WASHINGTON -- When Floyd Mayweather is around, naturally the subject of his possible ring return comes up. And it did again on Saturday night at the DC Armory, where Mayweather Promotions promoted the super middleweight title doubleheader featuring titleholder Badou Jack’s draw with former titlist Lucian Bute and James DeGale’s successful defense in a tough decision win against Rogelio “Porky” Medina.
Between fights, Mayweather joined Showtime’s Jim Gray for an interview in which his possible return from retirement -- which he announced following his easy decision win against Andre Berto to retain his welterweight title in September -- was the main topic of conversation.
Two days shy of one year since he beat Manny Pacquiao in their mega fight – for which Mayweather made more than $200 million – Mayweather opened the door to a return for the first time since stepping away.
"Everyone is asking me, 'Is Floyd Mayweather coming back?' Right now, I'm happy being on this side (promoting), but I've been talking with CBS and Showtime, and you just never know. But right now, I'm just happy on this side."
OK, so he’s talking to CBS and Showtime? Tell us more!
"As of right now, some crazy numbers have been thrown my way -- upwards, of course, nine figures,” Mayweather said. “But I'm truly blessed beyond belief, and I really don't know what we're going to do. But right now, I'm really happy being on this side helping fighters."
At that point, Gray asked Mayweather about possible fights with middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin, welterweight titlist Danny Garcia and the winner of the June 25 fight between welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman and former titleholder Shawn Porter.
Since the day Mayweather, 39, said he was retiring, most have believed – me included – that he would eventually return for another enormous payday and the opportunity to raise his record to an eye-catching 50-0.
So since he brought up the possible return with his comment about talks with Showtime and CBS, its parent company, here are the candidates for his comeback fight in order of my preference:
1. Gennady Golovkin: A man can dream right? Mayweather is a great fighter going to the Hall of Fame, obviously. But the true legends dare to be great and this would be that kind of fight, the kind that would do monster pay-per-view numbers. For those who say Mayweather is too small, nonsense. Remember when Sugar Ray Leonard came out of a three-year retirement and moved from welterweight up to middleweight and beat Marvin Hagler for the title? That’s what the greats do.
Besides, Golovkin has said repeatedly he would come down in weight. They could do it at 155 and give Mayweather the chance to win a middleweight title to give him titles in six weight classes. Only two fighters have ever done that – Pacquiao (eight) and Oscar De La Hoya (six).
Don’t count on it though. Mayweather would probably rather have his fingernails ripped out than get into the ring with a destroyer like Golovkin, who can punch and box. Mayweather made that much clear, telling Gray, “I think that it's best that (Golovkin) go up and fight (light heavyweight) Andre Ward. I think that would be a good fight for Triple G and Andre Ward.”
In other words, “Are you crazy?”
He wants GGG to go up two weight classes but he won’t consider facing GGG coming down to junior middleweight, where Mayweather has been champion.
2. Manny Pacquiao II: Yes, the first fight was gargantuan disappointment. It was a crappy fight and an over-hyped money grab that has hurt boxing because of how bad the public reaction was. But come on -- we’re all suckers. If they did it again, how could it be worse than the fight last May? You know you’d be watching. Don’t lie. Just admit it.
3. Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter winner: The winner will probably be considered No. 1 in the division and will have a title. If Thurman wins, he will also remain undefeated and he also has the personality to help sell the fight. I love that matchup.
Porter, not quite as much. As Mayweather might say, Porter still has Kell Brook problems -- since Brook beat him to take his title in 2014.
Asked by Gray about fighting the winner, Mayweather didn’t sound so interested.
“No, I like being on this side,” he said. “Thurman and Porter both are exciting fighters. That’s a good matchup. But I’m happy being on this side."
4. Danny Garcia: I think if Mayweather does come back, this is the probable fight. Garcia is undefeated, has Mayweather’s old title and it’s a fight Mayweather probably wins handily. Mayweather seemed open to it.
“Danny Garcia, another name. An undefeated champion in two different weight classes. Very exciting fighter. You just never know,” he told Gray.
5. Errol Spence Jr.: He is the future of the division. The 2015 ESPN.com prospect of the year and 2012 U.S. Olympian is undefeated and loaded with potential. As the story goes, he has sparred with Mayweather and given him fits and a black eye. Mayweather has been effusive in his praise for Spence, who is coming off an utter thrashing of contender Chris Algieri on April 16. This would be the epitome of the youth and potential vs. age and greatness.
6. Kell Brook: This one would seem unlikely, but it would be huge to the British public as Brook is an undefeated world titleholder with a large fan base at home. He came to the U.S. and took a belt off of Porter, and a fight with Mayweather would probably be very interesting. But it seems an unlikely fight because of how unknown Brook is to the American boxing public.
Mayweather was coy in his interview with Gray but he smiled throughout and it seemed pretty obvious that he wheels are spinning in his head about a comeback. Boxing is what Mayweather does, and there are only so many world tour vacations a person can take. So I expect him back in the ring before too long.
But when asked if he would return for the giant payday that would await him or for the legacy of possibly going 50-0, Mayweather called it even.
“For both,” a laughing Mayweather said repeatedly. “If I came back, of course, it would have to be a nine-figure payday and probably a championship fight.”