Floyd Mayweather's Willingness to Fight Top Competition Is a Win-Win for Boxing

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Floyd Mayweather's Willingness to Fight Top Competition Is a Win-Win for Boxing
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Floyd Mayweather wants to put his perfection on the line against the best competition.

In an article by Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated last week, Money acknowledged that he is willing to face the best challenger:

"I'm older and wiser," Mayweather said. "I don't need to put myself in any rough predicaments anymore. I've done all that. I don't have to come out and tell you guys how fast my hands are or how good my jab is. I just have to go out there and do it."

"There are still tough competitors still in the sport," Mayweather said. "I want to compete with the top competition."

Mayweather squaring off against the best available competition is needed for boxing. As written by Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, Money's victory over Robert Guerrero did not cash in as much compared to previous bouts:

The pay-per-view sales for the fight with Guerrero will not approach the 1.5 million Mayweather generated for his fight last May with Miguel Cotto, his last fight before leaving longtime TV home HBO for the Showtime/CBS deal.

In Mayweather's fights before Cotto, he generated 1.2 million pay-per-view buys against Victor Ortiz, 1.35 million against Shane Mosley and 1.1 million against Juan Manuel Marquez. In 2007, Mayweather set the all-time pay-per-view record with Oscar De La Hoya, the A-side of that fight, with a whopping 2.48 million buys.

Additionally, boxing is way down on the list when it comes to popularity. Harris Interactive recorded the following data last year in response to the question, "If you had to choose, which ONE of these sports would you say is your favorite?":

Base: All adults who follow one or more sport

Sport

2009 %

2010 %

2011 %

2012 %

Pro football

35

31

36

34

Baseball

16

17

13

16

College football

12

12

13

11

Auto racing

9

7

8

8

Men's pro basketball

5

6

5

7

Men's college basketball

3

4

5

3

Hockey

4

5

5

5

Men's tennis

1

2

2

2

Boxing

2

1

2

1

Mayweather taking on top competition will obviously help with ratings and overall popularity. The problem, however, is the shallowness of top talent available.

Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is widely considered to be the best at the moment. Sporting an undefeated record of 42-0-1, Alvarez brings the size, power and precision when attacking to put Mayweather on his heels. Factor in Money's defense and ability to counterattack, and it would be one intriguing matchup.

Josh Hedges/Getty Images

Per Rafael on Friday, Canelo is in the discussion as a possible opponent for Money:

[Richard] Schaefer said he is hopeful of finalizing a fight between Mayweather, the pound-for-pound king, and unified junior middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, a match that looms as one of the biggest in boxing.

"This is something I am pursuing, and I am having conversations with both sides," Schaefer said. "Canelo wants the fight, and Floyd has never turned down an opponent."

Which fighter best would put Mayweather's perfection in jeopardy?

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Outside of Alvarez, though, who else is capable of pulling the upset by defeating Mayweather?

Manny Pacquiao remains a viable option, but he has lost two straight bouts. Austin Trout supplies the size and reach; however, he fell to Alvarez.

As for other welterweights, Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez duel in September. The winner of that fight is definitely marketable, although that potential matchup wouldn't take place for quite a while.

Plus, Money already defeated Marquez, which does put more pressure on Bradley to remain perfect for a chance at challenging the 36-year-old.

Regardless of whom and when Mayweather lines up against during his next slate of opponents, though, it has to be the toughest of challengers. His legacy needs it, boxing needs it and, perhaps most importantly, the fans deserve it.

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