Floyd Mayweather’s win over Manny Pacquiao in the ‘Fight of the Century’ left the controversial American as the undisputed pound-for-pound king of boxing.
The win leaves the 38-year-old’s career history at 48-0, just one victory away from tying Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record when he retired from the sport.
While the temptation is there for Mayweather to break the record, he insists he’s sticking to a contract he signed with TV channel Showtime in 2013 that leaves him with one last fight in September.
“I’ve got one more fight with Showtime and CBS, you guys have done a remarkable job. My last fight is in September, then it’s time for me to hang it up,” Mayweather said. “I’m almost 40 years old now, I’ve been in the sport 19 years, I’ve been a world champion 18 years and I’m truly, truly thankful and I’m blessed.”
However there is a twist in the tail.
After the fight Mayweather announced he would be giving up all four of his titles – WBA, WBO, WBC and Ring Magazine.
“Other fighters need a chance,” Mayweather said. “Give them chances. It’s time for other fighters to have chances at belts.”
The decision came under the pretence of altruism, but even if that is true, the most telling consequence of Mayweather’s move is that he can now choose whichever opponent he wants for his September fight, rather than one dictated to him by a governing body.
There was also speculation from the US that it may have been a calculated call to avoid the fees imposed by sanctioning bodies.
If Mayweather is serious about lacing up the gloves again as early as September, the options for an opponent appear to be somewhat limited. Then again, after what it took to finally get the fight with Pacquiao together, anything is going to be a let-down.
Chances are Mayweather and Pacquiao won’t rematch, so forget about that right away. It was a monumental task to get them in the ring together the first time, so it’s unlikely all the parties involved would find a way to work together again to make a second fight so quickly.
The most-likely candidates are either Amir Khan or Keith Thurman Jr., although Mayweather would be a massive favourite in either fight.
Khan already was a rumoured opponent for Mayweather on a couple of occasions before Mayweather moved into a pair of bouts against Marcos Maidana. Khan has a fight coming up against Chris Algieri in May that he would have to win before cashing in on a potential matchup with Mayweather.
“I think the fight is there,” Khan told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek program.
“I spoke to Len Ellerbe, his (Mayweather’s) manager, I saw him in the media room and he came over to say ‘hi … he’s ready when you are’.
“I think Mayweather’s team are wanting the fight. But then – on the other hand – I’ve even spoken to Manny’s team and they said the same thing. (They said), ‘Look Amir, I think it’d be good to have the fight between you and Manny next’.
“So, I’m in a position where I could fight either guy but I think Mayweather’s the one I want, because I really believe I have his number.”
Thurman is fresh off a 12-round drubbing of Robert Guerrero, whom Mayweather also pasted, but doesn’t have nearly the name value of Khan in boxing circles.
In all actuality, Mayweather doesn’t need to fight again because it’s never going to get bigger or better than the Pacquiao bout.
Nobody seemed more aware of that than Mayweather himself as he was peppered with questions about his future in the post-fight press conference.
“I just beat Manny Pacquiao. Can I enjoy my victory? Please?” he said.