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Floyd “Money” Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) makes his return to the ring Saturday night when he defends his WBC welterweight title against Robert “Ghost” Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a contest scheduled for 12 rounds.
The 36-year-old unbeaten pound-for-pound king laces up for the first time since his unanimous decision win over Miguel Cotto at the same venue one year ago. In the opposite corner will be the 30-year-old southpaw Guerrero, who employs a pressure style and throws over 1,000 punches a fight.
This fight is Mayweather’s debut on Showtime PPV, having spent the first 16 years of his career with HBO. Earlier this year, Mayweather signed a monster six-fight 30-month deal with the cable network that could see him earn a reported $250 million.
However, he must retain his “O” to be able to make this kind of cash. Mayweather is a slick defensive fighter who relies on his reflexes and movement to avoid shots and counter. He admits that in his last outing against Miguel Cotto that he was hit too much over the course of the fight and needs to be smarter to avoid taking shots.
In an effort to address this situation, Mayweather made peace with his father, trainer Floyd Sr. (with whom he has had a very tumultuous relationship) and will have him in his corner this weekend with his uncle and longtime trainer, Roger Mayweather.
Mayweather’s mantra is that 43 men before Guerrero had a plan to beat him and all failed. Guerrero, on the other hand, is banking that the aging Mayweather has lost a step and this, aligned with his relative inactivity in recent years, will make him ripe for the picking this weekend.
Guerrero is trained by his father, Ruben, who caused the biggest controversy of the promotion at Wednesday’s final press conference by calling Mayweather a “woman beater.” This slur was in reference to Mayweather’s domestic abuse conviction, for which he served two months in prison last summer.
Mayweather ignored the insult and tension between both fighters’ fathers by simply saying that when the bell rang it would be him and Robert Guerrero in the ring, and no one else.
When it comes to winning, Mayweather knows what he is talking about (his last six opponents are: Miguel Cotto, Victor Ortiz, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton, and Oscar De La Hoya). Not too shabby a list at all.
But Guerrrero has earned the right to take his bow in the Mayweather limelight. A six-time four-division champion, the Mexican-American jumped up two weight divisions from lightweight to welterweight to put himself in the frame for a mega fight. At 147 pounds, he defeated the tough Turkish fighter Selcuk Aydin before dominating Andre Berto last November. That win cemented his claim to be considered as a potential opponent for Mayweather.
Guerrero has also shown how strong he is outside the squared circle too, taking a sabbatical from the sport to be caregiver to his wife after she was diagnosed with leukemia. Can Guerrero do what no man in professional boxing has done before and defeat Mayweather, or does the latter have too much experience and guile for the challenger? Let us know what you think.