Floyd Mayweather was ready to return to the ring for an exhibition bout in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on May 14, but the event was postponed the day before due to the death of the country’s president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Since he officially retired in 2017, Mayweather has been fighting in exhibition bouts, but is that a sign he wants to return — one more time? How about archrival Manny Pacquiao? He just lost his bid to become president of the Philippines and could also make a return. Is that good for him and boxing?
One fighter that should return — to super middleweight after losing to Dmitry Bivol at light heavyweight — is Canelo Alvarez. But can he return to the top of the pound-for-pound list after dropping all the way to No. 4? And how does Bivol match up with the other two champions in the division, Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr., who meet to unify three belts on June 18?
Waiting in the wings is David Benavidez, who fights on Saturday against veteran David Lemieux. Is he ready for Alvarez?
Mike Coppinger, Michael Rothstein and Ben Baby answer these questions and more.
Would you like Floyd Mayweather to make a comeback?
There is no part of me that wants to see Floyd Mayweather in the ring. If I really want to see him in action, I’ll go on YouTube and find highlights of him from 2001 to 2005, when he was beating the likes of Diego Corrales, Arturo Gatti and Jose Luis Castillo.
That’s when he was truly entertaining. As Mayweather got older and moved up in weight, his ability to become polarizing and evoke strong emotions among even casual fans was the most intriguing thing about him. Toward the end of his career, he rarely knocked fighters down or even hurt them.
Since he beat Andre Berto in 2015, Mayweather has pushed the boundaries of matchmaking in order to continue to find lucrative paydays, perhaps his greatest skill as a prizefighter. He manufactured a bout against former UFC champion Conor McGregor in order to claim a 50-0 professional record. Last year, he fought internet star Logan Paul in a highly consumed pay-per-view.
But even this aspect of Mayweather’s business strategy is slowing down. His latest foil was scheduled to be Don Moore, a man whose last fight was in 2016 against someone with a 5-16-1 record according to BoxRec, before being postponed. But the fight was postponed following the death of the United Arab Emirates president, Shiekh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Even if the fight had occurred, however, we might be asking the wrong question. Has the market to see Mayweather in the ring for any type of combat dried up? — Ben Baby
Will Manny Pacquiao return to boxing after losing the presidential elections in the Philippines?
He shouldn’t. Not at all. He’s 43 years old, and who knows exactly how much he’s been training? At some point, it’s good for boxers to stop fighting, and after 72 career fights, the future Hall of Famer should enjoy retirement. I know it’s hard for boxers to do that, but Pacquiao clearly has vast interests outside boxing — evidenced by his long, concurrent political career in the Philippines, a foray into basketball and music. He still can be in touch with boxing with his MP Promotions company, but just don’t do it inside the ring.
Boxing is full of fighters who didn’t know the right time to walk away. Pacquiao first fought professionally in 1995, at age 16, more than half a lifetime ago — longer than up-and-comers Jaron “Boots” Ennis and Vergil Ortiz Jr. have been alive.
Pacquiao, even with a loss to Yordenis Ugas last year, has every reason to look back on his career with immense pride. But that’s what he needs to be doing: Looking back at what he did instead of kicking around the idea of what he still might be able to do. — Michael Rothstein
What do you want to see from David Benavidez on Saturday to make him stand out?
Not much. He’s knocked out four of his last five opponents — the fifth, Roamer Alexis Angulo, retired. He’s facing a good opponent, although Lemieux has not always had great showings against high-level fighters. He was knocked out by Gennadiy Golovkin in 2015 and lost a unanimous decision to Billy Joe Saunders in 2017.
If Benavidez is able to stop David Lemieux, that could be enough to set up a fight with undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, which would give Benavidez a massive payday and a potentially career-defining fight. Heck, as long as he beats Lemieux, that could happen. Some would argue it should happen.
So not sure if there’s anything I need to see from Benavidez beyond the type of showing he’s been capable of. — Rothstein
How does Canelo Alvarez return to the top of the P4P list?
Much of that could hinge on a potential matchup between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. later this year. Crawford is No. 1 and Spence is two spots behind him, so if there’s a convincing winner, that fighter is likely to cement himself as the pound-for-pound king.
For Alvarez to return to No. 1, he first must defeat Dmitry Bivol in a rematch, which would be challenging after the lopsided nature of their first bout. If Alvarez opts to fight GGG instead and follows up with a win over Jermall Charlo or David Benavidez, that could be enough for him to return to his perch on the top of the list. — Mike Coppinger
How does Dmitry Bivol match up with Artur Beterbiev/Joe Smith Jr.?
We already know how Bivol matches up with Smith. When they met in 2019, he used his excellent jab to keep Smith at bay and completely outclassed the American. Smith won one round on two cards and two rounds on the other. His only success: At the end of Round 10, a right hand buckled Bivol with seconds remaining.
Beterbiev is expected to defeat Smith on June 18, and that would line up the Russians for an undisputed title fight at 175 pounds. Beterbiev matches up far better with Bivol, but after the kind of performance Bivol delivered against Alvarez, Bivol would clearly be the favorite.
Beterbiev is a pressure fighter with a tremendous jab and brutal power, but Bivol’s footwork and boxing skills should be too much. Bivol is also fresher (31 compared to Beterbiev’s 37 years). — Coppinger