As the weeks go by and we get further away from the overly anticipated Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao clash, it's painfully obvious how boxing fans are fed up with tremendously hyped fights that never had a chance of being memorable or fan friendly. And everybody shares the blame in the travesty known as Mayweather-Pacquiao, both Floyd and Manny, along with the boxing media and fans. But that's water under the bridge now and it's time to look at what future bouts can stimulate boxing fans in the not so distant future.
Potential bouts like Sergey Kovalev vs. Adonis Stevenson, Saul Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto, Terence Crawford versus any top fighter between 140-147, Andre Ward versus Kovalev or Gennady Golovkin among others, these are all intriguing.
However, the talk most permeating the debate is – who will the biggest star in boxing, Floyd Mayweather 48-0 (26) next fight? And the name that most often is mentioned from a competitive vantage point is WBA middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin 33-0 (31). He, like Mayweather, really doesn't have any worthy challengers in front of him, at least who the thought of him fighting really excites boxing fans.
When you really think about it, who's left for Mayweather to fight? He spent his entire career telling everybody he was the best in the sport, and today that's pretty hard to refute. We get it, there's not a single fighter campaigning at welterweight or junior middleweight who can present him a serious challenge….not Miguel Cotto, despite Freddie Roach training him, or Canelo Alvarez. But let us not forget, the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions of today are not necessarily murderer's row. It's not like there's a line of title holders who are anything close to being elite fighters like Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Donald Curry circa 1983-85 or Mike McCallum. Actually, I'd favor Marlon Starling over any top welterweight today, excluding Mayweather, and at junior middleweight I wouldn't have to be pressed to take McCallum over Mayweather.
There's nothing left for Mayweather to prove. He has his health and his wealth. Either fight Golovkin and take a real challenge for once, or stop gouging the fans with your faux fights. Then again, I can't blame him for doing it because it's not his fault a couple million fans love getting ripped off at his leisure and call.
Golovkin recently appeared on TMZ sports and said that Mayweather will be his “dream fight.”
“Of course, I beat him,” Golovkin also predicted. “Hundred percent, I'm ready for anybody.”
Mayweather didn't respond to Golovkin's words, but his team did issue a statement to TMZ Sports.
“Everyone in boxing wants to fight Floyd, it's the biggest payday they could possibly have.”
“He has never fought a top opponent in his whole career,” they said of Golovkin. “We're surprised you guys would even have him on your show, to be honest.”
What an unfunny joke. Nobody has picked their spots for an entire boxing career to the enth degree like Mayweather has, but Golovkin hasn't fought anybody? Golovkin doesn't deserve a shot at Floyd and the money that comes with it, but Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez and Victor Ortiz did?
If my memory serves me correctly, the only reason Mayweather finally agreed to fight Pacquiao was twofold: 1) Floyd waited for Manny to breakdown physically, which was apparent during their bout and …2) the public basically said they were done buying his fights unless he took on Pacquiao.
Well, that should be the mantra for Mayweather's next fight. I mean do we really need to see Mayweather fight Keith Thurman or Amir Khan to find out if he can beat them? I don't think so.
During the early to mid-eighties undisputed light heavyweight champ Michael Spinks cleaned out the division to the point to where there were no real challengers for him, and that was at a time when the 175 class was stacked with killers. So Spinks challenged undefeated IBF heavyweight champ Larry Holmes (48-0) who had also virtually cleaned out the division and was in need of a challenger. Three months after last defending the light heavyweight title Spinks fought Holmes for his title. Larry was 50 plus pounds bigger than any opponent Michael ever fought…..or 37 pounds bigger than Golovkin is Mayweather. There was no catch-weight clause attached to the fight because Spinks wanted to beat the heavyweight champ, not his skeleton. Almost 30 years ago this coming September as a 6-1 underdog Spinks made history as the first reigning light heavyweight champ to defeat the reigning heavyweight champ via a 15-round split decision, solidifying his place in history. Spinks made history that night and defied it by preventing Holmes from tying Rocky Marciano's perfect record of 49-0.
Roy Jones cleaned out a more pedestrian light heavyweight division 18 years later and challenged WBA heavyweight title holder John Ruiz. Like Spinks, Jones didn't force Ruiz to come down in weight or fight any lighter than he had for any other heavyweight title bout. No, Ruiz wasn't Larry Holmes, but he was a legitimate title holder and 50 plus pounds bigger than any other opponent Jones ever fought. Jones out-boxed Ruiz by a pronounced margin on all three cards to join Spinks as the second reigning light heavyweight title holder to defeat a reigning heavyweight title holder.
Now, picture Michael Spinks standing next to Larry Holmes and Roy Jones standing next to John Ruiz….then picture Floyd Mayweather standing next to Gennady Golovkin. If you think Golovkin is dramatically bigger than Mayweather compared to the advantage in size Holmes and Ruiz held over Spinks and Jones, stop reading right now and make an appointment with an eye doctor.
The fact is, Golovkin like Marvin Hagler, isn't even a big middleweight. And he's only 11-13 pounds heavier than Mayweather. If Floyd wants to seal his legacy and shut up his critics, fight Golovkin in a non-catch-weight bout. No, Golovkin is not a certified all-time great yet, but he may be viewed as one by the time he retires. Mayweather beating Golovkin in a non-catch-weight bout would be his crowning achievement.
There's only one fight left worth paying to see Mayweather partake in and that's against Golovkin at 160. It would be a monumental bout. However, I'm a cynic and believe if it does happen, Golovkin and his team will be forced to sell out and come in at 154. And if you think Daniel Geale looked like a ghost at 157, Golovkin would look like a ghost on crack the day of the weigh in at 154. On fight night he'd be an empty package and I would pick Mayweather to win. And the con would continue.
If Golovkin fights Mayweather at 154 he gets beat like every other fighter does who moves down to fight in a high profile catch-weight bout. And if they fight at 160 and Mayweather wins, he can join fighters the likes of Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns as one of the greatest of the greats. Instead of trying to plead for his respect that he belongs on the same stage with them.
Team Mayweather's response to Golovkin's challenge was very condescending; then again what else would you expect. Instead of saying Golovkin hasn't earned the shot, they should've been honest and said Floyd wants no part of a live fighter who he's closer to in size than the way he dwarfed Juan Manuel Marquez when they fought six years ago. When Marquez challenged Floyd, and agreed to carve and starve, the fight happened.
Let’s end the BS that Golovkin at 159 is too big for an elite fighter like Mayweather at 151. Michael Spinks and Roy Jones know differently.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com