After what many considered an unsatisfying end to the recent Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz fight, potential megafight scenarios are emerging that could make the next 15 months one of the best periods for boxing in recent memory.
The fight that everyone wants is a battle between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. It is an extraordinary payday that would make this fight likely to happen, as both prize fighters could earn at least $50 million each, but it is a question of when it can take place. Pacquiao has set a Dec. 31, 2012, deadline for Mayweather to sign on for a title fight, and negotiations have not progressed.
Meanwhile, another legitimate pound-for-pound boxer has emerged as a potential megafight contender.
Sergio Martinez, who is considered just a notch below Mayweather and Pacquiao in talent and prestige, has suggested he might fight either boxer after his Saturday bout with undefeated and up-and-coming British boxer Darren Barker.
The two great battles I hope to get are against Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. It could be at 151 or 150 pounds. It would just be a matter of discussing it, Martinez told NotiFight.com. Mayweather is still my biggest challenge. He is currently the best pound-for-pound fighter, and I am the second. And he would accept a challenge from me. He would do it. Obviously, so would I. It would be a great fight for both, and for everyone in boxing.
Martinez appears to have slighted Pacquiao with the comments, but perhaps that's a ploy. The 37-year-old Argentine might believe he has a good chance of fighting Pacquiao, who seems very determined to take on all challengers, and maybe wants to stir controversy by suggesting that he and Mayweather are better boxers than the Filipino star.
Martinez must first take care of Barker, and Pacquiao still has a tough challenger in Juan Manuel Marquez in November. But when the dust clears after both bouts, there should be an opportunity for both Mayweather and Pacquiao to use Martinez as leverage against the other.
For example, if Mayweather's camp stalls in signing on for a Pacquiao megafight, Pacquiao's camp could threaten by putting together a deal for Martinez, and vice versa.
The end result would still be a great fight. Neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao would have an easy time with a hard puncher like Martinez.
Though many considered southpaw Ortiz a tuneup for Mayweather's potential bout with Pacquiao, Martinez is also a southpaw. The Mayweather camp might consider first fighting Martinez, and then moving on with a Pacquiao fight as the following bout in the early part of 2013.
Martinez may not have the cachet in name recognition that Mayweather and Pacquiao have, but he deserves a fight people will remember. He has been an excellent boxer during his 14-year career, and a knockout puncher like Martinez would make either fight a very entertaining one.
In short, everyone should be a winner if Martinez's desire to fight either Mayweather or Pacquiao is fulfilled.