Floyd Mayweather is heading towards an unclear future. Yes, he’s added another championship belt to put on the wall, but next up isn’t a big fight; It’s time for prison, for 87 days. And after that? Pacquiao is what everybody wants to see, but Mayweather just might call it quits on the sport, not for the first time.
The initial reaction to Floyd saying he’ll quit boxing isn’t one like ‘Oh no, we’re losing the greatest boxer ever, again!!‘. It’s more like – ‘Really? You’re taking another hiatus?’ We know he’s going to be away for three months and it’s unclear whether he’ll have a fight immediately after his release or is going to be another long time before we see him in the ring again. Maybe never again.
In terms of ability and fitness, Mayweather is still the best pound-4-pound fighter in the world. Maybe Pacquiao will look extremely impressive against Bradley in their upcoming fight; Maybe Pacquiao did perform better against Cotto in their 2009 fight, winning with a late TKO.
Mayweather doesn’t knockout guys as much as some would want him to, but his speed and his defensive perfection; His ability to barely get hurt in a fight against a great boxer like Cotto just puts his, until he loses or finally meets Pacquiao, in a league of his own, above the rest of the mortals of the boxing world.
Did Mayweather win himself some fans in the Cotto fight? Maybe. He was arrogant as usual in the ring, shaking his head whenever Cotto and crowd actually thought Floyd was hurt. Cotto did manage to sneak a few punches through Mayweather’s barricades, but it wasn’t enough to actually effect the fight in a substantial way. He won a few rounds due to being more active, especially during the 6th, 7th and 8th rounds, but it wasn’t enough. Mayweather kept him at 20% connection while landing 50 more punches in a slightly better percentage.
The key word for Mayweather is hunger and money. He felt he didn’t have anything left to prove after each of his last fights – Mosley, Marquez. Victor Ortiz was a different story. Four rounds wasn’t enough to satisfy Mayweather who gave the Pacquiao angle another try. Didn’t workout, doesn’t really matter who’s at fault. Money, drug testing, egos. A whole lot of egos seem to be the main thing in the way.
Someone suggested that Mayweather doesn’t pick an opponent until he’s confident enough that he knows that guy’s weakness; he’s sure he can beat him. That brings us back to the ‘scared of Pacquiao’ option which rises from time to time. It’s hard to believe that such a brash person with an undefeated record would actually be afraid of anyone in his vicinity in the boxing world, but hey, he didn’t take on Cotto when it was a much-talked about option over three years ago, preferring to hang up his gloves for a short while.
Mayweather looks around and besides Pacquiao, there are plenty of fighters who want a piece of him. Amir Khan has been talking about it for a couple of years. Saul Alvarez who was a co-headliner (in truth, undercard) was impressive against Shane Mosley. He seems like a good option, but Golden Boy Promotions don’t want to put a loss on their wonderkid so soon. Canelo isn’t ready yet.
Sergio Martinez would love a piece of Mayweather, not just because of the money. Martinez is usually considered to be the number 3 pound 4 pound fighter in the world, but at 37, time is running out. He has looked less impressive in his two most recent wins over British opponents. He’d love a shot at Julio Cesar Chavez as well, but the Mexican seems to be avoiding him.
Mayweather never talks about fighting Martinez. Probably because he’s not too keen on fighting a Middleweight, even if Martinez is willing to go down and meet Mayweather at the 154 weight. Mayweather doesn’t seems to notice the difference, no matter how much he weighs. But maybe Martinez is too much of a threat, not worth the risk. It would be a huge fight. Not as lucrative financially as the Pacquiao fight, but easier to make it happen.
And maybe there lies to key to the Mayweather – Pacquiao debacle. Martinez isn’t one of these young guns trying to make a name for themselves by stepping in the ring with Floyd. He’s a big name, a proven name, a Middleweight champion. But he doesn’t seem to even be an option for Mayweather, who keeps talking about wanting Pacquiao but doesn’t seem to be making any concessions.
I find it hard to believe Mayweather is that unmoved about going to jail. He’ll try and soak in as much as possible with his kids in the next few weeks before he’s incarcerated. Despite saying it’s not bothering him, it has to be, somewhat. Maybe it’ll even change his way of thinking or his perspective on matters. Maybe it’ll kill the hunger inside of him for another fight. There’s always more money to be won; despite being the highest paid athlete in the world if he squeezes two fights in one year, he always wants more.
43 Fights into his professional career, still undefeated, still (almost) untouchable. Still enigmatic and hard to figure out. From all the words and smoke he blows out, it’s hard to decipher and see the real man, and his real intentions. Afraid or not, it looks like, at the moment, that his only remaining motivation in boxing is to beat Manny Pacquiao. Maybe when he figures out in his head how to beat the Filipino fighter, he’ll actually oblige to make some concessions.