COMMENTARY | Even in the heat of a fight week, when the promotional machine is churning and headlines are being created, some things are off limits.
No line has ever been drawn, establishing what can and cannot be said, but it should be assumed that a fighter's wife and her battle with cancer would be a fairly untouchable subject for an opponent looking to create a reaction.
Well, consider Floyd Mayweather one of those guys without a real internal editor.
During a recent press event, the five-division world champ took on the subject of Robert Guerrero and his wife's well-publicized battle with leukemia.
"I think trying to gain fans by having a sympathy story every week, I don't think that's a good thing, but I'm glad that his wife was able to beat the leukemia, Mayweather told Boxingscene. " I don't feel nobody should go through a situation like that, but we all go through certain things. Our mothers, our fathers, our loved ones go through certain things. I just feel like, just to gain fans you are using your wife's story, you are using a sympathy story.
"I don't think that's a great thing that happened to her. I'm glad that she was able to beat the leukemia, which is a great thing. I think that's a good thing and I'm glad that they have a great bond, but I don't like that every week they keep selling the same story and selling the same story. It's time to talk about something different."
Mayweather's opponent this May 4, Robert Guerrero, had an immediate and strong reaction to the accusation that he's milking his wife's illness for sympathy.
"It makes me laugh. To gather sympathy? I don't need sympathy," Guerrero said. "I come to fight. We're fighters. Sympathy doesn't win fights. He is just worried about himself, how his image is looking. So when he says stuff like that... you know, at the end of the day what gets you through is talent - not sympathy. It's laughable, it makes you laugh. It just shows you where his head is at."
Remember, through all the words and insults that have traveled back and forth between both camps, there's still prep work going on for a major prizefight. A big part of that preparation, nearly as important as the actual gym work, is the psychological game. The fighter who manages to get in the other's head has already won half the battle and, when it comes to Mayweather, losing mental focus is a virtual death sentence.
Mayweather, the master of making opponents pay for their mistakes, would like nothing more than for an enraged Guerrero to launch himself into the bout; hurling both fists in anger and completely letting go of any game plan he may have developed. "Money" could then calmly and coolly pick Guerrero apart with sharp, accurate punches and well-timed counters.
Up until now, Guerrero has seemed fairly unflappable in the face of Mayweather's bravado and genuinely seems like a focused, mature man on a mission.
Guerrero's personal life has taught him all about character and the importance of being cool under pressure. Surrounded by those he loves and bolstered by some of the sport's most loyal fans, "The Ghost" has the inner workings of a true champ. Add to that a stellar professional resume with titles in four different weight classes, and you get someone who should be a legitimate threat to anyone, anywhere.
But fights aren't won on the weight of a resume or by the good will a man has generated. Fights are won and lost in the ring, decided by skill and talent.
Floyd Mayweather should beat Robert Guerrero this Saturday, May 4, but he's not taking any chances. So, consider the psych war to be in full effect until the opening bell rings.
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