Unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Floyd (Money) Mayweather Jr. has chosen from among three candidates whom to face on May 4 in Las Vegas and Manny Pacquiao was not even in the list as the showdown that could’ve once brought a combined $100 Million payday for both fighters isn’t relevant at the moment.
Mayweather, who turns 36 on Sunday, has announced plans of fighting twice this year – something he hasn’t done since 2007 when “Money” outpointed Oscar de la Hoya and halted Ricky Hatton. The speculation is Mayweather has finally realized his boxing years are numbered and wants to maximize whatever is left of his mileage. The other day, he signed a six-fight deal over 2 1/2 years with cable network Showtime, meaning a crowded schedule of a bout every six months.
The three options on Mayweather’s table for his next engagement were IBF welterweight titlist Devon Alexander, interim WBC welterweight ruler Robert (The Ghost) Guerrero and Juan Manuel Marquez. Over a week ago, Mayweather named Alexander as his May 4 opponent but it was apparently just a ploy to wangle a better deal with Guerrero. It made no sense for Mayweather to fight another American on the Mexican Cinco de Mayo weekend. Besides, Alexander – who has lost to Timothy Bradley – wouldn’t be much of a threat.
Marquez, 39, is coming off a sensational knockout win over Pacquiao but couldn’t be considered a draw particularly as he was badly beaten by Mayweather in 2009. Their fight wasn’t even close as judge Burt Clements scored it 120-107, judge Dave Moretti 119-108 and judge Bill Lerch 118-109, all for Mayweather who dropped Marquez in the second round. Instead of knocking on Mayweather’s door, Marquez would be smart to face Pacquiao in a fifth meeting, perhaps in September. A loss to Mayweather in May will severely diminish the market potential of a quintology with Pacquiao. And in a rematch with Mayweather, the chances are Marquez will lose as convincingly as he did four years ago. So the obvious choice was Guerrero who is of Mexican descent.
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WBC lightmiddleweight champion Saul Alvarez will battle Austin Trout in the Mayweather undercard on May 4. If Alvarez and Mayweather win that night, they’ll likely square off on Sept. 14 during the Mexican Independence Day weekend. Sept. 14 is earmarked in Mayweather’s schedule for his second fight this year.
As for Pacquiao, Mayweather may not be a priority now. He’ll want to avenge his setback to Marquez and there is talk of a tune-up in April if it can be arranged. If no promoter puts up a pile for a tune-up, Pacquiao could go straight to a fifth bout against Marquez in September. Marquez, his promoter Fernando Beltran and trainer Nacho Beristain claim they’re not interested in another Pacquiao fight because there’s nothing left to prove. But that’s suspiciously posturing. Marquez, like Mayweather, is counting the years before he retires and he’ll want the biggest paycheck available – that could only come from a fifth Pacquiao duel.
Mayweather has a 43-0 record, with 26 KOs, and the first fighter to stain it is destined to leave his mark in boxing history. “Sooner or later, time will take the edge off him,” said John Dennen of Boxing News. Matt Christie, also of Boxing News, said, “Whether the defeat comes this year or not, the defeat will come. The sport is slowly changing its guards and Mayweather will soon be clocked by Father Time.”
For his next fight, Mayweather is bringing back his father Floyd Sr. as chief trainer. That may or may not be a positive because the father appears to be as delusionary as the son. Mayweather is intent on hanging up his gloves with an unbeaten record and believes he’s invulnerable. “No one has a chance to beat me,” said Mayweather, quoted by Bernard Fernandez in The Ring Magazine. “I’m not saying nobody else is good but I know how to win. I’m the best that ever lived, hands down. No one can get me to say Sugar Ray Robinson or anybody else was or is better than me. No one was better. No one is better. Maybe, no one else will be better.”
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Guerrero, 29, totes a 31-1-1 record, with 18 KOs, and is unbeaten in his last 17 outings since losing a split decision to Gamaliel Diaz in 2005. But he should’ve lost to Orlando Salido in 2006 only the fight was declared a no-contest and Salido’s win by unanimous decision was erased after he tested positive for steroids.
Although Guerrero insists he will deal Mayweather his first loss, the consensus is it’s a pipe dream. “Mayweather’s still undefeated after all these years and no one has come close to beating him because he can make so many adjustments,” said Guerrero quoted by Donald McRae in Boxing News. “But a lot of fighters break down mentally before they meet Mayweather. This is the difference between me and them. I’ve been through such a lot both in and outside the ring. I’ve defended my world (IBF superfeatherweight) title in the week Casey (his wife) was diagnosed with leukaemia. I knocked out a real tough guy (Martin Honorio) just days after I got the most devastating news. It takes a very strong person, mentally, to do that.”
Alvarez, 22, has the best chance of beating Mayweather. He boasts a 41-0-1 record, with 30 KOs, and could stop “Money” in his tracks with relentless pressure. Alvarez is 13 years younger and won’t wear down as quickly as Mayweather will. Pacquiao also packs the tools to defeat Mayweather and if ever their paths cross, it could be the Fight of the Decade. Pacquiao, however, has Marquez on his mind for the time being and once he exacts revenge, expect the Filipino icon to call out Mayweather. Pacquiao may not be in Mayweather’s line of sight now but that’s a temporary state of affairs.