On May 4, 2013, Floyd Mayweather made his triumphant return to the ring by defeating Robert Guerrero to win the WBC and The Ring Welterweight titles. Money dismantled Guerrero for 12 rounds, eventually winning by unanimous decision after yet another brilliant display of mental and physical abilities.
The question is, who should Mayweather fight next?
According to Dan Rafael of ESPN, "Money" Mayweather has 30 months remaining in his professional boxing career. In that time, he hopes to schedule five fights and cap off his illustrious career before the age of 40.
After that, it's commentary for the boxing world's most recognizable personality.
"In 30 months my career is over," he said. "I want to rack up my six victories and hopefully do commentating and keep the sport of boxing alive. That's what I'm focused on."
He later added, "Well, you know, I only have 30 months left, so I want to just help clean the sport up. After this fight I've got five more fights. That's all I got to do, finish putting them stamps on my legacy."
With only five opportunities to solidify his status as one of the best to ever do it, picking the proper opponent is more important than ever.
We know that one of the top priorities is landing a major pay day, but that comes regardless of whom he fights. After all, Mayweather did make a record $32 million guaranteed off of his fight against Guerrero—the same mark he made against Miguel Cotto.
So who should Mayweather fight next in order to build his legacy?
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez
If Floyd Mayweather is to fight and defeat Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, detractors will claim that Money picked on a younger fighter. If Mayweather is to pick someone other than Canelo, however, we'll hear how Pretty Boy Floyd is scared.
You really can't win here.
Canelo currently has a cleared schedule after defeating Austin Trout in a fight for the WBC and WBA Light Middlweight titles. Alvarez has held the WBC belt since Mar. 5, 2011 and is widely considered to be one of the best young fighters in the world.
The 22-year-old is already 42-0-1 with 31 knockouts.
With the opportunity to take on the elite youth of the boxing world, Mayweather can prove his status as an ageless wonder even more. Not only would a win solidify his status as the best in the world, but he'd endure the pleasure of ending another fighter's undefeated streak.
Fans will crucify Mayweather if he "dodges" Alvarez and question why he wouldn't fight him. Either way, this fight would lead to a major pay day with tremendous headlines.
With only five fights left on the slate, the time will never be better than now for Mayweather to take this one.
Sergio Martinez is the Lineal Middleweight champion. If Floyd Mayweather is looking to build upon his already decorated career, there are few available fighters with as much star power as Martinez.
Unfortunately, fans will instantly claim that Mayweather ducked the young guns by fighting the 38-year-old Martinez—you know, because age outweighs the fact that he's the champion.
Martinez has been on a tear, winning seven consecutive fights since losing by majority decision to Paul Williams on Dec. 5, 2009. In that time, he's avenged his loss to Williams by taking care of business with a second-round KO.
Kelly Pavlik and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. are two of the others who have fallen to Martinez's fists—Chavez Jr. had been undefeated at the time of the fight.
Martinez has a history of ending undefeated streaks, and Mayweather simply cannot be touched when in the ring. The fight has extraordinary potential, and "Money" would be fighting the best available man if he chose this match.
The critics will be against him either way, but Martinez is certainly a viable opponent here.
Bitter boxing fans will claim that Floyd Mayweather ducked Manny Pacquiao. They'll also say that they no longer have interest in seeing this fight transpire.
At the very least, that latter statement is entirely false.
Mayweather versus Pacquiao would be the biggest fight boxing has promoted in years. The revenue would be unheard of, and the fight itself would draw the attention of fans and outsiders across the globe.
According to ESPN UK, Pacquiao still wants the fight to happen.
Unfortunately, Pacquiao lost his most recent fight against Juan Manuel Marquez and is currently slated to face Brandon Rios. Something tells me a few strings would be pulled to change that if the Mayweather fight became available.
We all want to see it—we just don't believe it'll ever happen.