By Jake Donovan
Contrary to popular opinion, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is actively concerned about the future of boxing. The reigning pound-for-pound and box office king is tops among a small handful of fighters who are identifiable beyond boxing’s hardcore fan base, and perhaps the only active fighter whose popularity rivals the biggest starts of any other mainstream sport.
The undefeated welterweight king returns to the ring on May 3, headlining a Showtime Pay-Per-View event against dangerous Argentine puncher Marcos Maidana. The bout takes place at the MGM Grand, which is already sold out after having generated more than $15 million in ticket sales.
Mayweather is a heavy favorite to come out victorious in his third fight of a six-bout record-breaking pact he inked with Showtime early last year. The line continues to grow for his next opponent – or next three opponents, for that matter – after which two questions linger: will Mayweather continue beyond the 6th and final fight of his current network deal; and if not, who will step up to fill his shoes?
More so than any given opponent in the ring, this is the stuff that actually weighs heavy on the mind of the fighter/promoter.
“After May 3, I only have three fights left (under contract). We have to start thinking about the next pay-per-view fighter,” Mayweather insists. “I don't know if there will be another Floyd Mayweather. But we need to look for the next star in the sport.
“Canelo (Alvarez) can be that guy,” Mayweather continues, throwing support behind his most recent foe, whom he outpointed over 12 rounds last September in the most lucrative fight in boxing history.
Alvarez returned to the ring this past March, scoring a 10th round stoppage over Alfredo Angulo. Box office results weren’t overwhelming, but were considered a huge success given the budget assigned to the event. The card generated roughly 350,000 pay-per-view buys, exceeding expectations and even impressing the winner’s previous conqueror.
“Canelo looked unbelievable against Angulo,” Mayweather insisted of Alvarez’ performance earlier this year. “What else can I say? He's back. That's all I can say.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox Tags: Floyd Mayweather Jr. , Saul Alvarez