COMMENTARY | It's not hard to figure out that a "good vs. evil" promotional gimmick will be used to sell the May 4 Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero welterweight clash.
Mayweather, who has spent the better part of seven years cultivating his "Money" image has, arguably, become the best prizefighting villain the sport of boxing has ever known. Surely an extension of his true self, Mayweather lays it on nice and thick for the cameras, creating a new jack, hip-hop bad guy character that all but the most loyal of followers can't help but dislike.
But there's no arguing with success. Mayweather is the highest-paid athlete in the world and a fighter whose financial gains have finally overtaken his tremendous athletic gifts.
Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, on the other hand, is the perfect "good guy" to play off Mayweather's well-promoted arrogance and cringe-worthy confidence.
Painted in wide brush strokes as the blue collar, God-fearing family man with the small town lifestyle, Guerrero appears to be the type of guy you wish could be your neighbor or a member of your kid's Boy Scout Troop. Toss in the legitimately heart-warming story of his wife Casey's triumphant battle against cancer, and Guerrero comes off as a blue chip, grade A good guy.
And he even talks the talk of some sort of pugilist super hero:
"He's just an obnoxious creep…That's all he is," Guerrero said while training for the cameras in Episode One of Showtime's Mayweather vs. Guerrero: All Access documentary. "Boxing needs to get back to where it was-Classy, a gentleman's sport. You got the youth coming up and see a clown like that. What kind of role model are you? You got millions of kids around the world looking up to you, watching you boasting about money, boasting about cars, boasting about where you live, boasting about your jet. You know, going to jail for what he did. All the young kids take that in, they think it's cool. "
Fans who have been around the block know better than to take promotion and pre-fight hype as anything other than empty words used to appeal to the buying public. At the end of the day, everything that happens up until the bell rings on May 4 will be designed to convinced fans that Mayweather-Guerrero is worth buying.
The fact of the matter is that this bout is worth buying, but not because the bad guy Mayweather needs a comeuppance at the hands of the square-jawed, straight-laced Guerrero. And it's not worth buying so that you may see the corny good guy get bested by anti-hero "Money."
The real selling point for Mayweather-Guerrero is that the 36-year-old Mayweather is at the tail end of his career and is at the stage where most fighters find themselves on the verge of a fall from grace. Recent performances have already shown that the flashy five-division world champ has lost a step or two and that his legs are simply not what they used to be.
Against Guerrero, Mayweather will be forced to fight a guy who is not only blessed with good athletic ability, but also in possession of a solid set of skills to go along with a true fighter's approach to the game. If there's anyone who can beat Mayweather right now, it's Guerrero. This may not have been so obvious a year ago, when the Ghost first made his push for a Mayweather clash, but it has become very apparent by this point.
Of course, you can't use "Mayweather is getting old" as a promotional angle. So, expect the same tired good vs. evil storyline to be played out in several different variations.
Guerrero is certainly up for the role playing:
"There's always a lesson for people to learn and this is one of those lessons Floyd's going to learn. May 4, his whole mentality is going to change."
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.
Source: Showtime's Mayweather vs. Guerrero: All Access (Part One)
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