Floyd Mayweather topped ESPN’s rich list for 2015 by earning an estimated £161 million. Just to put that into context, that is four and half times more than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
And with the pound for pound king planning to feature in the final fight of his career in September, boxers across the globe are clamouring to end the 38 year olds unbeaten record and land the ‘Mayweather jackpot’ in the process.
In this article, GiveMeSport looks at five boxers who are in pole position to land the biggest payday in boxing.
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It has been over a month since Pacquiao fought Mayweather in what was dubbed as the ‘fight of the century’, and for most the contest didn’t live up expectations as the American cruised to a unanimous points victory with relative ease.
However the likelihood of a potential rematch grew at the post fight press conference, when Pacquiao revealed he had suffered a shoulder injury in the build-up to the fight, and consequently claimed his performance was hampered.
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After hearing Pacquiao’s excuse, Mayweather has questioned the legitimacy of the injury and brandished the Filipino as a ‘coward’ and a ‘sore loser’. Harsh words aside, facing Pacquiao in a rematch remains the most lucrative option for Mayweather, and next time round he could get an even greater share of the spoils.
Pacquiao’s injury rules him out of action until the New Year and Mayweather will have to wait if he wants to pursue a rematch.
Gennady Golovkin is rapidly becoming one the most feared fighters on the planet, as his ferociousness has meant that only three of his 33 opponents have lasted the distance.
‘GGG’ started out of small beginnings and after an impressive career to date he now finds himself on the verge of superstardom, mostly thanks to his crowd-pleasing style and immense talent.
Golovkin has described the prospect of facing Mayweather as his ‘dream fight’ and admitted that he would be willing to drop down to 154 pounds to make the fight happen, which is two weight categories below his current fighting weight.
Mayweather has fought at 154 pounds on three occasions during his career, against: Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez, but the consensus is Golovkin would be an entirely different prospect, as he would be up against a destructive middleweight who holds a substantial size advantage.
For Mayweather, the risk could outweigh the reward in facing the Kazakh puncher.
Amir Khan’s goal over the past 12 months has been clear: to navigate himself into a position where fans around the world demand a matchup against the pound for pound king.
Many believe that if Khan stuck to a stringent gameplan, and utilised his natural attributes, such as his blistering handspeed and agility, he could give Mayweather a totally different challenge to what he has seen against previous opponents.
However, Khan’s desperation to land the fight has worked against him, as too often he has been waiting by the phone for Mayweather’s call, instead of lacing up his gloves to face other top caliber fighters in the division.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has declared his desire to host another all British super-fight at Wembley Stadium, as he hopes to match IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook against Khan. Unfortunately for British fight fans, the Khan camp seem more interested in chasing the Mayweather fight as opposed to finding out who is the best welterweight on British soil.
Khan, a devout Muslim has insisted that observing Ramadan would not prevent him from fighting the American, as with the religious festival ending on July 17, it would give him sufficient time to embark on a training camp in preparation for the undisputed welterweight king.
Although, Khan’s latest performance against Chris Algieri won’t have done him any favours, as while he won a unanimous points decision, the Bolton boxer looked sluggish and too easy to hit in a fight he was supposed to win comfortably.
Kell Brook is the only other world champion in the welterweight division aside from Mayweather, and that is his main bragging right to being pitted against the undefeated American in the near future.
With Brook’s unbeaten streak stretching to 35 fights, the Sheffield boxer’s career is fast gaining momentum and he is quickly developing into a pay-per-view star in the United Kingdom with the help of promoters, Matchroom Sport.
The 29-year-old proved his worth by dispatching of fellow Brit, Frankie Gavin, with absolute ease in his last performance. Brook retained his IBF strap by stalking Gavin with his superior size, before displaying the impressive power he holds in both fists – which ultimately left Gavin in no position to continue by the sixth round.
Negotiations are underway for Brook to face Brandon Rios in August for the third defence of his IBF belt. If he can come past that, promoter Eddie Hearn has expressed his desire to match the Sheffield star against the marquee names of the division: including Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez and, of course, Floyd Mayweather.
While his profile may not be big enough right now, if Brook can continue his unbeaten streak, he may be in with a chance of landing the biggest fight in boxing.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez
If there’s one thing to know about Mayweather, it is that money is everything. And with the American’s next proposed fight date of Sept 12 coinciding with Mexico’s independence celebrations, the welterweight king could maximise profits by facing one of the country’s biggest stars.
It is only a year and a half ago since Mayweather outclassed Canelo Alvarez in the second highest grossing fight of all time, but since then, Alvarez has grabbed impressive wins against Erislandy Lara and James Kirkland.
Such wins have put the rising star in the firing line for a super-fight with Mayweather, and at the mere age of 24, Alvarez carries the brunt of Mexican boxing on his shoulders. If Mayweather decides to capitalise on the Mexican holiday, a rematch against Alvarez will financially be the most lucrative.