Floyd Mayweather’s undefeated streak roles on, as he triumphed over a dogged Marcos Maidana by majority decision in Las Vegas.
Now both the WBC and WBA champion, Mayweather won 117-111 and 116-112 with two of the judges, with one scoring the bout level at 114-114.
Whom should Mayweather fight next?
The man dubbed "Money" is now unbeaten in 46 professional fights, and after coming out on top here, talk has already turned to whom the 37-year-old could tackle next, with his current contract dictating that he will fight again in September.
You suspect willing opponents for Maidana won’t be in short supply either following his performance here. El Chino fared well against the veteran Mayweather, cutting him above his eye in the fourth round after dominating plenty of the early exchanges.
Money paid tribute to to his opponent in the aftermath, stating “finally I was in a tough, competitive fight” per Scott Christ of BadLeftHook.com.
The Argentinian was a little less gracious in defeat, insisting that he should have been crowned victor:
After an intriguing battle, more probing questions seem to exist now than they did prior to the fight. But the most pertinent seems to be whom these two fighters will pomp for as their next opponents. Let’s take a look at the possibilities.
Mayweather’s run just keeps on going, and it’s a truly remarkable achievement to go an entire professional career without a solitary blemish on his record. At this stage of his career, he has earned the right to choose whomever he wants as his next opponent.
The fight the world wants to see is against Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino fighter beat Timothy Bradley back in April, and with his contract with Top Rank set to expire at the end of this year, Pac-Man seems to be at a dead end in terms of whom he’s going to fight next, with a fifth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez rumoured to be on the cards, per Vittorio Hernandez of the International Business Times.
There has been talk of a possible extension with the Bob Arum stable, per Dan Rafael of ESPN, but if Pacquiao was to let his contract run down, this could be the best possible chance of a bout happening between the world’s two blue-ribbon fighters.
Another option comes in the shape of a fighter who fought on the Mayweather vs. Maidana undercard. After his imperious performance against Luis Collazo, Amir Khan is being touted as a potential future opponent for Floyd.
The Brit showed a newfound maturity against a comparatively cumbersome Collazo, picking his shots well, whilst showcasing unshakeable power, consistency and discipline throughout the 12 rounds. He eventually won comfortably on a unanimous points decision.
The stumbling block here could be Mayweather’s willingness to fight in September, whereas Khan has insisted he will not fight due to his religious beliefs:
Amir Khan makes it clear: He will not fight @FloydMayweather in September. Ramadan comes first. "Push it to November," Khan said.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2014
It’s clear Mayweather has considered Khan as a potential opponent after the 37-year-old let his supporters choose whom he should fight between Maidana and Khan in a Twitter poll. There is already a bit of needle between the two fighters as well, and the fight would surely capture the imagination of boxing fans across the globe.
If, as Khan suggested, the fight can be pushed back to November, then the Brit looks like a very capable and surely worthy opponent for the undefeated Mayweather.
For Maidana, there seems to be little else out there to galvanise fight fans aside from a potential rematch with his most recent conqueror.
On the undercard for Mayweather vs. Maidana, Adrian Broner made light work of Carlos Molina, and the man dubbed “The Problem” could have his eye on a potential fight with the Argentinian. It was Maidana who handed Broner the only loss of his career so far in December 2013, administering a real beating over the course of 12 rounds.
It’d certainly be a chance for the 24-year-old Broner to avenge that solitary defeat, but after Maidana’s strong showing against Mayweather, there is little to suggest that things would be different this time around. Not yet anyway.
So with Khan unlikely to fight in September, it leaves a gap in Mayweather’s schedule that Maidana has insisted he’d be more than happy to fill. Both fighters talked about the possibility of a rematch in their post-fight interviews:
Mayweather: "The fans want to see it again, we'll do it again."— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2014
"He dominated some rounds, but I dominated most of them. I went after him, but he's a difficult fighter. I want the rematch!" @ChinoMaidana— BoxNation (@boxnationtv) May 4, 2014
But some feel Floyd is continuing to duck Pacquiao with his calls for Mayweather vs. Maidana II:
Now Floyd's calling for a rematch. Maidana says Floyd didn't fight like a man and says he won. NOW FLOYD CAN DUCK PACQUIAO EVEN LONGER.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 4, 2014
After Maidana troubled Mayweather for long periods of this fight, a rematch makes sense at this current juncture. El Chino helped facilitate the most entertaining fight involving Mayweather for years, and after being in the ring with him once already, he might well fancy his chances next time around.
Whilst Khan would be the most desirable opponent in the eyes of many, Mayweather isn’t likely to shift around his September schedule. Fighting Maidana again in September seems to make sense. After that, Mayweather can look ahead to a scrap with Khan or maybe even Pacquiao in the new year.