PBF reminds us that boxing is business first

All the speculation as to who P4P king Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be fighting next can finally be put to rest.

According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, hometown hero Cory Spinks not the tough-as-nails Carlos Baldomir not the heavy-handed Antonio Margarito is the next man in line to see how he matches up against PBF the nonpareil.

The two titleholders will meet on Nov. 4 for Spinks’ IBF junior-middleweight belt.

“This is big,” said Spinks’ trainer/manager Kevin Cunningham. “Cory’s ready to take his career to the next level. Everyone says Mayweather’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. This is one of the biggest fights in boxing outside the heavyweight division.”

Mayweather, the man to beat, is 29 years old and has a record of 36-0 with 24 knockouts. The champ/challenger Spinks is 28 and is 35-3 with 11 KOs.

This bout has been in the works since Spinks retained his three welterweight belts with a unanimous decision win over Zab Judah on April 10, 2004 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

At a post-fight news conference captained by the inimitable Don King, Mayweather confronted Spinks at the podium and yelled, “Skills pay the bills.”

“Bring it on,” Spinks hollered back.

King was in his element, liking nothing better than to sit back and watch two potential foes square off and lob verbal salvoes at one another in front of a scoop-deranged boxing press.

After a few minutes of tolerating the one-upmanship with a knowing smile on his face, DK the peacemaker separated the warring factions, but not before Spinks got in the last word: “Sign a contract.”

“It’s 99 percent done,” Cunningham said. “The one percent is Don announcing when the press conference will be.”

Cunningham added that the IBF gave their thumbs-up to the fight on Tuesday.

“And they don’t approve a championship fight unless all the contracts have been signed,” he added.

Mayweather is surrendering his IBF welterweight belt to challenge Spinks for his IBF junior-middleweight title.

Although Mayweather-Spinks isn’t the fight most hardcore fans were hoping to see, both fighters have titles and marquee names, so marketing the bout as something especially meaningful ought to be easy.

But it doesn’t quite squelch the disappointment at not seeing the best take on the best now instead of at some later date. Maybe matching Mayweather against Baldomir or Margarito makes zero sense in terms of business and longevity, but the question of pride, how much or how little, and Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather might have finally been answered definitively.