COMMENTARY | Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero walks and talks like a man with the perfect plan to beat Floyd Mayweather on May 4. As a matter of fact, the multi-division world champ and current interim WBC welterweight titlist even claims divine support for the task.
"I'm telling you all now that I am going to beat him," Guerrero said during a recent press function. "I believe God does things for a reason. I believe he put me here to humble Floyd Mayweather, and it is going to happen."
While confidence is great and, really, the first step in achieving anything, a good game plan is a must for any man asked to accomplish a truly difficult task. Team Guerrero has surely put together some sort of plan and will try their best to implement it, but there are some basic things that need to be understood before having a real chance at scoring the upset.
As Mayweather loves to say, forty-three opponents have tried to beat him and forty-three have failed. Will Guerrero be number forty-four, or will he learn from the past mistakes of Mayweather opponents and remove the five-division world champ from atop his pound-for-pound perch?
Here's a brief look at four things Robert Guerrero needs to do in order to beat Floyd Mayweather:
Exploit Ring Geometry
Mayweather succeeds in the ring because he fights off-rhythm and at angles that throw off most traditional fighters. Whereas most fighters learn a 1-2 step approach to the game, Mayweather is always at 1.4, 1.9, 2.3. No matter where you find him, he's usually off to the side and working some weird, uncomfortable angle. The secret to solving that problem can be found in basic Geometry- the shortest distance between two, in this case, oddly-angled shoulders is a straight line. Those who've had the most success against Mayweather were capable of throwing consistently accurate straight punches, especially the jab and quick straight right hand.
Floyd Mayweather feeds off of wasted movement and sloppy punching. As desperation sets in, Mayweather's opponents tend to overcompensate for lost rounds and missed punches by swinging for the fence. The sloppiness that this desperation produces makes Mayweather's job a lot easier. Guerrero needs to keep it together, stay focused, and make every punch count, whether it lands on Mayweather's face, body, elbow, or glove. If Guerrero gives "Money" a chance to exploit any mental errors and/or technical lapses it will surely come back to haunt him.
Don't Dwell in the Past
Similar to what was mentioned above, Guerrero needs to remain focused on the here and now and not give in to the frustration that goes hand in hand with fighting a defensive master. Many a war-minded elite fighter has been drained of hope and utterly deflated after a few rounds with Mayweather. Guerrero has to treat each minute of each round as its own entity and put aside ugly, temporary failures so that he can focus on the big picture. If Guerrero gets boxed into a daze of frustration and hopelessness for several rounds at a time, like many a Mayweather opponent has, he stands no chance of scoring the upset.
Focus on Himself
There is no easy solution to the Mayweather riddle, but the first step in trying to solve it involves some introspection. As mentioned previously, Mayweather feeds off the mistakes of his opponents. So, instead of dwelling too long on what Mayweather does, it would be in Guerrero's best interest to take a look at what he does and fine tune his technique so that what appears in the ring on May 4 is Guerrero optimized to the nth degree. This is not to say that he shouldn't study tapes of Mayweather and prepare for his odd, off-putting style, it's just that the best way to cancel out what Mayweather does best is by focusing on what Guerrero does best.
The truth is that Guerrero is fighting the 36-year-old Mayweather, who has slowed down considerably from his prime. He's fighting a Mayweather who, many think, is primed for an upset. Stylistically, the five-division world champ remains a tough nut to crack, but it's not going to take a super human to do the job anymore. A really good fighter in the right frame of mind and with the right game plan has a legitimate chance of ending Mayweather's undefeated streak. It's easier said than done, but Guerrero can do it-if he avoids the mistakes of past Mayweather foes.
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.
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