As of this writing, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is officially retired and Manny Pacquiao is a full-fledged politician-slash-pro-baller who is supposedly nursing a shoulder injury. The truth is we may never see Floyd fight again and Manny is starting to completely lose interest in his original profession.
Image via Bbc.co.uk
Sure, the massive checks on the table might lure the two first-ballot Hall of Famers back in the ring and have them overextend their careers. For all we know, negotiations for Mayweather-Pacquiao II might be happening right now; you never can tell what goes through the minds of these sly promoters, after all.
Nevertheless, sooner than later, Father Time—plus in Pacquiao’s case, politics—will force the aging ring legends to not even entertain the thought of going to the gym. When that happens, our boxing fandom will be left with cracks that would need immediate fixing.
As a preventive measure for this ominous possibility, we made a list of today’s fighters who carry the same special attributes that made Floyd and Manny the two most compelling boxers of their generation. If nothing goes terribly wrong, the names below should take over the sport once their larger-than-life predecessors ride off into the sunset, and hang up their gloves for good.
THE HEIRS TO PACQUIAO'S EXPLOSIVE OFFENSE
Roman Gonzalez (44W – 0L – 38KOs)
Title: WBC Flyweight Champion, boxing's current pound-for-pound champion
Similarity with Manny: Lethal two-fisted attack and excite factor
Image via Ringtv.com
Pacquiao became one of the most entertaining boxers ever mainly because of his transformation from being a gutsy left-handed bomber to a speedy two-fisted destroyer. Like Manny, Nicaragua’s Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez can be vicious when launching relentless two-handed assaults. One glaring example of the Nicaraguan pound-for-pound king’s terrific volume punching is his beatdown of our kababayan, Brian Viloria (36-5, 22 knockouts).
In the two diminutive warriors’ encounter last October 18, Chocolatito’s heavy-handedness and excellent marksmanship from every angle imaginable overwhelmed and stopped Brian for the first time in the Hawaiian Punch’s long career. The 28-year old Gonzalez electrified New York’s Madison Square Garden as he TKO’d Viloria in the ninth round, resulting in a sight similar to an action-packed Pacquiao victory. Expect to see more of Chocolatito’s left-right grenades to leave boxing purists in awe in the next four or five years.
Gennady Golovkin (34W – 0L – 31KOs)
Titles: WBC and IBF Middleweight Champion / WBA Super Middleweight Champion
Similarity with Manny: Punching Power
Image via knockoutnation.com
The prime Pacquiao could floor anyone with his sledgehammer of a punch. Do you remember what he did to poor ol’ Ricky Hatton? These days, we can count on middleweight ruler Golovkin to provide the fistic devastation that we saw from the 2009 version of the Pac-Man.
It’s undeniable that highlight reel knockouts instantly make boxing a thrill to watch. So, we’d like to thank Triple G for his brutal power and his 91-percent KO rate. It’s like this, when the Kazakh juggernaut touches you, you’ve got nowhere to go but down.
Sergey Kovalev (28W – 0L – 25KOs)
Titles: WBA, IBF, and WBO Light heavyweight Champion
Similarity with Manny: Complete offense
Image via Wboboxing.com
There are only a few fighters in the history of the sport that had a more potent offense than Pacquiao had at the peak of his powers. Back then, Manny was an animal who had explosive power, intense aggression, and an underrated but proficient boxing technique. Light heavyweight kingpin Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev possesses a somewhat similar skillset. His excellent knockout ratio tells us that he hits hard, though his brute force often times belie just how good and polished his boxing skills are.
No proof of this is more solid than how he used his tremendous footwork and timing when he manhandled Bernard Hopkins, a technical master and one of the craftiest fighters ever, during their bout last November 2014. Kovalev’s firepower has the 175-pound division almost cleaned out. All that’s left for him in his weight class is WBC champion Adonis Stevenson (27-1, 22 KOs), who hopefully will finally agree to get it on with the Krusher next year.
THE NEXT DEFENSIVE SAVANTS OF THE SWEET RING SCIENCE (AKA FLOYD'S HEIRS)
Terence Crawford (26W – 0L – 18KOs)
Title: WBO super lightweight champion
Similarity with Floyd: Slickness
Image via Ringtv.com
Money-May dances circles around his opponent, contorts his body to make them miss, and then BAM! He’ll tag them in the face with a stinging blow. The man was slick, as slippery as a hito, and could pick his opponents apart with pot shots better than anybody else. One young buck who can outclass his foes in comparable fashion is light welterweight rising star Terrence "Bud" Crawford.
When he’s on, the talented fighter from Omaha, Nebraska can be very elusive. Although he’s not as flexible as Mayweather, Bud can effectively fend off his attackers through his nimble feet and his beautiful jab. He sometimes gets too aggressive and abandons operating on slick mode, but usually does so when hunting for a crowd-pleasing KO. Fortunately for him and for his fans, most of those "lapses" have ended up with the 2014 Fighter of the Year pulling off a spectacular win.
His last victory, over Canadian boxer Dierry Jean last October, put Crawford as one of the front-runners for Pacquiao's rumored last fight in April 2016. If ever he's the lucky/unlucky one to get chosen for Manny's possible swan song, he'll need every drop of whatever Mayweather juice he's consuming if he wants to hear the final bell.
Vasyl Lomachenko (4W – 1L – 2KOs)
Title: WBO Featherweight champion
Similarity with Floyd: Athleticism
Image via Theboxingobserver.com
Floyd is a phenomenal athlete. He was always the faster, quicker, and sharper fighter atop the squared circle. Reigning WBO featherweight champion and two-time Olympic Gold medalist, Vasyl Lomachenko, has the same athletic dominance over his competition.
Yes, he dropped a close decision when he absurdly fought for a world title on his SECOND pro fight but that setback was simply a by-product of inexperience more than anything else. Now, with only five bouts under his belt, the 27-year-old prodigy is already a world titleholder, and is equipped enough to frustrate the hell out of his opponents. Check out videos of the man nicknamed "Hi-Tech" and you'll notice his immense superiority over his opponents in terms of speed, reflexes, and technique.
Andre Ward (28W – 0L – 15KOs)
Title: WBA Super Middleweight champion
Similarity with Floyd: Defensive expertise
Image via Skysports.com
Ward, we think, will replace Money-May as the world’s best defensive boxer. At 31, the 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist has yet to be seriously hurt inside the ring. He shouldn’t have any problem putting his impressive defensive prowess on full display in the next five or six years. Ward’s defense isn’t as flashy as Mayweather's ducking and dodging moves but the former’s subtle evasive tactics are just as efficient.
The "Son of God" has stayed unscathed through his defense-first approach. He constantly positions himself out of danger while finding openings in the defense of his off-balanced opponents. The only downside here is his fights have a tendency to look a lot like Floyd’s snoozers. Worse, he hasn't even fought for a year! Step up, son!
Adrien Broner (31W – 2L – 23KOs)
Title: WBA super lightweight champion
Similarity with Floyd: Antics that are annoying as hell
Image via Dailymail.co.uk
Man, where do we start with Adrien "The Problem" Broner? Maybe, here: He worships Floyd. From the shoulder roll stance to the A-hole villain shtick, the 26-year-old Cincinnati fighter thinks of himself as a Mayweather carbon copy.
He is a great talent, we’ll give him that. He’s a four-time world titlist. But what bothers us is how he has managed to surpass the senseless antics that we’ve loathed Floyd for over the years. Some of Broner’s ludicrous acts include flushing $20 bills down the toilet, giving racist comments, and making tasteless jokes during post-fight interviews. To top it all off, he humps his opponents doggy style, like what he did to Marcos "Chino" Maidana when they met last year.
Nice one, Chino!
AND LASTLY, THE HEIR TO THE PAY-PER-VIEW THRONE...
Canelo Alvarez (45W – 1L – 1D – 32KOs)
Similarity with Manny and Floyd: Charisma
Image via Usatoday.com
Floyd and Manny ruled the monetary side of the sport during their time. They became the epitome of what being a "prizefighter" was all about. Pay-per-view buys, sold-out tickets, global fight promotion; name it, Floyd and Manny cashed it!
With those two gone, boxing’s most lucrative star is now undoubtedly Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. The red-haired phenom from Guadalajara, Mexico has built a reputation as a fiery slugger who never backs down from a fight. That he also looks straight out of a Mexican telenovela helps his fame game even more. Add those two together (big fighting heart + looks) and you've got an ATM machine of a fighter.
Canelo's next fight is on November 22 (Manila time), wherein he'll take on middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto. If he wins, the Mexican's ascent toward boxing's top spot is as guaranteed as Mayweather foaming at the mouth every time the name "Pacquiao" comes up.