He'll surely deny it. In fact he'll even go as far as to say that it misses him more than he misses it. But the evidence offers layers of undeniable proof that former pound-for-pound top dog Floyd Mayweather misses being the main man in professional boxing. Then again, maybe you can say Mayweather is still the main man in the sport in that his routine tweets stimulate more conversation and debate than most high profile bouts that air on HBO and Showtime.
Mayweather 49-0 (26) retired from boxing as the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world after beating Andre Berto last September. And since he's been retired there's been continued speculation that his return is imminent. Most, myself included, do not believe for a minute that Mayweather will not come back and fight for a 50th time and look to eclipse Rocky Marciano's iconic 49-0 record which has stood since 1955.
Since he's been gone, Floyd has managed to keep himself in the news via presidential candidate Donald Trump's favorite method of communication; twitter. For months Floyd has been tweeting pictures of himself buying new exotic cars, being on dates and sitting poolside with sexy women and hanging out with rappers. He's also gone at it via the media with former friend and current WBA super lightweight title holder Adrien Broner. We've seen pictures of Mayweather sitting court-side at Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks games. In addition to all of that, he's shot down reports that he's going to fight Manny Pacquiao in a rematch and hasn't passed up an opportunity to tweak MMA combatants Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey who both lost their last fight.
Oh yes, Mayweather misses the spotlight. So what he's done in a roundabout way is purchased his own light. I said a few years ago that Floyd would be a week old ghost seven days after he retired. And if it wasn't for Floyd going out of his way to keep himself in the news, that would be the case. Mayweather can talk about living the life in retirement and counting his money all he wants, but Floyd is still a fighter first, and he looked like an elite one in his last two bouts versus Pacquiao and Berto. There's no doubt Floyd misses the accolades that Terence Crawford, Gennady Golovkin, Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev are now getting.
Mayweather hasn't said he's returning to the ring but according to Golovkin's trainer, Abel Sanchez, he just seems to be fixated on fighting Golovkin. “I've seen three or four pieces in the last couple of weeks where he's talking about beating Golovkin,” he told Yahoo Sports. “It looks like he's laying the groundwork for something, whether it's Golovkin or somebody else. Floyd is laying the groundwork for a comeback.”
And as most know, Mayweather referred to Golovkin as “easy work.” Adding speculation is the fact that Golovkin said back in July that he'd drop weight to make a fight happen. “Look at me, I'm not big, I'm not fat,” Golovkin said at the time, via Boxingscene.com. “My couple of last fights, I was 158, 159. It's possible for me [to go down to fight him]. I would go to 154 just for Floyd. I understand that this is biggest fight in the world. This would show who is who, the best fighter in the world.”
Last week Mayweather commented on Golovkin…saying there are two things Golovkin needs to do to earn the right to challenge him: “He's gotta call out Andre Ward, beat Andre Ward, and then I'll fight him. I haven't seen him call out Andre Ward yet.”
That sounds real authoritative, however it illustrates that Mayweather wants no part of Golovkin and wants Ward to take the risk first. If Golovkin loses to Ward then there's no need for Floyd to fight him, which is what Floyd's counting on.
I say Mayweather's return goes more like this…
He'll wait until after Golovkin beats Dominic Wade next month and Canelo Alvarez beats Amir Khan in May. If things go according to the alleged script, Alvarez and Golovkin will begin negotiations for their awaited showdown shortly afterward. In the eyes of most boxing aficionados, Alvarez-Golovkin is one of the most anticipated bouts, right up there with Kovalev-Ward. Soon after the Alvarez-Golovkin hype begins, Mayweather will announce that he'd like to fight Alvarez for the lineal middleweight title. For Mayweather, the setting couldn't be better. Alvarez is the real middleweight champ because he beat the man who beat the man and he doesn't even fight as a middleweight. Like Floyd and Miguel Cotto before him, Alvarez is the new “catch-weight diva” and never fights above 155, which serves Mayweather perfectly.
Mayweather's ego will swell even more having knocked the Alvarez-Golovkin bout off the schedule and in the process he will have made the fight that's most winnable for him being that he has already out-boxed Alvarez. Floyd needs a story as to why he's coming back for his 50th fight, and the thought of becoming the first junior lightweight title holder in history to win the middleweight title is a great motivating factor for him. He also knows Alvarez will jump at the chance to fight him again and push back fighting Golovkin as long as he can. And that's because it's the smartest move Canelo could make.
For starters, Alvarez has improved since he fought Mayweather two and a half years ago. Canelo surely must believe that it would be different this time with Mayweather being two and a half years older and him being two and a half years more experienced. And let’s face it, going down as the first fighter to beat Mayweather is surely more of a legacy enhancer than being remembered as the first fighter to beat Golovkin. Another reason why he would be best served fighting Mayweather is, under the best case scenario if he loses, it'll be by decision and he won't get beat up, hurt, knocked out or embarrassed. On the other hand, a loss to Golovkin could bruise more than his ego and there's a chance (although I don't think that's the way it'll go) that he could be humiliated in the process.
And lastly, above all else, fighting Mayweather would probably net Alvarez three times more money than he'd make fighting Gennady Golovkin. Alvarez can rebuild his career if he lost to Mayweather again. The re-branding process would begin with the notion Mayweather simply owned the style matchup between them just as he has every other opponent he's faced. Whereas, against Golovkin, Alvarez could be out-manned in a memorable fashion and that would be harder for Alvarez to shake down the road.
I've yet to speak with anyone who is even a quasi-boxing fan who doesn't believe Mayweather will fight for the 50th time. Once Alvarez-Golovkin and Kovalev-Ward start to dominate the talk in boxing circles, I think Floyd will want to blow it up as only he can. And fighting Alvarez for the lineal middleweight title couldn't be more perfect as far as providing Mayweather everything he craves — attention, money and legacy enrichment.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com