After some early scares, Floyd Mayweather eventually came through a tough test against Marcos Maidana on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The victory improves his brilliant record to 46-0 for his career.
That immediately set tongues wagging as to whom Money will fight next.
Unsurprisingly, much of the early chatter has revolved around a rematch between Money and El Chino. Maidana held his own for 12 rounds and fought a tough fight, so many will be intrigued about Mayweather vs. Maidana II.
But if a rematch isn't in the cards, which opponents are logical options? As Mayweather's career begins winding down, here are six men the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world could take on in the future.
It seems odd that Garcia's name has not been mentioned more seriously to this point in terms of a fight with Money. Not only is his record of 28-0 hugely impressive, but in Al Haymon, he also has the same manager as Mayweather.
There has been plenty of talk about Amir Khan getting a crack at Floyd, but Garcia will point to his four-round demolition of the Englishman in 2012. Were Khan to jump ahead of him in the queue, it would seem undeserved.
Garcia has great punching power and has handled an array of styles, as he showed by following up his destruction of Khan with wins over Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse. The only discussion would be the weight they would fight at. Garcia is operating at light welter, while Mayweather is likely to prefer going up from welterweight rather than down.
The boxing public would hope that an agreement could be reached, though, to pit the 26-year-old challenger against the 37-year-old legend.
The Cuban is undoubtedly a world-level fighter, and he has the chance to prove it in July when he takes on Saul Alvarez in Las Vegas. If Lara can become the second man, after Mayweather, to defeat Canelo, then he will immediately put himself in line for a shot at the champ.
Floyd will fight again in September, so this may well be too soon for Lara after the Canelo fight. The American Dream would be foolish not to take the bout, if offered, though, and he could come into the clash with a whirlwind of momentum if he defeats the Mexican.
There are plenty of ifs and buts hanging over this one, but it is not out of the question.
This may be the most logical to anyone who wants to see the best fights in the business; however, it is the least likely to anyone who knows the business.
Pacquiao has a contract with Top Rank, run by Bob Arum, with whom Mayweather outright refuses to do business. While Arum is in the picture, the fight seems extremely unlikely. But with so much money to be made, an agreement cannot be ruled out entirely.
This would be the biggest, highest-profile fight available to Mayweather, and it is the one that every fight fan wants most. The American would still be the favorite, but a reinvigorated Manny, after his win over Timothy Bradley, would be a serious threat.
Saturday night could not have gone much better for Khan. He schooled Luis Collazo in a fight that was expected to be a 50-50 encounter. He may have liked a knockout to rubber-stamp that victory, but his comfortable win was thoroughly impressive nonetheless.
This was the statement that he wanted to make on the undercard of the Mayweather vs. Maidana bout. He is now near the front of the queue, yet he may well have to wait until next year.
With Floyd’s next fight coming in September, this will be too soon after Khan’s fasting period for Ramadan, as David Mayo of MLive.com discusses. This will leave the Englishman needing to keep busy at the end of 2014, then wait for a bout this time next year.
Khan showed what he can deliver against Collazo, and while he looked his best, Mayweather did not against Maidana. This upped the ante for a potential clash, and as he is also managed by Haymon, it could easily be made.
This is another bout that would have to wait until next year, but another that could well happen in 2015. La Maravilla defends his WBC middleweight title against Miguel Cotto in June, and if he comes through that successfully, then he could be ready to take on Money.
The Argentinian may have conquered the middleweight division, but he has come up from welter, so he is more than capable of dropping down if needed. There may even be part of Floyd who fancies moving up to have a crack at the middleweight title, potentially becoming a six-division world champion.
There is some pressure on Martinez to fight the rising star of the middleweight division, Gennady Golovkin. Given the Kazakh’s fearsome knockout ratio (26 KOs in 29 victories), this is not an appealing prospect, and a big-money showdown with Mayweather would be much more tempting for Sergio.
As mentioned, though, he fights in June, and at 39 years old, he will not be returning to the ring in September. This would have to be a contest for May or September of 2015.
This is not a particularly appealing fight for Mayweather, but it's one that would be superb to see. Porter is one of the rising stars of world boxing and has the potential to be pound-for-pound king in the coming years. He had a stunning amateur career and has not disappointed in the paid ranks; a six-year pro career thus far has resulted in him holding the IBF welterweight title.
His comfortable points win over Devon Alexander to claim that belt was impressive, but his obliteration of Paulie Malignaggi in April put him in the very top bracket. Porter’s next bout will be against Sheffield’s Kell Brook, a fellow unbeaten fighter. A victory against the Yorkshireman in the summer would give him every right to have a shot at Mayweather.
What could count against him is that he looks a bit too good. Money handpicks his opponents, and a big, strong, powerful, young and quick fighter is probably not his ideal choice at this stage of his career. It seems odd for the best boxer on the planet to be avoiding opponents, but that could just happen here.
With boxing’s politics famously tricky to predict and Mayweather’s own whims having such an impact, guessing his next opponent is a tricky business. Of those listed here, it seems that Garcia has the best chance of having a crack next.
Scheduling rules most of the others out for September, but Swift should be primed for a late-summer fight, and it would be an excellent clash as well.