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Floyd Mayweather: Candidates for a potential 50th fight in 2016

Floyd Mayweather says he's retired, but we'll see. If he does come back in 2016, who fits the bill as a potential opponent?

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

With so few of us believing that Floyd Mayweather's supposed retirement at 49-0 is really going to stick, what with this being boxing, Mayweather having retired before, 50-0 just being too perfect a number to pass up, and a lot of money available to go for it, it's worth considering what Mayweather might do should he decide to break his retirement in 2016 and come back for at least the one more fight.

There would, of course, be no shortage of fighters lining up for the chance to put Floyd's record at 49-1, or at least cash the paycheck that comes along with being the 0 in 50-0. (The second 0, I mean.) But there aren't many fighters that really fit the bill, particularly given how disinterested the general public was in Mayweather's fight with Andre Berto on September 12, as Floyd posted his lowest PPV number since his 2006 fight with Carlos Baldomir.

The ideal scenario would be Mayweather returning for No. 50 with a strong opponent who can drive legitimate pay-per-view interest. Showtime and HBO would no doubt both be interested in getting Floyd on board for a fight, with a lot of money sure to be thrown around if this becomes more than just a thought.

So let's say it's going to happen, or at least give it enough weight that there's a strong possibility it will happen. Who can Mayweather face next May or next September? Who fits the bill as the possible 50th fight for the pound-for-pound king?

The winner of Miguel Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez

Miguel Cotto v Canelo Alvarez - Press Tour Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Why it works: The Cotto-Canelo winner is going to be one of the hottest names in boxing, and a rematch with Mayweather would not be a hard sell. Cotto gave Mayweather a little trouble in 2012, and now works with Freddie Roach. A win over Canelo would give huge support to his claim of being a sort of "reborn" fighter. And with a win over Cotto, Canelo could easily be sold as a more mature fighter than when he fought Mayweather in 2013. Both guys have big fan bases and offer extremely strong "B-side" support to PPV numbers.

Possible blocks: Mayweather sort of hinted that HBO had made him an offer for a fight, but also said that he is loyal to Showtime and CBS. That could change, obviously. If Cotto is the fighter in question here, there could be an issue in that Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation Sports company promotes Cotto, really doesn't like Al Haymon, and vice versa.

Manny Pacquiao

Boxing: Mayweather vs Pacquiao Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Why it works: Though it certainly wouldn't sell 4.6 million pay-per-views or bring the sort of incredible hype and anticipation we saw when the two finally met on May 2 of this year, there's still a whole lot of money in a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch. And with all the controversy -- Pacquiao's shoulder, Mayweather's IV usage -- there is some built-in story to try to sell a fight that was a real dud the first time around once the bell rang.

Possible blocks: It was hard enough getting everyone from Haymon to Arum and in-between on the same page for one fight, and that one was worth a lot more money than this one would be. Getting all those people to work together again may be a truly Herculean task, and particularly if Mayweather wanted to have Showtime involved. It's also possible that Mayweather is truly not interested in going through it all again, as he seemed to take genuine offense at Pacquiao blaming a shoulder injury for his defeat.

Danny Garcia

PBC on ESPN: Danny Garcia v Paulie Malignaggi Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Why it works: Garcia hasn't been handed a loss, though many would argue that Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson did enough in recent fights, and he's young and unbeaten. Also, if Mayweather wants to work with Showtime, Garcia is easy to get, as he also works with Al Haymon.

Possible blocks: Garcia could be a tough sell. Mayweather works best as the villain of a fight, and Garcia isn't exactly the best babyface character, as he presents himself sort of similarly to the "Money Mayweather" persona. On the plus side, some Floyd Sr vs Angel Garcia pressers could be off the rails.

Amir Khan

PBC: Amir Khan v Chris Algieri Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Why it works: Some of what Amir Khan always talks about is totally understandable. He does have faster hands than just about anyone out there, and that could be trouble for an aged Mayweather. It's not to say that Amir Khan should be seen as Mayweather's greatest threat at one-four-seven so much as, you know, he does have the fast hands, and that would be something different than some other recent Mayweather fights. And there's been enough talk over the years that if this fight had a time to happen, it's probably now. Like Garcia, this is a relatively easy fight for Showtime to put together with Haymon on both sides.

Possible blocks: Mayweather seems to maybe just really not like Amir Khan, and Khan maybe doesn't do himself any favors at all by constantly talking about the Mayweather fight as if he, Amir Khan, is the only viable option in the world, and that Mayweather is avoiding him out of fear. Floyd pulls the strings and fights who he wants, and while the "you're afraid of me" tactic can work when the other guy might need to prove that to be incorrect, so few take Khan's claims remotely seriously that Mayweather can pretty much ignore them if he wants to do so, and so far he has wanted to do so.

Keith Thurman

Thurman vs. Guerrero Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Why it works: Thurman is an unbeaten, young, charismatic American welterweight contender who talks a very good game, and thus far has walked his talk in the ring. He's been very vocal about wanting this fight for a couple of years now, and has taken a different approach to asking for it, saying that he's sure he can beat Floyd, but also that he's not afraid to lose to him and do so by going out on his shield if need be.

Possible blocks: Mayweather's team really don't seem to want the fight, which you can take however you wish. When his name is brought up, they tend to dismiss him and say he should fight Errol Spence Jr, a blue chip prospect to be sure, but Thurman is a legitimate contender, not a prospect checker. (Not that I think any of us would turn down a Thurman-Spence fight, or count Spence out in that matchup.)

Kell Brook

Kell Brook v Jo Jo Dan - IBF World Welterweight Title Fight Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Why it works: If Brook impressively beats Diego Chaves on October 24, he's got just about as good a claim to being the world's top welterweight as anyone. The 29-year-old British star has shut down any doubters about his overall potential, as he's clearly a true world-level welterweight and one of today's elite in the division. Undefeated, young, and a titleholder, Brook has the credentials from a technical standpoint.

Possible blocks: Brook has made a little noise in America, mostly with his win over Shawn Porter for the IBF belt in August 2014, and he'll be back on Showtime for the Chaves bout. One might read into that as Showtime wanting to make sure they've showcased Brook as much as possible in case Mayweather-Brook DID become an idea. (One would probably be reaching a bit with that.) But Brook is not a major name in the States yet. That's not his fault, it's just a fact.

Gennady Golovkin

Gennady Golovkin v Willie Monroe Jr. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Why it works: It doesn't, really, as anything other than fantasy.

Possible blocks: Think about it purely physically, and ask yourself if you'd want to see Golovkin vs Devon Alexander. Mayweather's not a middleweight. Any decision to fight at middleweight or fight someone like Golovkin is entirely on Mayweather. If he doesn't want to, it's absurd for fans to consider this some sort of issue with Mayweather. It's impossible to "duck" someone two weight classes above you.