Floyd Mayweather Jr. Can Talk The Talk, Can He Walk The Walk?

Joe OneillCorrespondent IIJanuary 10, 2010

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 19:  Juan Manuel Marquez (L) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. battle in the ninth round of their fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena September 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by unanimous decision.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Floyd Mayweather Jr., by any estimate, is at least 50% responsible for the recent fiasco of calling off his March 13 fight with Manny Pacquiao. 

This debacle has left a sour taste in everyone's mouth. From the boxing purists to the proverbial 'man on the street', just about everybody not only was familiar with these two fighters, they wanted to see this fight happen. 

Let's face it; this was going to be a massive fight in the vein of Hagler-Leonard of Chavez-De La Hoya. The two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world going at it. 

The fact is that Floyd Mayweather Jr. owes boxing. He's given the sport a black eye and now he must make amends. 

Manny Pacquiao held up his end. He chose an opponent in Joshua Clottey that is probably an 8 onof a scale of 1 - 10. Clottey is the highest ranked welterweight available. He is a very good and experienced fighter. 

This fight will also be held at the Dallas Cowboy's new billion dollar stadium. While I'm not going to make the trek to Texas, there's no doubt holding this fight at Jerry Jones Versailles will generate a huge amount of publicity. 

Now it's Floyd's turn. 

To the general public, there are probably only three names that generate very much familiarity in boxing - Pacquiao, Mayweather Jr., and Oscar De La Hoya. 

Those are the marquee names that will get people tuned in. 

Well, De La Hoya is retired and the other two guys aren't going to fight each other. 

Floyd Jr. needs to choose an opponent that will generate some excitement. An opponent that will get boxing purists going 'wow'. 

As the self-described 'savior of the sport', he needs to do his part to get people talking about boxing. 

The knock on Floyd by most of his detractors is that he hand-picks his opponents so they're either too small or too old to be much of a danger. 

I don't know how much truth there is to this, but that's the perception. 

Floyd needs to choose an opponent that will, once and for all, shut-up his many critics and put to rest the idea that he ducks anyone. 

He needs to choose a bigger, stronger fighter from an upper weight class who is one of the top challengers in the world. 

The winner of the Andre Berto-Shane Mosley fight is a very good fight. Mosley is the number three welterweight in the world and Berto is ranked number five. 

Either of those fighters are extremely dangerous. 

Shane Mosley has called out Mayweather Jr. on numerous occasions and wants the fight. 

The only problem with the Mosley fight is that Sugar Shane is 38 years old. No doubt, if Floyd wins, his critics will point to this fact. 

I personally would like to see him fight Yuri Foreman, James Kirkland, Sergio Martinez, or Paul Williams. 

All of these are light middleweights are ranked in the top five in the world. 

Of these four fighters, Foreman is probably the least dangerous. He's very active and very talented, but his list of opponents is lacking in any top fighters. He hasn't fought Williams or Cintron or Martinez or any of the other top light heavyweights. 

Anyone who watched the Martinez-Williams fight knows this guy will pose a lot of problems for Floyd. He's tough as a Marine, can take a shot, and adjusts well in a fight. 

Kirkland would be a great fight. He's twenty five and ready for a title shot. He has a perfect 25-0 record with 22 knockouts. It would pit two undefeated fighters against one another. Currently, he's the fourth ranked light heavyweight in the world. 

Last, and not least, is Paul Williams. 

As I've written, along with many other boxing writers, is that Paul Williams is the 'next big name' in the sport of boxing. He's tall, athletic, relentless, and very, very good. 

His one loss to Carlos Quintana was quickly avenged. 

The fact is that Williams, more than just about anyone else, deserves this fight. Before Floyd fought Oscar De La Hoya, the general public had little or no idea who he was. 

Oscar gave Floyd that shot. Floyd needs to return the favor. 

If Floyd Mayweather chooses any of these opponents, I'll be the first to give him props. He'll deserve accolades from all the Mayweather Jr. detractors.

However, if he chooses some marginal fighter some as Paul Malignaggi or Matthew Hatton, I'll be the first to call him out. 

The fact is there are no highly ranked welterweights out there. 

If he goes down a weight class and fights someone like Timothy Bradley or Nate Campbell, it will be the same old complaint. Floyd choosing lighter fighters who he can dominate. 

So Floyd, the ball is in your court. 

You've talked the talk, can you walk the walk?