Floyd Mayweather's announcement that he will fight Marcos Maidana on May 3 finally brought down the curtain on what has arguably been one of boxing's most tiresome sagas of the past few months.
The ill-handled and likely intentionally drawn-out ordeal - engineered to generate a ‘will he, won't he?'-type buzz - seemed to fall relatively flat when the simple realisation dawned on many fans that, actually, the options presented were all considerably less palatable than what had gone before.
While what happened in the ring played out more like a procession, last summer's ordainment of Canelo Alvarez as boxing's heir apparent did at least have considerable intrigue. In Maidana, and the vocal bridesmaid that has been Amir Khan, it would appear that we already know both men's ceilings: despite December's shellacking of Adrien Broner, we've seen ‘El Chino' thoroughly outboxed by Devon Alexander - and, let's not forget, outfought by Khan - while the tribulations of the Bolton man, at the hands of Diaz, Garcia, Prescott, et al, were brought to the fore throughout what amounted to little more than trial by public jury.
It's going to take a huge effort to make a potential PPV audience buy into the fact that a Maidana match-up is any more threatening to Mayweather than, say, last year's Robert Guerrero equivalent. Inevitably, the layers agree, opening with Mayweather as a landslide 1/14 (-1400+) favourite, with Maidana as large as 10/1 (+1000). It's worth pointing out, too, that at present that's the best available price, with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power as short as 1/20 (-2000). By way of damning comparison, Mayweather was around a -750 shot against Guerrero (Guerrero +475), and in hindsight the oddsmakers may well consider that as much too generous. For reference, Mayweather's general price against Canelo last time out was around the -225 mark. Whichever way you slice it, this looks like a difficult sell.
Khan's audition may have been a fruitless one, but interestingly - or rather, as interesting as this whole gruesome affair can have possibly been - it was he that the bookies thought would put up more resistance. The word resistance should, in this context, be taken with a pinch of salt - Mayweather was priced up as the lopsided 1/8 (-800) lock, with Khan at +750 - but the theory that Khan had the better chance, however minimal, was - and probably is - still well-subscribed to.
It's one that this good-for-nothing boxing blogger would disagree with, however. While it may be true that Khan would have likely been the quickest opponent that the Grand Rapids man had seen since 2006's Zab Judah, the notion that Mayweather would somehow be bamboozled by hand speed feels preposterous. From this viewpoint, the only chance that anyone currently has of beating Floyd Mayweather - or at least, the version we last saw in September - is a puncher's one, and there can be little debate that, of the two names that were in the hat, it's Maidana that's better equipped in that department.
At time of writing, the odds on Mayweather-Maidana are in their formative stages, but it's no stretch to say with some certainty that, in terms of the method of victory - or prop - bets, Mayweather will be heavily odds-on to coast a decision victory, perhaps as short as 1/3 or so (-300), rather than be the first to force a stoppage against the Argentine.