Floyd 'Money' Mayweather ended his legacy equalling the great Rocky Marciano's 49-0 record this Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas after claiming a unanimous points decision over Andre Berto.
Now the 38-year-old has made it clear that he is finished with the sport, wanting to get out while he is still in good health and of sharp mind. The five weight world champion is undoubtedly the best fighter of his generation but is Floyd the best fighter ever? Mayweather is up there with the greatest after securing one of the most perfect boxing resumes in history, rarely getting troubled or tested throughout his career.
Leaving the sport of boxing unscarred and mentally sound is a rare delight but it's something 'Money' has made look relatively easy through his nineteen-year career as a professional.
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The welterweight king should receive plaudits for what he has achieved but now with Mayweather hanging up his gloves we look for a new contender to the throne. There are a lot of hungry fighters looking to take over and be number one.
Keith 'One Time' Thurman
The American currently stands as one of only two welterweight world champions that isn't Floyd Mayweather. The WBA regular belt holder is unbeaten in twenty-six fights with twenty-two of his victories coming by knockout. The Florida resident has concussive power but is much more than a hard hitting entertainer, Thurman is very agile and has good footwork tied together with a tight defence and impressive punch variation.
In December last year the 26-year-old champion showcased his boxing skills by dominating the former Olympian and undefeated European champion Leonard Bundu. This year, 'One Time' has defeated former world champions Robert Guerrero and Luis Collazo successfully defending his WBA title. There is the likelihood of another scheduled bout to be scheduled towards the end of the year with 'Showtime' Shawn Porter rumoured to be next.
Amir 'King' Khan
It's been well documented that the Bolton man spent two years chasing Floyd Mayweather. In that time frame, Khan turned down the chance to fight for a world title and has been fairly inactive in comparison to his other welterweight rivals.
The fight with 'Money' never materialised and now the 28-year-old is looking at Manny Pacquiao as a potential opponent with the Pacman scheduled to return next year. The former two-time world champion appears to be looking at the more highly marketable fights instead of current belt holders Keith Thurman and Kell Brook.
A huge domestic clash with the IBF champion is a contest Khan has expressed will happen in the future but feels the Sheffield fighter needs to prove himself against more elite opposition first.
In terms of taking over the reign of the 147lb division, you would have to question Khan's desire. At the end of 2013 Khan turned down a shot at the IBF world crown (then held by Devon Alexander) believing it would hinder his chances of a Mayweather fight in the near future. The 'Money' fight never landed and Khan went on to defeat Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander (December 2014) and Chris Algieri. A bout with Pacquiao looks destined for next year but after reportedly turning down an IBF eliminator fight with Timothy Bradley earlier this year it seems the 28-year-old is not that driven to become the new king.
Shawn 'Showtime' Porter
'Showtime' re-announced himself on the big stage this year after an emphatic points win over Adrien Broner in June and is now looking to close his impressive 2015 with a world title, if the Thurman fight gets made.
Shawn Porter held the IBF world title after defeating Devon Alexander two years ago and after a successful first defence powering through Paulie Malignaggi in four rounds last May the 27-year-old was dubbed as the Welterweight Mike Tyson.
In August last year, though, Kell Brook was able to defeat the American in what has been Porters only defeat. 'Showtime' definitely has the hunger to be the next star of the division and will be hoping to be a two-time world champion by the end of the year.
'The Special One' Kell Brook
The IBF champion is looking to make a statement in October as he takes on the tough Argentinian Diego Chaves in what will be his third defence. The Sheffield superstar produced a beautiful game plan to defeat Shawn Porter last year, landing cleaner punches with perfect accuracy and timing while using good upper body and foot movement to stay untroubled.
The 29-year-old then spent six months away from the ring after getting attacked by a machete on Holiday last year that led to Brook needing a blood transfusion after his thigh was sliced open.
A February return saw 'The Special One' dominate his mandatory Jo Jo Dan over four rounds before the bout was stopped. In May this year a domestic clash with Frankie Gavin lasted six rounds as the Birmingham fighter was stopped and now the champion will face off with Chaves next month.
The Argentine is a good measuring stick for Brook as Chaves has lost to Keith Thurman (KO round 10) and battled to a draw with Timothy Bradley.
The undefeated Brook is currently 35-0 and has expressed his desire to be the one to overtake Mayweather's 49-0 record. As the rest of the boxing world start to take notice of the Sheffield fighter (who was recently voted the number one Welterweight by Ring Magazine) there is hope that future bouts with Thurman and Khan can get made so that the Englishman can solidify his claim of being number one.
Timothy 'Desert Storm' Bradley
'Desert Storm' has had a rather quiet 2015 but will be looking to end it in convincing fashion as he takes on Brandon Rios in November. Tim Bradley was at one point largely talked about as the one fighter that could break the Mayweather blueprint, as in 2013 the American was 31-0 and held the WBO title and held a win over Manny Pacquiao.
Last year though Pacman got his revenge and gave the 32-year-old his first career loss via a unanimous decision. In Bradley's return he fought to a draw with Diego Chaves.
This June, a WBO title fight with formerly undefeated Jessie Vargas ended controversially, as Bradley was rocked with a punch in the last round.
Vargas applied the pressure in an attempt to get the stoppage but the sound of a cow bell in the arena made the referee stop the contest while there was still 10 seconds left in the round.
As controversial as it was, the fight itself was one which Bradley dominated. But there are worrying signs in the punch resistance of 'Desert Storm', with Vargas only carrying a 33% KO ratio but still being able to wobble the American. In previous bouts against Ruslan Provodnikov, Bradley has been floored and noticeably hurt.
Not a massive puncher himself, the WBO Champion is a boxing technician. A win against Rios can catapult him back into contention to be recognised as the best 147lber. Rumours of a future unification fight with Kell Brook would help get more questions answered, but first, both men have to win their next fights.
Manny 'Pacman' Pacquiao
Of course, it wouldn't be fair to leave Pacman out of this list. The eight-weight world champion is a boxing superstar and is expected to return early next year with Amir Khan at the front line. The Filipino will be looking for a last hurrah to his career that has seen him entertain and amaze all boxing fans with his electric hand speed, fast combinations, in and out movement and punching power.
A flat display against Floyd Mayweather and the shoulder injury he endured has left a bitter taste in the mouths of Pacman supporters, but with his rival hanging up the gloves, there's no reason the 36-year-old can't return and take the number one spot.
A mega fight with Khan may take place and if Pacquiao can claim a victory over his former stable mate, then he can attempt to go belt collecting. It all just depends on which Manny Pacquiao we will see in the ring next? A hungry Pacman or an ageing one?
Danny 'Swift' Garcia
'DSG' like Thurman and Brook is an undefeated fighter; the 27-year-old cleaned up the light welterweight division holding the WBA Super and WBC titles and getting impressive victories over Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse.
Now Garcia is looking to make it in the big league after moving up to 147lbs, dominating Paulie Malignaggi in his debut this August with a ninth round stoppage.
The American with Puerto Rican descent is looking forward to the challenges ahead. A rematch with Khan is a fight Garcia is keen to make while fights with Pacquiao, Porter and Brook also appeal to the undefeated boxer.
There are rumours of a potential fight with Robert Guerrero to close the year, which will most likely happen as both men are managed by Al Haymon. Also with Thurman having fought Guerrero earlier this year, the 27-year-old can attempt to better 'One Time's' points win over 'The Ghost'.
Errol 'The Truth' Spence Jr
The highly touted Errol 'The Truth' Spence Jr will look to increase his undefeated record next year. An impressive eight round KO win over Chris Van Heerden stretched the former Olympians record to 18-0.
Floyd Mayweather has spoken highly of Spence Jr and even attempted to play matchmaker earlier this year, suggesting Spence fight Thurman or Porter for one of the belts that Mayweather was supposedly going to vacate.
'Money' didn't vacate his titles and no fight was made with either 'One Time' or 'Showtime'. The American is looking to fight someone in the top ten next year and at only 25-years of age, it's possible 'The Truth' could be the next star.
Sadam 'World Kid' Ali
The undefeated Welterweight will be looking for a test in his next bout after successfully defeating tough opponents in Luis Carlos Abregu and Francisco Santana. The 26-year-old American is ranked number 3 with the IBF and number 1 with the WBO so a title shot will be expected soon for 'World Kid'.
Brandon 'Bam Bam' Rios
The tough Argentinian will be able to put himself in the mix if he can defeat Timothy Bradley later this year. Impressing last time out with a third round stoppage win over Mike Alvarado, the 29-year-old also holds wins over Richar Abril and Diego Chavez and is extremely durable. The only two defeats on 'Bam Bam's' resume are against Manny Pacquiao and Alvarado in 2013 but with a new lease of life Rios is ready to tackle 'Desert Storm' and shock the world.
Floyd Mayweather may have left a void but with these Welterweight contenders, the boxing world are in for a treat. You can expect drama, entertainment, KO's and fight of the year candidates as the spot for number one looks as competitive as ever.
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