COMMENTARY | If there was ever a better time to knock boxing's pound for pound king off of his throne, it would have to be May 4, 2013, when the man who calls himself "Money" steps in the ring against Robert Guerrero.
The casual boxing fan may look at those words with raised eyebrows, but if you look at the circumstances surrounding Mayweather's upcoming fight, a few alarms should go off signaling that there is an air of truth to the notion.
And while boxing pundits are well aware of Guerrero's boxing prowess, it's safe to say that the possibility of an upset is more a reflection of Mayweather's issues outside of the ring than Guerrero's talent inside it.
The obvious issue that crops up is Mayweather's age. In order to fully comprehend where this is going, let's take a look at some boxers who saw their superior ability slam into the dreaded age wall.
Roy Jones, Jr. woke up a hair slower and paid dearly for it when a left hook from Antonio Tarver crashed into him on May 15, 2004. For a fighter that relied so heavily on speed and athletic ability, that slight nanosecond taken off of his reflexes prevented him from avoiding the sweeping hook that scrambled his brains and boxing career.
Jones was 35.
On February 9, 1991, Sugar Ray Leonard was a 3-1 favorite against Terry Norris when the two squared off for the WBC light middleweight title. Unfortunately, Father Time wasn't on Leonard's side as his hand speed and movement had diminished just enough for Norris to dominate the fight en route to a lopsided unanimous decision.
Leonard was 34.[Also: Watch: Floyd Mayweather reveals Oregon Ducks are his bet]
Even the great Muhammad Ali fell victim to the merciless Father Time. When Ali faced Earnie Shavers on September 29, 1977, the champion lacked the hand speed and head movement that formerly gave opponents fits inside of the ring. As a result, Ali took one too many shots to the head. Despite walking away with the unanimous decision, Ali's longtime doctor Freddie Pacheco urged his fighter to retire. When Ali declined, Pacheco quit. The man many consider as the G.O.A.T. dropped a decision to Leon Spinks five months later.
Ali was 36.
Floyd Mayweather is 36.
This isn't to say that Father Time punches the clock of every fighter that crosses their mid-30s. One look at Bernard Hopkins and his accomplishments as he nears the half-century mark will tell you that. And Mayweather arguably takes care of his body better than any other athlete in the sport. But any keen eye noticed that Mayweather's legs aren't what they once were. Despite claims that he stood in the pocket against Miguel Cotto to give fans an exciting fight, the fact of the matter is that Cotto touched Mayweather's chin more than any other opponent in recent memory. It's not far fetched to say that Mayweather could be a full clip slower come May 4.
And then there's this issue of his tumultuous past year.
Last June, Mayweather spent two months of an 87-day sentence for domestic abuse in a Clark County Detention Center. While incarcerated, Mayweather's attorneys regularly spoke out about the jail conditions for their client. They even went so far as to suggest that Mayweather's career was in jeopardy due to "deconditioning" and his inability to train while cramped in a cell for 23 hours a day. Not to mention that the nutrition there wasn't what he was used to.
While it was likely just a ploy to get Mayweather's sentenced reduced, for a fighter who trains as hard as the pound for pound king, staying in shape is key to keeping his undefeated record intact. Who really knows how much damage those months did to his body (although photos of an ultra-fit Mayweather surfaced that suggested that he was fine). Guerrero will be the first to test Mayweather's conditioning.
Finally, and perhaps most important, is the fact that Mayweather's uncle and longtime trainer Roger is dealing with health issues that may keep him from preparing his nephew for May 4. Floyd recently announced that he has mended fences with his father and said that Floyd Sr. will help train his son for May 4. But "help" may turn into being his son's primary trainer as Roger continues to deal with declining health. It is not known when or if Roger will return to his nephew's corner. Considering the success that the duo has had in the past, if Floyd is unable to have his uncle by his side, it is not known how he will cope by the time he faces Guerrero.
Guerrero is no dummy. When he said on a conference call recently that Mayweather is "definitely ripe for the picking," Guerrero wasn't plucking reasons out of thin air like most of Mayweather's opponents do.
With May-Per-View approaching, this just might be the most intriguing bout of Mayweather's career. Guerrero is just smart enough, just aggressive enough and just skilled enough to give Mayweather all he can handle. Compound that with all of the aforementioned items and you have a recipe for disaster just as boxing's PPV kingpin begins his new venture with Showtime.
Andreas Hale lives in the boxing capital of the world and has covered the sport for mainstream media outlets such as MTV.com and Jay-Z's LifeandTimes.com, as well as die-hard websites including FightNews.com.
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