With the Fight of the decade officialy dead; its time for all boxing fans to move on. Neither fighter is bigger than the sport itself; so with that being said, boxing is not dead and we should look forward to whats next for these two pound for pound fighters. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has matched Pound for Pound King Manny Pacquiao with Top Rank stablemate Joshua Clottey of Ghana in a fight that falls short of the glory of witnessing a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout, but still a fight that has a lot of promise. Despite Clottey being defeated in his last bout by Miguel Cotto whom Pacquiao destroyed in his last, its this writers opinion that Joshua Clottey is a dangerous welterweight and has the boxing fundamentals including fast hands, peek-a-boo style defense and countering skills to make this fight interesting.
The question now is, who does Floyd Mayweather fight? With Golden Boy representing Mayweather in negotiations, CEO Richard Schaefer has made it clear that they plan to keep the March 13th date, which was set aside for the Mayweather- Pacquiao fight which also is the date Top Rank kept for the Pacquiao-Clottey fight which is taking place in Arlington Tx, at the state-of the art Cowboy Stadium. Mayweather's fight is set to take place in Las Vegas' MGM Grand, against a currently unknown opponent. With the two promotional companies competing for pay-per view supremacy its quite interesting to see who Floyd Mayweather's opponent will be. Also an interesting tidbit is what fight will HBO choose to broadcast. Top Rank holds its on pay-per view telecasts on a regular basis and Bob Arum has been quoted as saying they will go on with the Pacquiao-Clottey fight with or without HBO.
Possible opponents for Floyd Mayweather is an interesting breakdown as well. With Shane Mosley and Andre Berto set to face off on January 30, neither fighter would be ready for a March 13th bout with Mayweather. Jr welterweights Timothy Bradley and Paulie Malignaggi are names that have been tossed around. Timothy Bradley is the current WBO jr. welterweight champion coming off an exciting lopsided victory over then undefeated Lamont Peterson. Paulie Malignaggi the NABO Champion at jr. welterweight recently outboxed Juan Diaz to a decision victory in a rematch to a fight that many, including myself felt he won. Lightweight Nate cambell is a name that has been tossed in the cap as well. With Floyd Mayweather being a 147lb fighter and all the above mentioned fighters being south of the welterweight limit; the only other fighter at his own weight not scheduled for a fight that is worth mentioning is Miguel Cotto. Antonio Margarito whom fights at welterweight is an option granted he is given a license to fight after a year suspension for being caught with illegal hand wraps before his January 24 2009 fight with Shane mosley in which he was knocked out in the 9th round. If floyd chooses to fly north of 147 to Jr middleweight territory than he could challenging the likes of WBC jr middleweight champion Sergio Martinez or Kermit Cintron. Middleweight Paul Williams who is a freak of nature can campaign at any weight from 147 (welterweight limit) to 160 (middleweight).
Now bare with me as I dissect all the above mentioned fighters down to a reasonable one or two candidates to fight Floyd Mayweather. Timothy Bradley, a fast handed, exciting, young coming of age fighter is not ready for a Floyd Mayweather calibur opponent. Add the fact that hes a jr. welterweight moving up to welterweight and you have the notion that Floyd is picking on a smaller guy. Paulie Malignaggi and Nate Campbell are under the same umbrella as Bradley and lack his skill set and excitement which pushes them even further out the race. At welterweight I mentioned Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. Thats definately not going to happen. Both fighters are represented by Top Rank and we all know Floyd Mayweather and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum dont see eye to eye which is the reason why Floyd hasnt fought any Top Rank Fighters since leaving the company. A relationship that has further been damaged in the negotiations that fell through for the Mayweather, Pacquiao fight. Jr. middleweight Sergio Martinez would be an exciting matchup for Floyd and already mentioned after his December 5th 2009 loss to Paul Williams that he would like to fight Floyd Mayweather. However recent reports have stated that Sergio martinez and Kelly Pavlik have agreed to terms for a showdown in April. That leaves Kermit Cintron at jr. middleweight. I beleive Cintron is a good opponent for Floyd Mayweather. With 32 wins 28 by knockout and his only 2 losses now questionable coming to Antonio Margarito. Hes a big strong brawler type that would bring the best out of Floyd; throwing out any and all talk that he only fights small opponents or opponents that are safe for his "O" to stay intact. Now for the middleweight challenge but also a guy who can fight at welterweight or jr middleweight, Paul Williams brings the biggest and most exciting challenge to Floyd. A fight that everyone wants to see and would definately challenge the Pacquiao-Clottey pay-per view. Only problem is Floyd Mayweather and Paul Williams have the same manager, Al Haymon. Al Haymon would basically be shooting his self in the foot pitting his own two guys against one another.
A lot of thought has gone into this, but the only reasonable opponents i see for Floyd Mayweather are Kermit Cintron or Paul Williams. Both are 147 to 160 pound fighters. Both are dangerous opponents that can create some intrigue amongst boxing fans. Both would definately bring the best out of Floyd Mayweather. Both would gain Floyd some respect if he beats them, and a tremendous amount of respect if he can manage to beat them as easily as hes done his past opponents. Paul Williams sharing the same management as Floyd Mayweather is an issue for Al Haymon and not for Floyd or Paul. With Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer recently announcing on Sky Sports that they are finalizing an opponent and may announce that opponent in the next 2 or 3 days, things are once again heating up in the world of boxing.