By Frank Warren
Tonight Floyd Mayweather Jnr blesses us with our annual glimpse of his ring genius when he defends his WBC welterweight crown against Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. BoxNation televise live and exclusive in the UK.
Though the 'Money' man is now 36 and starting for the first time since a two month stint in the slammer last summer following a domestic violence conviction, he remains the sport's premier 'pound-for-pound' fighter and the highest earning athlete on the planet.
Loved and loathed in equal measure for his flamboyance and serial smack talking, the 'Pretty Boy' draws one million pay-per-view buys every time he performs. After penning a huge six fight deal with Showtime TV in the US, he is on course to become the first billion dollar athlete. And they tell me the fight game is dying?!
Without wishing to sound like an old fuddy-duddy, it's my contention that today's crop of elite fighters aren't a patch on the Leonard-Hearns-Hagler-Duran quartet that dominated 25 years ago.
However, Mayweather might be the exception; an extra-terrestrial talent with the tools and tactical nous to conquer all challenges. He hasn't come close to defeat during a 43 fight innings that spans 17 years and has seen him hoover up six world titles, in five weight categories. He'd have been competitive in any era.
His Californian opponent is himself a four-division world champion who's only defeat in a 12 year, 35 fight career was emphatically avenged by knockout. The southpaw might have surpassed those achievements had he not taken time out to nurse his wife Casey through her successful battle with leukaemia.
Nevertheless, it is a measure of Mayweather's dominance that he enters as a 10-1 on betting favourite. Father Time will catch up with him eventually but I seriously doubt it'll be tonight. Expect him to deliver another clinic whilst retaining on points on BoxNation.
This week Team Mayweather expressed an intention to make a UK ring debut within the next 18 months and the logical foil would be Bolton's Amir Khan. However, the former light-welter world champion was far from convincing in his homecoming win over Mexico's Julio Diaz in Sheffield last weekend.
Home turf was probably crucial in Khan getting his arm lifted after 12 rounds of 'life and death' with an opponent whose peak occurred six years ago. Once again, Khan found himself flat on his back and treacherously close to another stoppage loss before bravely rallying.
There was nothing remiss with Khan's heart or chin – he withstood some meaty wallops – it's his ability to avoid punches that requires attention. And despite recruiting renowned defensive specialist Virgil Hunter as coach, I saw negligible improvement.
I seriously doubt that Hunter has suddenly evolved into the world's elite coach at the age of 59. His insistence on giving instruction from the floor outside the ropes between rounds, forcing Khan to twist awkwardly when he should have been relaxing, was particularly mystifying.
But even if Hunter is a great teacher, he requires his student to listen. Khan continues to refuse to fight to his strengths – a great jab plus blisteringly quick hands and feet – instead succumbing to an urge to brawl each time he is clipped.
Amir shall now take an extended break until December, to get married and observe Ramadan. However, he should think seriously about rushing into a return with WBA and WBC king Danny Garcia - the Philadelphian who crushed him in four rounds last July – is tantamount to committing fistic suicide.
Right now, I'd confidently chance Frankie Gavin, my former world amateur champion, against Khan.
St Helens middleweight Martin Murray made the nation proud last weekend with a gallant but vain tilt at the WBC title.
Operating in frighteningly hostile territory in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Murray twice decked home hero Sergio Martinez only to cop the rough end of a perilously tight decision.
As in a prior world title crack at then WBA boss Felix Sturm in Germany in 2011, Murray faded down the stretch and was nudged out. However, if the likeable 30 year old can put a fraction more petrol to his engine and, crucially, secure a home court, he could yet fulfil his world title aspirations.
Following almost a year of R and R, ex WBA heavyweight champ David Haye confirmed his intentions to continue his career last Wednesday.
At The Manchester Arena on 29th June, 'The Hayemaker' squares up to Manuel Charr, a Lebanese who is now based in Cologne, German. 28 year old Charr was dropped and stopped in four by current WBC Czar Vitali Klitschko in Moscow eight months back.
Aside from Danny Williams, there aren't too many recognisable names among Charr's 23 victims so Haye shouldn't have too much difficulty rolling him over to set up a more substantial test later in the year.
Earlier this week, 2000 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medallist Audley Harrison announced his retirement from the sport at the age of 42. The declaration was at least two years overdue. I can only hope that the big fella is true to his word, but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw him again!
Despite briefly holding the European title, Harrison was a monumental underachiever in the harsh world of professional prize fighting. He had a grossly inflated perception of both his ability and his commercial worth. His overt caution, coupled with his negative capacity whenever pitched against remotely challenging opposition.
Deontay Wilder, the unbeaten American who obliterated Harrison in just 70 seconds on the Khan-Diaz undercard, is being hailed across The Pond as the saviour of the division.
Known as 'The Bronze Bomber', the 27 year old 2008 Olympic medallist has blitzed all 28 pro victims within four rounds but he is yet to be seriously tested.
There isn't a real name of substance on his CV he looks crude and open. I'd heavily back a fit and fired up Dereck Chisora to tame him and have already made the Yanks a substantial offer to return here this summer.
A real life 'Rocky' story could be about to unveil in the UK this month.
At the turn of the year, 29 year old Walsall lightweight Martin Gethin was meandering at English title level. However, a ruthless stoppage of Hove's Ben Murphy to capture the British title in January has catapulted 'The Quiet Man' into a final eliminator for Mexican Miguel Vasquez's IBF belt.
The fairytale unfolds against Panama's Ammeth Diaz at Walsall Town Hall on May 31st and it's a fight that fitness freak Gethin can win.
Tags: Frank Warren