Floyd Mayweather Jr fought for the first time in 16 months last night, scoring a controversial but legal knockout of Victor Ortiz in four rounds. Now there are two questions: Who's next, and when will we see Floyd back in the ring?
Mayweather sounds like he'll be in no rush, according to BoxingScene.com:
"I move when I want to move. I fight when I want to fight. That's the great thing about being my own boss. ... Since I gave the sport so many great fights, is it okay for me to take 16 months off to spend time with family? That's all I ask."
Will he take 16 months off again? Maybe, but maybe not. Since his first "superfight" against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, this has been Mayweather's schedule: May 2007 against Oscar, December 2007 against Ricky Hatton, September 2009 against Juan Manuel Marquez, May 2010 against Shane Mosley, and September 2011 against Victor Ortiz.
His quickest turnaround has been the Hatton fight following Oscar, seven months apart. He took eight months between Marquez and Mosley. But he stayed out for 21 months between Hatton and Marquez, and 16 between Mosley and Ortiz.
At 34 with chronic hand problems, Mayweather is never going to keep a regular schedule again. Probably not even a "two fights a year" regular schedule like Manny Pacquiao has these days.
If Mayweather fights in 2012, there are probably three guys in the running right now, plus a wild card.
This is the fight everyone wants, of course. Pacquiao fights Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12, but is a big favorite. Still, it doesn't seem like either side -- Mayweather or Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum -- are banking on this actually happening. And it's probably not going to happen. That's just the reality. Mayweather has really not mentioned Pacquiao very much since the New York press conference for the Ortiz fight, when he said, "Do I want the Pacquiao fight? Absolutely. Absolutely. If that’s what the fans want, that’s what I want to give the fans. But it takes one step at a time."
In his viral video interview with HBO's Larry Merchant after the fight, Mayweather said, "If he wants a rematch, he can get a rematch." My initial gut feeling last night was that we'd see Mayweather face Ortiz on Saturday, May 5, 2012 -- Cinco De Mayo. The last time Mayweather fought on May 5, it was against Oscar. What a way to celebrate the fifth anniversary of boxing's all-time biggest PPV money maker -- Floyd against Lil' Oscar, with some bad blood and some controversy stemming from the first fight.
The one thing that could prevent this is Victor Ortiz. Not that he wouldn't take the fight (he surely would), but if public opinion of him really dropped after last night, that hurts. Mayweather probably also lost some favor with a lot of people, but Mayweather is an interesting case in that he sells both to his fans (yes, he has millions of them) and the people who hate him.
Khan is set to fight Lamont Peterson on December 10, and there has already been a lot of talk about a Mayweather vs Khan fight in 2012. But if Mayweather does want to fight on May 5, that probably wouldn't be the Khan date. Golden Boy sounds like they want to finish Khan up at 140 pounds, move him up to welterweight with sort of a test fight, and then go to Floyd. That would require Mayweather vs Khan to be no earlier than September 2012, which wouldn't be surprising or anything, but Mayweather might really want that May date. He fights now on the big Mexican fight weekends -- Cinco De Mayo in May, Mexican Independence in September.
On another note, Pacquiao likes to fight in May and November. Will there be a race to book that May 5 date between Floyd and Manny? I think you can almost guarantee there will be at least strong rumors of both fighting on that date.
The Wild Card: Sergio Martinez
Never say never. If Floyd could get Martinez to take a fight at, say, a 155-pound catchweight, then maybe it could happen. It's not a strong possibility or anything, but the idea is out there.
My guess is still that he'll rematch Ortiz on May 5, and maybe, just maybe, fight Khan next December. It depends on how much money is on the table for both fights, and how much he wants to fight, and how his body is holding up.