WHO'S GOT A TICKET IN THE MAYWEATHER SWEEPSTAKES?
By TOM WATT on June 23 2015
With Shawn Porter’s victory over Adrien Broner this past weekend, the former IBF Welterweight Champion has set his eyes on the lottery win that is a fight with P4P King, Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather but as always there is a raft of hot talent vying to become the next challenger to that famous ‘0’ of Mayweather’s. Everyone wants the chance to prove they can topple the king – not to mention taking home a career-high payday in the process! So who are the legitimate options for the universally recognised Number 1 Pound-For-Pound fighter in the World?
Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs)
Shawn Porter toppled Mayweather’s baby bro this last Saturday night as part of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions series on NBC, over 2.3 million in America tuned in to see the fight and will have been impressed with Porter’s win and the way he has carried himself through the promotion in the face of such a polarizing and antagonistic character in Broner, this will have helped raise his profile back to where it was before his loss to Kell Brook in California last year and put Porter squarely in the middle of any Mayweather discussions. However, Porter is a fairly one-dimensional fighter and although he would perhaps offer some excitement in the early rounds, it would not be too long before Mayweather had his measure and picked him off round by round, if Kell brook was able to work Porter out and dominate him the way he did then I can’t see Mayweather being any different. Porter is a great fighter and very strong but he is small in stature and stylistically I can’t see him troubling Floyd – as he did with Pacquiao, Mayweather would be able to use his reach advantage all day long and just pick off Porter round by round. Mayweather has actually recently announced that Porter or Thurman would be good opponents on his next undercard for Errol Spence Jr (who fought on the Broner Porter undercard) and that he would relinquish one of his belts to make that a World Title fight. Porter has made no secret of his desire to once again become Champion of the World and this may be his quickest route.
Keith Thurman (25-0-0, 21 KOs)
As with Porter above, Thurman has been mentioned by Mayweather as an opponent for rising star, Errol Spence Jr. Whilst I can see Porter taking that route back to a World Title shot, I fully expect to see Thurman dismiss that opportunity in the coming days. Thurman is a true warrior, a fighter who wants to do nothing but fight the best out there. His knockout ratio has not made match-making easy for his team and Thurman’s next fight is against Luis Collazo which he should come through easily. Once he has done with that fight he will be looking for a big name to add to his resume and will focus his sights on Mayweather. As another undefeated fighter, Thurman is an obvious fans’ choice, he is exciting to watch and has a beautiful mix of power, skill and determination – his last fight against Robert Guerrero was a huge success for the Premier Boxing Champions Series as he battled through a swollen eye in a fantastic fight and with another win over Collazo on June 11th he will only add further fuel to the fire that he is the one that could trouble the Money Man.
Thurman is a dangerous fighter, he has a fantastic record and is a natural Welterweight, Thurman would be near the top of any fans’ pick of who Mayweather should fight bt we should know by now that Mayweather doesn’t make is decisions based on popular opinion and I’d be very surprised if he was chosen to be Floyd’s opponent on September 12th.
Andre Berto (30-3-0, 23 KOs)
Of all the names that have been swirling around the Mayweather melting pot of late, Andre Berto is a late addition with Mayweather mentioning his name last week during the Porter Broner media day. Berto is a great fighter but has losses to likes of Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero, both who have been beaten by Mayweather already. Berto’s other loss came at the hands of Jesus Soto Karass, a strong fighter but seen by many as a gatekeeper to more lucrative fights (Karass has losses to Keith Thurman, Marcos Maidana and Devon Alexander on his record). Until recently Berto was not even mentioned as a possible opponent and I expect his name being dropped was more of a jab at Berto’s stable-mate, Amir Khan, than a genuine notice of interest, particularly when Karim Mayfield – a fighter with a record of 19-2 was also mentioned.
I have a lot of respect for Berto and he is a great fighter to watch, I just don’t see him troubling Floyd Mayweather at all and with his recent losses it would be hard for even the Money Team to spin this as the best fight for Floyd to retire on and because of that I don’t see Berto as a credible option for September 12th.
Amir Khan (31-3-0, 19 KOs)
It is no secret that Amir Khan has been chasing the Mayweather fight for as long as anyone can remember, he has turned down fights (including a World Title fight with Devon Alexander) and spent a lot of time and effort over the last couple of years convincing Mayweather and the rest of the World that he is the most legitimate challenger to Floyd’s unbeaten record and many believe him to be the front-runner for September 12th. Khan is a highly talented fighter with perhaps the fastest hands at any weight in the sport and with recent wins over Chris Algieri, Devon Alexander and Thurmans’ next opponent, Luis Collazo he has a strong claim that he has deserving of the right to step in against Mayweather. Khan also has a dominant win over Marcos Maidana on his resume, a fighter who took Mayweather the distance twice last year.
In his favour, Khan brings with him a huge following from the UK and Asia and this could be key to securing the fight, after the mega-fight that was Mayweather vs Pacquiao, nothing is going to come close to the kind of money generated for that event but Khan probably offers the highest pay-day now and with retirement firmly in his sights, Mayweather will be looking to capitalise on one final big pay day and this could play in to the hands of Khan.
Kell Brook (35-0-0, 24 KOs)
With Mayweather deciding to keep his WBO belt, Kell Brook is the only other legitimate World Champion at Welterweight and the Sheffield-born man also brings with him a perfect record of 35-0. Brook de-throned Shawn Porter last year to win his first World Title and in doing so he halted the rise of Porter as the divisions hottest prospect in his own back yard. Since that win Brook faced an uncertain time following a stabbing whilst on Holiday but recovered fully and has put together two successive wins over JoJo Dan and Frankie Gavin. Brook is widely expected to fight Brandon Rios in September or October but he and his promoter Eddie Hearn have both stated they would be interested in the Mayweather fight if it was to become available. Hearn firmly believes that Brook is the best welterweight behind Floyd Mayweather and has been desperately trying to make a fight between his man and Amir Khan at Wembley for some time, although Khan seems reluctant to take the fight whilst the opportunity to fight Mayweather is still there – Khan Brook is the biggest fight in the division that doesn’t include Mayweather and if the two manage to avoid defeat for another year, expect to see them face off at Wembley next summer.
Brook is an excellent fighter and has exhibited that he is able get the victory against all types of opponents - he is a big, strong natural welterweight and his unbeaten record and UK fan-base make an excellent case for him. The only issue I see with Brook is that, other than Shawn Porter, his record is light on big-names and that may prove to be his undoing.
Gennady Golovkin (33-0-0, 30 KOs)
What is there to say about Gennady Golovkin that hasn’t been said? The Kazakh destroyer has rocketed to the forefront of the Boxing World with his 20 successive KOs in the Middleweight division including a 3 round destruction of 3-time World Champion Daniel Geale and most recently a 6th round TKO of Willie Monroe Jr. Golovkin has won over the hearts of fans across the World for his unassuming demeanour and his apparent willingness to fight anyone – he has openly said he would come down to 154 to fight Floyd Mayweather or go up to 168 to fight Andre Ward, the only man who represents a threat to Mayweather atop the P4P rankings (when active). Golovkin is a small middleweight in stature and as such a move to 154 is highly possible and this fight would probably be every Boxing fan’s number one pick as it puts one of the most affective attackers in the Sport against the master of defence.
Golovkin is much more than heavy hands though, he has a stellar amateur background of 345-5 and boast gold medals at the World Championships, Asian Games and Asian Championships as well as Silver in the 2004 Olympics (where he beat America’s Andre Dirrell). As well as his undeniable power, Golovkin is a master of the ring and is perhaps the most effective in the sport at the moment in cutting off the ring and stalking his opponents, something Mayweather makes very difficult. It has been over 6 years’ since anybody has gone the distance with GGG and it would be interesting to see how Golovkin and Mayweather shape up. IT seems very unlikely though at this present time and would probably represent too much of a risk to that treasured undefeated record for Mayweather to consider.
Miguel Cotto (40-4-0, 33 KOs)
The current WBC Middleweight Champion is fresh off his first defence over Australia’s Daniel Geale, that fight was fought at a controversial cath-weight limit and Cotto, who is not a natural middleweight, is expected to drop back to super-welterweight at some point. If he was to do so a rematch with Floyd Mayweather would offer a huge pay-day for him and a chance to avenge his loss to Mayweather in 2012. Many have been tipping Cotto to face Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez later this year and it was rumoured that fight could even upset Mayweather’s dominance of the Cinco De Mayo weekend, those rumours lead some to believe that Mayweather would rather fight Cotto himself than allow Alvarez to take the lucrative holiday date from underneath him.
Cotto is a future Hall-Of-Famer and despite his relative inactivity, his last two fights against Geale and the now retired Sergio Martinez have shown glimpses of his old self now he is re-united with Freddie Roach. Roach would undoubtedly like another shot at toppling Mayweather as well and the build up to this clash would make for excellent entertainment. Cotto Vs Canelo still seems most likely but it wouldn’t be a shock if Cotto is named for September 12th.
Anthony Mundine (47-6-0, 27 KOs)
Mundine is a huge outsider for the Mayweather fight but he is the reigning the WBC Silver Champion and as such mandatory for Mayweather’s 154lbs title so he has to be considered at least as a potential option. Mundine was due to face Austin Trout last month but was forced to cancel due to a perforated eardrum, this fight is in the process of being re-scheduled although I have no doubt all plans would be put aside should the opportunity to fight for Floyd’s WBC belt become available in September. However, it seems more likely that Mayweather will vacate his 154lbs title to allow Mundine to fight either Erislandy Lara or Canelo Alvarez for the title – Mundine has already beaten Alvarez’s older brother and would relish the opportunity to test himself against the young superstar.
Mundine will know that chances of him securing the Mayweather fight are slim to none at the moment although he knows that if Floyd does choose to extend his career past September then he may be able to force himself into the reckoning for next May, if he is able to defeat Trout in the re-scheduled fight later this year and then topple another big name for the Title (should Mayweather vacate) then he may just do enough to be considered.
Tim Bradley (31-1-1, 12 KOs)
Tim Bradley is set to face Jesse Vargas this weekend in a fight that had been agreed for the WBO Title, since then Mayweather has decided not to relinquish his belts as he previously stated he would and as such Bradly vs Vargas has been relegated to ‘interim’ status. Bradley is as tough as they come and has propelled himself to be a real fan favourite after wars with Ruslan Provodnikov, Diego Chaves, Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao – In all those fights Bradley has shown heart and determination and most of all, the desire to fight fire with fire when his opponents drag him into the trenches for a good old fashioned dust-up and that has always been a sure-fire way to win over the fans.
Bradley is exciting to watch and a consummate professional, his links with Top Rank may muddy the waters when it comes to making a Mayweather fight but his performances over the last two years are certainly deserving of being in the mix. Whilst I love to watch Bradley fight, I think Mayweather would be able to work him out fairly easily and I could see this being a Mayweather 12-round decision special.
Erislandy Lara (21-2-0, 12 KOs)
Erislandy Lara, like his Cuban compatriot Guillermo Rigondeaux, is a fantastic fighter, oozing with Boxing skill and ring generalship. He is the only fighter at 147 or 154lbs that can hold a candle to Mayweather’s defensive skills although unlike Mayweather, he doesn’t have the acknowledgement from outside hardcore Boxing circles and as such he has struggled to secure big-name fights, even as the WBA Super-Welterweight Champion, he recently called out Mayweather, GGG and Cotto in one interview!
A fight with Lara seems highly unlikely and would be a very difficult sell as far as the wider public are concerned, because of this fact it seems very unlikely this fight will materialise. As a Boxing fan I would personally love to see this fight as Lara may be the only person on the planet with the patience and skill to bring Mayweather out of his defensive shell. Mayweather’s style is dependent on his opponents attacking him and this is something Lara would not do hastily which could make for an interesting fight. This 12-round chess match however is not what sells PPVs unfortunately so we are more likely to see Lara defending his WBA belt rather than chasing Mayweather’s WBC strap.
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
See Full List
When you step into the ring, you want to be at the peak of your fitness and ready for whatever your opponent is going to throw at you. Check out Endura’s comprehensive range of scientifically formulated sports nutrition to help you train longer, fight harder and recover quicker.