Floyd Mayweather reiterated his desire to walk away from boxing on Saturday night as the five-weight world champion went out with a whimper against Andre Berto in Las Vegas.
The 38 year-old, who by his own admission called Berto as ‘B minus’ fighter, dominated in his usual style to complete a remarkable career spanning almost two decades and 26 successful world title bouts.
Boasting a record-equalling 49-0 into retirement, Mayweather leaves the sport as one of the top ten champions of all-time and is assured a lasting legacy following victories over every significant fighter of his generation.
But the big question now is who takes over at the top?
Step forward Kazakh puncher Gennady Golovkin – the prime candidate with a 33-0 record and a 91% KO ratio into the bargain. Golovkin stands on the verge of becoming a four-belt title holder at the middleweight limit and has created significant buzz since his 2013 breakthrough year.
Fighting in his maiden pay-per-view offering just one month after Mayweather’s last, ‘GGG’ is on the verge of being recognised as the number one star on the planet if his can overcome heavy-handed David Lemieux as expected on October 17 in New York.
Currently sitting at number five in the WBN P4P Top 50, Golovkin just needs one defining victory to seal the top spot and will go some way towards achieving it once Lemieux is taken care of at Madison Square Garden.
As ‘Money’ will hang on to his crown for exactly one year before being dropped from the rankings, Golovkin has plenty of time to unify at 160 before claiming the WBC version and finalizing a massive clash at 168 to fully take the mantle from Mayweather.
Fights with the likes of Andre Ward, James DeGale, Badou Jack or Gilberto Ramirez in 2016 would go a long way to pushing Golovkin to the summit, providing he carries his power up to the higher limit and is able to keep up his domination.
Golovkin’s likeable personality will be a welcome change from fans tuning in to see if anyone can solve the Mayweather conundrum, whilst the WBA and IBO title holder already has his ‘Big Drama Show’ catchphrase nailed down.
Other current contenders vying to beat Golokvin to Mayweather’s spot are Roman Gonzalez, Sergey Kovalev, Terence Crawford, Kell Brook and Danny Garcia, whilst Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan have that certain X Factor that puts them firmly in the frame.
Miguel Cotto could also put himself in with a shout if he can build on his pummelling of Sergio Martinez against Canelo in November, whilst Guillermo Rigondeaux is certainly capable of being known as the best fighter on the planet due to skills alone.
The next twelve months of contests will be interesting viewing as the sport deals with the loss of one of the best ever and should eventually decipher whether Mayweather will be truly missed now that the ‘Money’ man is seemingly gone for good.