No matter what happens for the remainder of Floyd "Money" Mayweather's career, his legacy as one of the sport's greatest fighters is safe. If you said to me that he is already the greatest fighter of his era and one of the five best ever, I wouldn't dispute your point. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is a very good fighter who will likely prove to be great before his career is over.
Money made him look like a B-Class fighter. All things considered, the win over Canelo could be Mayweather's most impressive performance.
That said, his career isn't over. In accordance with his mega deal with Showtime/CBS, Money has, by his own words, "24 months left," per George Willis of the New York Post. This would equate to four more fights at his current pace.
Mayweather has already made a fortune in his career, but he stands to earn even more cash before he walks away from the sport. With four fights left in his illustrious career, Mayweather's legacy doesn't hang in the balance, but retiring undefeated would put him in a class almost by himself.
In chronological order, here is a list of fighters Mayweather could fight to maximize his earning potential and take his legendary status to a new level.
May 2014: Danny Garcia
On the undercard of Mayweather-Canelo, Danny Garcia out-boxed and clearly defeated Lucas Matthysse. Matthysse was dropped for the first time in his career and Garcia displayed boxing skills and toughness that left the rugged Argentinian baffled.
Garcia is just 25 years old, but he holds the WBA and WBC light welterweight titles. With an undefeated record of 27-0 and wins over Amir Khan and Matthysse, Garcia has earned a shot at Mayweather.
With both fighters working with Golden Boy Promotions in some capacity, there shouldn't be any contractual issues with signing the fight. Love him or hate him, Garcia's father Angel is great for pre-fight hype. Imagine what the Showtime All Access episodes would be like for this fight.
Garcia is a very good fighter, but Mayweather's speed and punching accuracy should be enough to win a decision. He would have a chance to stop Garcia late if his hands hold up.
September 2014: Amir Khan
Assuming Khan wins his next two fights, he would be a logical challenger for Mayweather. Khan will likely battle Devon Alexander for the IBF welterweight title in December. That is no easy win. Alexander is quick and a good enough puncher to rock Khan.
Khan is as talented as any fighter in the world, but his weak chin makes him very beatable against just about any high-caliber fighter in his weight region.
On the other side of the coin, he has tremendous hand speed and good punching power. It would be an interesting fight. Floyd would have to be careful early as to not get caught by a big shot, but once he has three rounds to study Khan, he'd find the range and likely knock him out in the seventh or eighth round.
May 2015: Manny Pacquiao
This is the fight many fans have wanted for years. Their history of back-and-forth jabs and near-agreements is long. Provided Pacquiao beats Brandon Rios in November and wins one or two fights after that, the small window of opportunity to fight Mayweather may be open as wide as it ever will be.
Both men would likely be on their last two or three fights and would have to realize this would be the final opportunity to cash in on what may be the biggest payday for two fighters in the history of the sport.
If Mayweather's skills are as sharp as they have been in his last two fights, he'll out-box Manny for 12 rounds and frustrate him for an easy win.
Sept. 2015: Adrien Broner
Both Broner and Mayweather have said they won't fight each other, but we all know things can change. If this is to be Mayweather's final fight, taking on his protege (who has attempted to model his path after Money) would be a fitting end.
Broner has seemingly been more adamant that he wouldn't fight Mayweather. Money hasn't been as vocal about the prospects.
In fact, Floyd Mayweather Sr. believes the fight could happen, per David Mayo of MLive.com.
Which one of these four fighters would have the best chance to beat Mayweather?
Once Mayweather has retired, the battle for pound-for-pound supremacy may very well come down to Broner and Alvarez. How much of a punctuation would Money make if he walked away undefeated and with a win over the two men in position to dominate the sport once he's gone?
Fighting Mayweather in the latter part of 2015 would be ideal for Broner. He'd have an opportunity to gain more experience and notoriety. That said, it wouldn't really change the outcome.
As long as Money is still fighting at an elite level, he'd easily out-box Broner. Paulie Malignaggi proved that a slick boxer with good hand speed could give Broner issues. Mayweather is miles ahead of Malignaggi and he'd likely box circles around Broner.
The two men could keep their word and never fight each other; but if they don't, this is the spot where it would make the most sense for both of them.
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