The clock is ticking. Not for Floyd “Money” Mayweather. But for everybody else who wants a shot at the belt, his undefeated record and the champ himself. And for the fight fans around the world who are starving for the opportunity to see Mayweather suffer his first defeat – an opponent awaits the phone call that can change his careeer. It doesn’t matter if you are a Floyd Mayweather fan or not. Love him or hate him he will go down as one of the best fighters of all-time.
The anomaly with Floyd Mayweather is that he is not slowing down. He is mentally sharper than he has ever been. At the age of 38 his body looks great. His cardiovascular prowess makes him the toughest out in sports. And the fact that he has avoided punishment over his illustrious career validates that he still has time left – if he wants.
Floyd Mayweather is approaching the final two fights of his groundbreaking six-fight deal with Showtime Sports and on Monday the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe, announced that Floyd will be back in the ring on September 13, 2014. The date has been set; however, the opponent is far from locked in.
And the Money Sweepstake begins!
Who is the next opponent for Floyd Mayweather? Our crew breaks it all down for the fans and lays out some interesting scenarios that could play out over the next few weeks.
For this article we had to put ourselves inside of Mayweather’s camp and determine how we perceive the conversation between Floyd and his team to be going. We have broken this list down into four categories – The Punching Bags, The Technicians, The Wildcards and The Blockbuster.
In part 1 of our Mayweather Sweepstakes post we will tackle the “Punching Bags.” These are the guys who deliver the hard shots, apply pressure, but open themselves up to punishment themselves.
The Punching Bags
Ruslan Provodnikov (Junior Welterweight)
Let me start by saying this – I am the biggest Siberian Rocky fan out there. His style, tenacity and the relentless pressure he imposes on his opponents, while simultaneously taking shots himself, makes for entertaining television and gives me a sense of relief that there are still fighters out there who can give fans a ‘throwback’ style of fighting. I believe that Provodnikov is capable of implementing a bruising fight strategy against Floyd, and if given the opportunity I truly believe he can build on what Maidana was able to do against Floyd. In my opinion Provodnikov is a superior boxer to Maidana and Porter – two fighters who also appear on the Mayweather Sweepstake. Even though I believe the Siberian Rocky could challenge Mayweather and impose his will on Floyd, in the end i would still favor Floyd in the fight. Unless Provodnikov could knock him out, Mayweather would be able to steal rounds and dance around Provodnikov landing high-punch combinations and wearing him down until the final bell.
Shawn Porter (Welterweight)
Similar to Ruslan Provodnikov, Cleveland-native, Shawn Porter possesses a similar style that has given Floyd trouble in the past. The overwhelming style that includes barrages of wild punches and relies heavily on a disruptive inside game is exactly what Floyd’s opponents should all be practicing. However, the natural ability of Floyd to avoid punches, utilize his shoulder roll and footwork and ultimately adapt to his opponents strategies still gives him the advantage over Porter and proves that boxing truly is in his DNA. Add in the fact that Porter may be star-struck by Floyd – he has said so much during an interview – and you have a recipe for a fight that will end in a Mayweather decision.
Marcos Maidana (Welterweight)
“El Chino” surprised everyone on May 3, 2014 as he rose to the occasion and lived up to the name of the fight, which was “The Moment,” nearly shocking the world in a back-and-forth war with Mayweather. Marcos Maidana did everything he could to make Mayweather uncomfortable and he gave the Argentine faithful something to be proud of. But is a rematch warranted? Floyd won the fight hands down. I had him winning the fight decisively despite the opinions of various media outlets, fans and Maidana himself. Maidana almost found ‘the blueprint’ and he has one of the best trainers in Robert Garcia in his corner; however, I am not sure he can conquer the Mayweather-mountain, and quite frankly I am not certain Floyd would give him a second chance.
In the end, when discussing these three fighters and the possibility of either of them receiving an opportunity against Floyd you have to ask the basic question – Would Floyd risk his perfect record against one of these big punchers again?
In my opinion two of the three fighters on this list do not stand a chance. And the lone fighter who would stand a chance fights under the rival promotional company. The presence of the Cold War between Golden Boy and Top Rank would most certainly prevent the ideal fight from ever happening.
Best Matchup for Floyd: Shawn Porter
Worst Matchup for Floyd: Ruslan Provodnikov
Most Likely Fight to be Made: Marcos Maidana
Check back soon as we preview “The Technician” group and desperately try to predict who is next in line for a shot at Floyd Mayweather.