Franchise Thoughts: If Manny Pacquiao Isn't Next for Floyd Mayweather, Then Who Is?

I have a confession to make: I haven't seen the Mayweather-Marquez fight.

It's not because I didn't want to, as I really was curious about how Floyd would look coming off his hiatus. I had to work, though, and had to head in right after the John-Juarez bout.

I've heard from several reliable sources that I missed nothing. Money was too good - on top of being too big - for JMM. End of story.

Even before Saturday's fight, fans and media members alike have been speculating about the possibility of Mayweather facing Manny Pacquiao some time next year. That talk is accelerating now, with some folks acting like it's practically a done deal.

I'm not as certain of that. For starters, Pac-Man has a big fight of his own coming up in November against Miguel Cotto, and even though I favor him to win, I wouldn't bet the ranch on it. Cotto is tough, craftier than he's often given credit for, and there's an excellent chance he'll be the strongest man Pacquiao has ever fought. I'll be surprised if Cotto wins, but I won't be shocked.

For what it's worth, if Cotto does beat Pacquiao, I think Mayweather may re-injure his ribs running to sign to face him. That's because Cotto is a big draw, meaning big bucks, and yet I could see Floyd seeing him (perhaps incorrectly) as an easy puzzle to solve. A large payday and a perceived low risk? That's right up Money May's alley.

Speaking of money, the sheer amount to be made from a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight means it makes the most sense for both parties if Manny gets by Miguel - but it could easily prove a sticking point too. Each man is going to see himself as the A side and negotiations aren't going to be easy. Bob Arum has already made that pretty clear with some of his comments.

Weight is another potential hurdle, as Team Pacquiao isn't going to allow the same hijinks that the JMM camp agreed to. Or, if you believe this guy, perhaps Freddie Roach will just throw up his hands, say "We can't beat him!" and that will be that.

Obviously, Mayweather isn't planning on heading right back into retirement, so if he doesn't agree to a fight with Pacquiao (or Cotto), what's his next move? Tim Starks recently laid out some possibilities at TQBR, but he's almost using too much logic in doing so, and we all know logic and the sweet science have a connection that's tenuous at best.

Because of that, I can't rule out Mayweather fighting yet another guy coming up in weight, though there isn't as obvious a candidate as Ricky Hatton or JMM once were. Assuming he's actually on fighting a welterweight at 147 pounds (crazy idea, I know), here are three names I'd expect to see kicked around, along with my thoughts on their chances of actually stepping in the ring with Floyd:

Shane Mosley: Sugar Shane just went from figuratively begging for a fight with Mayweather to literally begging for one. It was uncharacteristically crass for Mosley, and that's coming from one of his biggest fans.

Mayweather would probably let that affront slide if Shane was a big draw, but history has suggested that he's not. On top of that, for reasons Starks explains in that post I linked to above, Mosley is still good enough to pose at least a bit of a challenge for Floyd.

Shane probably didn't help his chances with his post-fight stunt, but I could still see this one coming together. Yet I could also see Mayweather pushing it off until Mosley is another six months to a year older.

Paul Williams: Even if The Punisher wasn't scheduled (I guess) to fight Kelly Pavlik in December, do you really think Floyd wants to subject himself to fighting someone with a ten-inch reach advantage who throws 100-plus punches a round? Williams is also even less of a household name than Mosley, despite his talent.

I'll never say never in boxing, especially after some of the match-ups we've seen over the past few years, but I'm not going to hold my breath for this one. I love Williams and would be thrilled if he got the shot, but in this case I wouldn't even fault Floyd for thinking the risk/reward ratio was all wrong.

Andre Berto: I'm surprised he isn't getting more consideration. Yes, he's less established than even Mosley and Williams, but he's likely to be considered less of a threat than either of them while still having accomplished enough to appear a credible opponent. In Floyd's world, those things count for a lot.

As the youngest fighter on this list, I'd guess Berto would be the most amenable to a lopsided split in favor of Money May, so if Floyd feels like his name would sell the fight (and really, that's not much of a stretch) he'd be okay with getting a super-sized slice of whatever pie there would be. If the Pacquiao-Cotto winner is out, Andre could get himself in the mix.

I honestly don't see anyone else at 147 who jumps out. If you think I've missed someone obvious, leave a comment and enlighten me.

Posted by The Franchise


ICUH8N said...

I'll tell you one thing. Mayweather is too great for his own good. While he was bigger than Marquez, that had little to no effect in the fight in my opinion. He was faster, smarter, had better defense, and reflexes were incredible. His skill was just too much for Marquez, and that says A lot. He never pushed him around, roughed him up, or imposed his size in any way.
I say he's too good for his own good because people will never appreciate his skills. People want wars, he dominates. People want to see him get hit, hurt, knocked down, but his defense is awesome. People love to hate the guy. If he did the same to Pac, Mosley, Williams, or Berto that he did to Marquez, there would still be excuses on his dominance. Mosley is too old, Pac is too small, Williams was overrated, Berto was too green, etc... GUARANTEED. Just read boxing forums, you'll see what I mean. I'm just a boxing fan who appreciates all boxers. From Floyd to Pac to Pavlik to Williams to whoever, I like them all. I love this sport.

Nick Tylwalk said...

Along with being the best boxer, Floyd is also the most polarizing figure in the sport. His supporters act like he can do no wrong, while his haters never give him any credit for anything. I agree with you that the haters were quick to seize upon the weight issue, when they should just admit that dominating JMM is damn impressive. That being said, if the weight wasn't a big deal, why did Floyd turn it into one? He's good enough that he doesn't need any extra advantages, and yet he makes sure he has them anyway. That leaves him open to second-guessing in my opinion.

I would love to see him take on any combination of Manny, Sugar Shane and The Punisher. And you're right that some people will come up with reasons to not give him credit for beating them. I won't be one of them - I'll give Floyd all his due credit for beating any of them.

Anonymous said...

I can't see a way he beats the Punisher, but I doubt Paul ever goes back down to 154, and Floyd wouldn't fight him at 154, so no fight.

Williams is too tall and punches too frequently for Floyd to dodge them all and ever have a chance to fire back.