After Floyd Mayweather’s ridiculously one-sided dismantling over the over over-hyped Mexican Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a fight which looked more like a mismatch except in the eyes of judge CJ Ross who inexplicably scored the fight a 114-114 draw, the obvious question is who’s a credible opponent to test the pound-for-pound king.
A few names have been mentioned but except for one – “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao – no other makes real sense if indeed the fights are to be contests, not as Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has classified as fights designed to appreciate how good Floyd is.
When World Boxing Council president Don Jose Sulaiman sent Yahoo Philippines a pre-fight assessment he candidly admitted that the Mayweather-Alvarez title fight was the best fight that could be made at this particular time.
Reading into his subsequent comments you get the impression that Sulaiman expected Mayweather to win despite the fact that there were those who felt that the youth of Alvarez who is 13 years younger than Mayweather and his power would be a major factor.
Sulaiman , in his comments on the WBC website cautioned “ it would be a grave mistake to discount Floyd Mayweather due to his age” pointing out that “Floyd has taken care of himself very well, always being in optimum condition. He's weathered his career well, receiving scant punishment in fights, which haven't transformed into wars, due to his superb boxing skills and more than sound defense.”
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Sulaiman stressed "Floyd is at the best moment of his career. There's a combination of power, intelligence and boxing quality."
Sulaiman, while remaining tactful, felt that Canelo Alvarez “would have greatly benefited from two or three more fights before this mega-fight” and he was clearly vindicated by what happened in the fight itself.
Interestingly, despite his hugely controversial split decision loss to Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley and his stunning 6th round knockout by Juan Manuel Marquez last December 8, Sulaiman told us in a pre-fight statement for a Viva Sports TV special that the winner of the Mayweather –Alvarez showdown should fight Pacquiao next.
The WBC president said, “I sincerely hope that the winner will meet Manny Pacquiao. Manny is my idol, whatever happens I will always feel very, very proud of him as he was a WBC champion and I still believe that he is.”
It is evident that a Pacquiao-Alvarez fight would be almost impossible to arrange since Canelo reluctantly came down to the catch-weight of 152 pounds to face Mayweather while Pacquiao has said he is comfortable at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds and there’s no way Canelo, even if he won over Mayweather by some miracle, would have agreed to fight Pacquiao at 147.
Pacquiao himself was grateful to Sulaiman f0r his comments and in response to the WBC president’s belief that the Mayweather-Alvarez should fight Pacquiao, said “that will be good.”
Mayweather still has four fights remaining in the last two years of his reported $200 million contract with Showtime.
Respected Los Angeles Times columnist Lance Pugmire reported that when Mayweather was asked who could possibly beat him, he said, "Um . . ."
According to Pugmire “The ensuing silence took minds to another name….Manny Pacquiao” who is scheduled to face former world champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios at the C otai Arena in Macau on November 24.
Mayweather appeared to leave a slight opening for a fight to be negotiated in the future when he said "At this point, Manny Pacquiao is not in my plans." Emphasis should be placed on "at this point."
A few people around Pacquiao would still wish to see a Mayweather fight happen despite the fact that past negotiations have failed with Mayweather accused of using a variety of reasons to duck a Pacquiao fight and to instead pick and choose opponents he can easily handle such as his last two opponents - Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Alvarez.
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One individual who had wanted a Pacquiao-Mayweather battle was celebrated trainer Freddie Roach who maintained that if Pacquiao trained hard, was in good physical condition and didn’t have training camp distractions was capable of beating Mayweather. Whether Roach has changed his mind after the master-class put on by Floyd against Canelo is not yet known.
The one thing that stands out is that Mayweather hasn’t stopped an opponent in five of his last six fights with only a dubious 4th round knockout of Victor Ortiz the exception.
Pacquiao is certainly quicker than Alvarez or any of Floyd’s last six opponents and hits harder because his speed accentuates his power and just about everybody knows that Mayweather doesn’t like facing southpaws.
Their comparative records with the exception of the Marquez fight, speak for themselves. Mayweather went the distance with Oscar De La Hoya and won a somewhat controversial split decision while Pacquiao pulverized "The Golden Boy" who quit after eight rounds.
Mayweather took ten rounds before he stopped Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton while Pacquiao destroyed Hatton in two rounds while Miguel Cotto went the distance with Mayweather but was battered into submission in twelve rounds by Pacquiao.
The one man who would have what Pugmire considers “a powerful voice” in talks about a possible Pacquiao fight is the vice president of Showtime sports Stephen Espinoza who has been quoted as saying "I don't consider anything un-doable. If Floyd ultimately has any interest in it, I have no problem putting all of our efforts into making that fight. We would do that as long as we're not chasing our tail."
Within the Pacquiao camp one man who claims he does have a voice and has effectively withstood all sorts of maneuvers to get him out is adviser Michael Koncz.
Pacquiao himself told us publicly that he trusts Koncz who is loyal to him and does what he is told to do.
Since Koncz himself was involved in talks with Mayweather at his Las Vegas Gym to try and get a Pacquiao fight done and in fact the two men at times exchanged text messages while Floyd and Manny spoke on the phone in a conversation arranged by Koncz, the adviser told us Pacquiao “is concerned about Rios and is not thinking of Mayweather” even as he emphasized that they are “not underestimating Rios.”
In a conversation we had with Pacquiao last August 26, he said he was excited to enter the ring against Rios because “it’s a good fight, a good test and my opponent is good and very aggressive.”
When we asked Manny whether he still considers himself an elite fighter, Pacquiao replied “that’s what I’m trying to prove to the people on November 24. It's hard to say right now but I’m doing my best in training to show it to them.”
Maybe, if Pacquiao does put on an impressive performance against the exciting Rios, Mayweather may be forced to alter his assessment that Pacquiao is a has-been after his KO at the hands of Marquez. Fight fans around the world who have, over the past three years, wanted the fight to happen may renew their campaign which Mayweather may find difficult to ignore amidst claims he picks opponents whom he could handily defeat.
Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.