COMMENTARY | Like it or not, Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) is on top of the boxing world.
Boxing's cash cow is no. 1 on every pound-for-pound list that matters and is the undisputed driving force in the sport today, both economically and competitively. Closest competitor and imaginary arch-rival, Manny Pacquiao, was left face-first on the canvas in his last bout and, since then, has decided to take his game to the Asian market. So, Mayweather is now the show.
The man with the flawed character and flawless ring record is your king. And whether you reject that statement or accept it with open arms, the truth of the matter is that, from a pure financial standpoint, Mayweather will generate more revenue in just this one upcoming fight than the rest of the pound-for-pound Top Five, combined, over the course of a year.
In terms of ring performance, even Mayweather's fiercest critics have to acknowledge his mastery of the craft. Mayweather's ring IQ and dedication to old school technique are a purist's dream and the reason the man has gone mostly untouchable over the course of seventeen years as a pro.
However, no man is eternal and, at 36 years of age, time is definitely not on Mayweather's side. The slowing down of the reflexes has begun, the stiffening of the legs has been apparent. This is not the 23-year-old Mayweather who showed almost superhuman talent in completely dismantling the favored and feared Diego Corrales.
This welterweight/junior middleweight version of Mayweather has faced a lot of elite-level veteran fighters. However, in the 30-year-old Robert Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), Mayweather may be facing the first prime fighter on the rise since he took on Jose Luis Castillo way back in 2002.
Here are three key factors to this Saturday's Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero clash:
Doing the Dirty Work
Contrary to what the pre-fight publicity may lead one to believe, Robert Guerrero is no God-fearing, angelic, altar boy inside the ring. As a matter of fact, he can be a downright dirty player.
Former Mayweather opponent, DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley had this to say about Guerrero and what viewers should expect from him:
"He's just a dirty, rugged fighter. That's all he's going to bring to the table, man, dirty tactics. He's going to be throwing elbows, forearms, rabbit punches. It's going to be a dirty fight."
One can easily imagine Mayweather-Guerrero as an ugly mess of a match-up and the early rounds are almost guaranteed to produce plenty of grappling, pushing, pulling, and awkward body and head banging in the center of the ring as well as against the ropes.
Referee Robert Byrd will play a huge role in this bout. If Byrd is strict with the rulebook, Mayweather will eventually find the distance he needs in order to operate well. But if Byrd is willing to let things go, expect a lot of nastiness, a good amount of blood, and, perhaps, Guerrero's best chance at scoring the upset.
Robert Guerrero is almost like a bio-engineered fighter designed to exploit Mayweather's two only known weaknesses. "The Ghost" is a southpaw like Zab Judah and DeMarcus Corley, who both gave Mayweather some tense moments in their bouts. He's also a long and lean action fighter who throws straight, sharp punches like Jose Luis Castillo, the fighter who came closest to actually registering a victory over Mayweather.
Guerrero has the raw tools needed to beat Mayweather, but he has to exploit them.
Straight, left-handed shots and sharp, looping left hooks could effectively render Mayweather's shoulder roll defense useless and force him into a more conventional stance. From there, Guerrero's dogged aggression and high-volume output (mixed with some rules-bending old school tricks) could spell the end of Mayweather's undefeated streak.
Mayweather Being Mayweather
The road to beating Mayweather is a tough one and will require that Guerrero execute consistently and flawlessly.
The road to victory for Mayweather, though, is much less complicated-Be Floyd Mayweather.
Once Mayweather finds his distance and gets into his groove, he will be unbeatable. What he will need to do against a supremely motivated Guerrero is withstand the early bravado, avoid prolonged bouts of grappling, and focus on the foot speed and technical expertise that separate him from his opponent.
A Mayweather proactive in giving uncomfortable angles and executing at an unpredictable pace will neutralize anything in Guerrero's arsenal and make for a relatively one-sided fight.
Soon, the talk will be over and the fight will begin. Then, when the smoke clears, we will all see if the king is still on his throne or if the rebels have successfully taken the castle.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
- Sports & Recreation
- Floyd Mayweather
- Robert Guerrero