega-deals in the past, and Mayweather's not exactly the easiest cat to deal with. Perhaps they tired of it or just got blown out of the water by Showtime.
Predictably, Mayweather senior advisor Leonard Ellerbe was effusive in his praise for the deal (via Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com):
The biggest and baddest star in the sport also happens to be the highest paid athlete in all of sports. Those things go hand in hand. And this will enable Floyd to bring more visibility to the sport, which will attract more fans to the sport. When you look at young fighters out there, they mention one name and one name only.
It will be interesting to see how much CBS plays into this equation. If indeed it plays a major role in promoting the sport of boxing on network TV, then Ellerbe is correct. This could indeed be a major moment for the sport and its biggest star.
In addition to announcing his deal with Showtime, Floyd Mayweather also ended speculation about who would be his opponent in the first fight of the deal.
Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KO) is the interim WBC welterweight champion and has been announced as Mayweather's opponent on May 4 on Showtime PPV.
Guerrero, who dominated former welterweight titlist Andre Berto in his last fight, has a tough and rugged style that will give most fighters fits.
It remains to be seen how well he will be able to hang with Mayweather, whose speed, counterpunching and defensive prowess are legendary.
Unlike the other fights on this list, Mayweather vs. Guerrero is a done deal and will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 4 of this year.
Should he get by Robert Guerrero in May, the immediate speculation then turns to the next fight of Floyd's career, which is slated to take place on September 14, again in Las Vegas.
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KO) is the WBC junior middleweight champion and has been on a collision course with Mayweather for the past year or so.
Some would argue that Alvarez, who has yet to defeat a true junior middleweight contender, has been built-up specifically for a clash with the pound-for-pound king.
You would have to assume that Showtime, who definitely gave Floyd Mayweather a boatload of cash in this deal, did so with some assurance that this fight would be part of the deal.
It's rapidly becoming the biggest fight in boxing, at least from a business standpoint, and has the potential to break box office and PPV records.
The expiration date for a proposed superfight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao passed a while back, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't still do big business.
Mayweather's fans and haters will still buy it—alternately hoping their hero/villain silences the critics or gets silenced—and it'll still be a huge event for the sport.
Pacquiao will obviously need to do some work and remove the stain of his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez before this fight gets discussed again, but the potential is certainly there.
Showtime didn't invest all this money in a fighter like Mayweather to not get the best out of him. Here's hoping that this deal provides the impetus for the long-anticipated fight being made.
Sergio Martinez is often mentioned among those mythical matchups for Floyd Mayweather that most feel will never happen.
The reason's are obvious.
Martinez would be by far the biggest and strongest fighter "Money" has ever stepped into the ring with and will possess several physical advantages.
It would be a very dramatic fight from the moment it's made because for the first time in seemingly forever, Floyd Mayweather could find himself in there with a fighter who not only can win but based on his advantages should win.
The Argentine middleweight champion would provide Mayweather with a chance to capture a world championship in a sixth weight division.
Danny Garcia is currently the unified junior welterweight champion holding both the WBA and WBC titles.
Any potential clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr. would need to take place at a higher weight, likely welterweight, since "Money" hasn't fought below 147 pounds in eight years.
Before this fight can become a possibility, Garcia will need to improve his credibility with the mainstream boxing fan community.
His impressive wins over Amir Khan and Erik Morales were big boosts, but he'll need to build his fanbase, particularly among the Puerto Rican community, to gain a larger appeal.
If he can do that and is willing to move up in weight, he could eventually find his way into the biggest event in boxing.
Can you think of a better final fight for the illustrious career of Floyd Mayweather Jr. than a potential, by then, superfight late in 2015 against Adrien "The Problem" Broner?
The 23-year-old Cincinnati native has drawn many favorable, and some unfavorable, comparisons to Mayweather, both in the ring and with his brashness outside of it.
He's on the verge of superstardom and hopes to seize the mantle of biggest star in the sport from Mayweather when he decides to retire.
What better way than to take it from him? The storylines of the bout sell themselves.
Old vs. New. Youth vs. Experience.
Passing of the torch or one last showcase of greatness?
It may seem far-fetched at this point, and let's not confuse this for saying Broner is on the level at this stage. But by the time this contract runs out, he could be.