Showtime's multi-fight deal with "Money" Mayweather (43-0, 26 knockouts) will begin with his May 4 fight against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 knockouts).
Though Mayweather had previously hinted that his next opponent could be Devon Alexander and not Guerrero, many people were more intrigued with the fact that Mayweather's deal to jump from HBO to Showtime includes an option for six fights over a period of 30 months.
It's no secret that Money is very protective of his unblemished loss column so a potential six-bout deal with Showtime is pretty shocking.
At 35 years old, if Mayweather maintains the match making pace he has adopted since 2009—fighting only once a year—then it will be extremely difficult for him to complete the potential six-fight agreement with Showtime.
If Floyd does decide to step it up and face at least two opponents for the next few years, he could conceivably get through six fights with an unblemished record.
Let's take a look at some of the biggest determining factors for Floyd to be able to fight six more times and stay undefeated.
Opponents: Who and When?
At this point in Mayweather's career, the who and the when are of utmost importance. As Golden Boy's hype machine got rolling on Tuesday, CEO Richard Schaefer stated that Robert Guerrero is "the most dangerous and toughest opponent" for Mayweather to face at 147 pounds.
I know, Schaefer will say anything to promote a fight, but the truth is that there aren't many viable options for Mayweather to chose from at welterweight, the division I feel he is most comfortable at. The good, but not great competition at welterweight bodes well for Mayweather, who turns 36 this month, if he is truly looking to fight six times in the next three years.
When May 4 rolls around, Mayweather will have been out of the ring for almost a whole year.
Now is a great time for Floyd to face an opponent like Robert Guerrero who does a lot of things well, but not outstanding. Guerrero is not exceptionally big, fast or strong, so even with the long layoff Floyd's date with Robert should be relatively easy work, even if age starts to creep up a little on Mayweather.
Let's say Floyd does get past Guerrero with ease, and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is able to defeat Austin Trout. This will set the stage for a Mayweather-versus-Alvarez showdown in September.
At 154 pounds, Canelo poses a definite threat to Mayweather because of his size and strength. Though, as long as Floyd doesn't show any drastic wear and tear in the ring versus Guerrero on May 4, he should be the odds-on favorite to defeat "the Mexican Blake Griffin" in September.
One thing to keep in mind is that the older and more stationary that Mayweather gets, the more difficult that a fight versus a young and athletic guy like Alvarez will be.
If Mayweather does, in fact, get past The Ghost and Canelo, who would be next in line to face the pound-for-pound king?
Fights versus Pacquiao and Martinez would surely elevate Mayweather's status as one of the best fighters of all time and would be a phenomenal way to end his career.
Effects of Aging
Aside from the notable exceptions, such as George Foreman and Bernard Hopkins, Father Time has not been kind to boxers.
Mayweather's toughest obstacle to finishing a potential six-fight stretch without a blemish on his record may indeed be the effects of aging. Dr. Ronald Mackenzie, a noted specialist in sports medicine once said that oftentimes, "athletes are motivated by ego and a sense of pride in their performances."
We know that Floyd Mayweather is proud of his ability and lives by the code: hard work and dedication. But, even the most diligent of workers can succumb to hubris. In the case of an athlete, that can lead to a naive attempt to show they haven't lost a step.
Aside from natural ability, one of the factors that has always helped separate Floyd from his opponents is his tireless effort in the gym. But what happens when your most powerful assets—speed and cat-like reflexes—begin to fade?
The age old conflict that so many athletes seem to struggle with is when to call it quits. From Michael Jordan to Roy Jones, we've seen so many great athletes fall from grace simply because the motivating factors inside them never seem to die, even when their bodies can no longer keep up.
Given what we know about Floyd Mayweather the boxer and the match maker, we must assume that he will know when his body can no longer take the rigors of ring life. And if he does truly feel that skills are diminishing a bit, he will undoubtedly protect his undefeated record to the fullest extent.
Gaging "Money May" after May
As is sometimes the case, a fighter's ability to move and throw punches can drastically change from one fight to the next, causing him to seemingly "age overnight."
For this reason, we won't really be able to project Mayweather's future until we see him in action on May 4 versus Robert Guerrero.
If Floyd dominates in his return to the ring, expect his next five opponents to be discussed ad nauseam. But, if Mayweather struggles versus Guerrero or even loses, we may be nearing the end of Floyd's reign.
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