Today’s welterweight division is almost ridiculously talented, with the 147-pound weight class being stacked with excellent fighters. Floyd Mayweather Junior is of course the king of the hill, and any fighter from 140 to 147 (and 154-pounds also) is gunning for that life changing payday. But 154 aside, Mayweather has more than enough potential challengers at welterweight.
Over the past few months, two welterweight young guns have really broken through and impressed: Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman. Both guys are talented, fast (Thurman especially) and powerful (Porter especially). Helping make an already exciting weight class that much more exciting – with top class operators Tim Bradley, Manny Pacquiao and (expected to move up from 140 any time now) Danny Garcia also fighting at 147 – Thurman and Porter have some people thinking they are capable of testing Floyd and testing him hard. But will Mayweather, who next faces the powerful yet slow-footed Marcos Maidana, an 11-1 underdog, risk a fight with one of the young guns who are hungry for the ultimate challenge?
After the 37-year-old megastar has dealt with Maidana, it is possible British star Amir Khan could be next (assuming Khan gets past the dangerous and hungry Luis Collazo this coming Saturday on the under-card in Las Vegas). Khan could still be classed as a young gun himself, being just 27-years-old, but in comparison to Thurman (25) and Porter (26), Khan, who has been around at the highest level for some time, is something of a veteran.
But, assuming it is Khan for Floyd after Maidana, who will “Money” fight in his final two fights in his six-fight contract with Showtime? We know we can rule out Manny Pacquiao, that story grew old, old, old years ago, and Mayweather shows no inclination of making a potentially historic middleweight title challenger (many fans would love to see Floyd fight a guy with the initials/nickname “GGG.”) So it has to be a young gun next, right?
Mayweather taking on the likes of Thurman, Porter or Garcia would please the fans and the execs at Showtime, but will Floyd take a potentially risky assignment against a young and hungry warrior who simply doesn’t know how to lose? Porter, compared by some to a mini Mike Tyson, has impressed with wins over Devon Alexander and Paulie Malignaggi, while “One Time” Thurman has taken out good fighters Carlos Quintana, Jesus Soto Karass and Julio Diaz. The two seem destined to meet (although Porter’s mandatory and expected July foe Kell Brook will have something to say about that) and, by the time that fight has rolled around, the winner would perhaps be ready for the ultimate challenge: that of taking away Floyd’s perfect record.
Of course, many more fans feel it doesn’t matter who Mayweather fights in his remaining bouts before retiring, as he will walk away unbeaten anyway. But if any fighter is to have a chance of beating the master, it figures it will be a man much younger and hungrier than Floyd, and one who also possesses speed comparable to Mayweather’s. It could be argued that no fighter exists, but another growing thought is one that suggests Porter and Thurman might just fit such a lofty bill in another 12 months or so.