LAS VEGAS – The idea that one athlete can carry an entire sport has never been an acceptable concept. But Floyd “Money” Mayweather has made a strong case that he is the face of boxing. 

Mayweather is easily America’s biggest name in the sport. He’s generated $300-plus million in revenue over his last three fights and 4.4 million pay-per-view buys.

So when Mayweather was asked by reporters what’s next for him after Saturday’s welterweight showdown against Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand, it seemed as if the entire boxing world stopped to listen.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” Mayweather said. “I just might want to go home and be with my kids.”

Mayweather announced his retirement after a 10th-round of Ricky Hatton in December 2007. His “retirement” turned out to be nothing more than a long vacation as Mayweather came back and dominated Juan Manuel Marquez last September.

Speculation about Mayweather’s future has been circulating for months. And the one name that continues to surface is Manny Pacquiao. Talks between the fighters broke down late last year after Pacquiao refused to submit to random blood testing.

If Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) dominates Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs), talks with Pacquiao and his Top Rank team would likely take place in the coming weeks.

Mayweather’s share of Saturday’s purse is $22.5 million. A bout with Pacquiao would set the purse somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million, according to several industry sources.  

As resistant as Pacquiao was to Mayweather’s demand for random blood testing, it’s hard to believe he would turn down a second chance to make $40-plus million.

Another option for Mayweather could be Miguel Cotto.

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Cotto is set to take on Yuri Foreman at Yankee Stadium on June 5. If Cotto takes care of Foreman, he would certainly be back in the picture with Mayweather.

Brooklyn product Paulie Malignaggi could also be on the short list. Malignaggi, who’s set to take on Amir Kahn in a 140-pound bout at Madison Square Garden on May 15, had preliminary talks with Mayweather’s camp after the negotiations with Pacquiao went south, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

As for Mosley, this fight could be his last chance at a major purse. Mosley share of the purse is $7 million. A win against Mayweather would be the highlight of Mosley’s career as well as trigger a rematch clause.  

“I do rematches. That’s been my MO,” Mosley said. “He didn’t have that in the contract. All he had to tell me was that he wanted to fight again.”

While a close loss wouldn’t hurt, the 38-year-old would likely take some time to ponder his future.  

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