24 hours before Mayweather vs. Guerrero

Boxers may reveal more of their lives than any other athletes, what with the now obligatory fly-on-the-wall documentaries that accompany any major fight tracking their every move in the weeks and days leading up to the bout. Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s much-anticipated contest with Robert Guerrero this weekend is no different.

Yet the realities of television scheduling and editing mean there is one time period the cameras can't touch. And it may be the most important one of all.

Once the official weigh-in ends on Friday afternoon, Mayweather and Guerrero will be on their own for the first time in weeks, without the omnipresent cameras lurking in the background.

So what goes on after the protagonists tip the scales and the hours tick down to their battle in the ring?

Each fighter has his own quirks, his own rituals. In the case of Floyd Mayweather Jr., for much of his career, the pattern has been consistent.

According to Josie Harris, his former partner of 12 years and mother of three of his four children, the second the weigh-in ends Mayweather will race home to devour a huge meal of up to six steaks, plus pasta, potatoes, chicken and vegetables.

Although the 36-year-old rarely strays far above 150 pounds, even when not in training, he does have to boil down a little ahead of the weigh-in in order to meet the 147-pound limit. Once the measurements have been taken, he can finally eat what he likes and will attack the lavish meal with gusto.

And thus, the countdown to the opening bell begins.

[Related: Robert Guerrero confident as ever before showdown against Floyd Mayweather]

On the night before Mayweather's fight against Ricky Hatton in December 2007, I sat with Roger Mayweather, Floyd's uncle and longtime trainer, outside a bar on the MGM Grand casino floor. When asked what Floyd would be doing at that very moment, Roger Mayweather replied that he would be "visualizing."

That fits with the ritual portrayed by Harris, who has not been officially with Floyd Mayweather since late 2009 but rarely missed a fight during the entire span of their relationship.

Every time, she says, the routine was the same. She remembers how only two things could prompt Mayweather to interrupt his pre-fight habit of watching endless police and prison documentaries in his bedroom.

At some point in the evening he would get up and walk to the bathroom. There he would stand, put on his fight-night boxing trunks for the first time and start to shadow box in front of the mirror, whispering under his breath and looking for tiny technical kinks.

Later, a trusted adviser such as Al Haymon or Leonard Ellerbe would visit briefly, and Mayweather would set out exactly where he wanted which members of his entourage to sit at ringside. This included his harem of women. Harris insists that part of the ticketing strategy would be to ensure that none of his mistresses sat too close to his main partner.

Then it would be back to bed and an earlier night than normal for the habitually nocturnal Mayweather; he might drift off around 3am.

Across town from Mayweather's luxury mansion, all will be quiet in the rented Las Vegas house that the Guerrero camp temporarily calls home. While Guerrero's father and trainer Ruben was a fiery maelstrom seeking to antagonize his son's opponent at Wednesday's press conference, he insisted the immediate build-up would be nothing but calm.

"Robert will be chilling," he told ESPN. "We will all be chilling. When you have put the work in and done your work there is nothing to do but relax and look forward to the fight."

If Robert Guerrero continues the daily habit he adopted during training camp, he will spend a few minutes on Skype with his wife Casey and their children, before turning in.

[Related: Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Behind the police report]

Mayweather revealed after his victory over Miguel Cotto that the day of the fight he "woke up at noon and I was ready to go." But as any sports psychologist will tell you, getting too fired up too early can be dangerous.

"Every great athlete I have encountered has the ability to calm themselves down at will," said California-based mental coach Bill Cole. "It is natural to be pumped up ahead of a huge event, but the best know how to control it and harness that energy for later."

Both fighters will go through some light physical exertion, known as shakeouts – pad work to get the blood flowing – before heading down to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in the late afternoon.

According to Harris, Mayweather will already believe he has the fight won, having broken down his opponent mentally in the weeks leading up to the bout.

The boisterous belittling and bragging Mayweather does is seen by many as a ploy to drum up interest in his fights. Harris says that the act is not to sell the fight, but to win it.

"That was from the very beginning," Harris says. "It is kind of fascinating for him to get that strategy of no matter how strong physically you are, if you can break them down mentally they don’t have a chance.

"He has figured it out. He has not shared a lot of that secret to some other boxers. He might share his secret when he retires, but it is definitely a mental thing. The taunting, the bullying, the making them feel they are inadequate, you see what he does. He is a very intimidating person. It is deliberate."

As the boxers finalize their preparations and get ready to head to the ring, expect one more surprise from Mayweather. When he fought Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, Mayweather stunned the crowd by wearing boxing trunks emblazoned with a Mexican flag design. This time he would need to pull off something spectacular to match the surprise felt when he was accompanied to ringside by Justin Bieber when he fought Cotto.

Either way, there will surely be time for one more talking point before all the anticipation will end and the biggest fight of 2013 so far will get underway.

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