Since June 1, Floyd Mayweather has been residing at the Clark County Detention Center in Nevada, serving his sentence after a plea deal in a domestic violence case. Mayweather, 43-0 (26) is regarded as the best pound for pound fighter in professional boxing. In his last fight on May 5th he took apart Miguel Cotto, winning by an overwhelming unanimous decision. Floyd looked terrific against Cotto and during many patches of the fight he beat him at his own game, on the inside, where it was obvious to most sophisticated observers that Mayweather was actually the physically stronger man.
Well, “Money” is scheduled to be set free this Friday, August 3rd and never in his career have two things been more painfully obvious. For starters, no one, I mean no one knows for sure what he's going to do or who he is going to fight next, if he fights again. He's had plenty of time to clear his head and think about it, then again he may not be certain himself in regards to who or what's next. And speaking of jail, contrary to a lot of what's being written about Floyd's “doing time,” three months out of the general population is not going to change him one iota. The Floyd Mayweather who went in is identical to the one coming out.
The other thing that's never been more applicable regarding Mayweather is the fact that he's never held all the cards more so than he does now pertaining to his fighting future. Since his stay at the Cross-Bar Hotel, his biggest rival, Manny Pacquiao, lost a very controversial decision to Timothy Bradley in his last bout on June 9th. Forget about how you saw the fight or who you think won it, the bottom line is Pacquiao looked bad, and that had more to do with his dramatic decline and loss of focus than anything Bradley did strategically. If you dispute that, you're seeing things that aren't there.
Right now Pacquiao needs Mayweather more than the opposite. Not only did Mayweather give one of his best career performances in his last bout against Cotto, it just so happens that Pacquiao is coming off of the two most pedestrian showings he's turned in over the last five years. So if they're going to fight, Mayweather will dictate the terms because he can and Manny has no choice but to accept them if he wants to get Mayweather in the ring.
Furthermore, if for some reason they end up not fighting it's Mayweather who has all the options. Let's face it, other than fighting Mayweather, who can Pacquiao fight that would really stimulate the boxing public? Mayweather can fight Canelo Alvarez, Sergio Martinez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and they'd be blockbuster attractions. The same can't be said for Pacquiao for the simple fact that other than against Alvarez, he would be considered too small and an overwhelming underdog versus Martinez and Chavez. That leaves him Marquez IV or Bradley II. The last two bouts Pacquiao had against them weren't very aesthetically pleasing to watch.
Amir Khan was on the short list at one time as a future opponent for Pacquiao and Mayweather, but that all changed when Philly's Danny Garcia stopped him last month. And it's not a reach to say that the loss to Garcia may have finished Khan off as a world class championship fighter campaigning between 140-147. If not for good, at least so for the near future.
During the past decade those who followed Mayweather knew he had no intention of fighting Shane Mosley or Miguel Cotto until they were on the wrong side of the hill. Now, that's not saying he wouldn't have defeated them prime for prime, it's just that it was easy to connect the dots and surmise he'd wait until he held the upper hand, and that's what happened. That's why we saw fillers with him fighting Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez and Victor Ortiz during the interim. And if you're honest, that's what he's done with Pacquiao, waited for him to decline mentally and physically as a fighter.
Think about all those fans and writers that were detailing how and why Pacquiao would be Mayweather's stumbling block. Perhaps back in 2009/2010 they were right, but that doesn't mean a thing now because the fight didn't happen then. It's what happens from this point on that counts, and if Mayweather sees that the time is right to fight Pacquiao under his new “TMT” promotions with rapper 50 Cent, you better believe those fans and writers, at least most of them, will see the fight differently. Actually, it was more fun when you could make a case that the fight was a pick'em. Now if they fight Mayweather will be a nearly 2-1 favorite.
The amazing thing about what's going on with Mayweather now is, it's nothing more than a crap shoot as to what he'll say and do when he's released from jail. Will he retire? I doubt it but I wouldn't be shocked. Will he go after Pacquiao realizing that at age 35 the sand is also running through the hour glass for him? What about Canelo, Martinez and Chavez? Surely he sees them as not being the most difficult terrain a great fighter like himself has ever had to navigate. There's probably 80 million dollars waiting for him in two fights with Alvarez and Martinez if he wants it. And you know those fights are there for him if he wants them, barring some unforeseen turn of events.
Personally, I've always felt that Floyd Mayweather was very transparent and easy to see through in regards to what he said and what his true intentions were. And my record has been pretty much on the mark, something I really can't pat myself on the back for. It's more the case of if you really observed him objectively, it was easy to see he was a great manager long before he was a great fighter.
All that being said, I have no idea what direction Mayweather will go after he's served his time and is released later this week. I just know that he's never held every card in the deck like he does now. He can make whatever fight he wants and he'll make a fortune. And if he deems that perhaps the Martinez-Chavez winner is too dangerous, he won't fight them. He'll just go another direction or retire.
One thing is for sure – nobody knows what's going to happen when Floyd Mayweather leaves jail tomorrow. But everybody will be watching and listening. That we do know.
Frank Lotierzo can contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com