WBC interim welterweight beltholder Robert Guerrero said Floyd Mayweather Jr. is “slowing down,” declared the pound-for-pound king “ripe for the pickings” and vowed to “dominate” the five-division, eight-belt winner during a Thursday conference call promoting their May 4 clash in defense of Mayweather’s WBC crown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I see a lot of slippage,” said Guerrero, 29, of Mayweather, who turns 36 on Sunday. “I see him slowing down. As far as his legs not being as quick as they used to be.”
Speaking to a select group of national media members for the first time since his Showtime Pay Per View televised clash with Mayweather (43-0, 26 knockouts) was announced on Tuesday, Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) expressed confidence that he could earn his 16th straight victory against the Las Vegas resident.
“I have the skills and talent, and also having the experience to be in the ring. It’s having the right mindset. Being intelligent in the ring. Knowing how to change it up. Knowing how to use all of those tools. There is a difference between having the tools and knowing how to use them,” said Guerrero, whose run of triumphs includes nine knockouts.
“You can have every tool in the book, but if you don’t know how to use them, it isn’t any good. It’s knowing how to use your tools and knowing how to adjust with them, and get the job done. That’s what the difference is, and that’s the advantage that I have over all of these other fighters going into a Floyd Mayweather fight, and that’s being able to use my tools and make the adjustments and use them properly.”
Guerrero said his agreement with Mayweather includes a rematch clause as well as random drug testing to be administered by United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Mayweather will have been out of the ring for nearly a year to the day by the time he faces Guerrero, having last fought on May 5 of last year, earning a unanimous decision victory over Miguel Cotto for the WBA’s junior middleweight belt.
Nearly a month later, Mayweather began serving an 87-day jail sentence at the Clark County Detention Center that began on June 1 and ended on Aug. 3.
“Definitely, he’s ripe for the picking. He’s been out for a year,” said Guerrero. “That’s going to take a toll on anybody whether they say that it doesn’t or it does.”
Guerrero earned his 15th straight win with a unanimous decision victory over former two-time welterweight beltholder Andre Berto last November on HBO.
Guerrero was in only his second fight as a welterweight against Berto after having debuted at 147 pounds — jumping from the 135-pound class — with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Selcuk Aydin for the WBC’s interim belt last July.
Believing his experiences against Berto and Aydin have helped him, Guerrero said he is ready to take down Mayweather.
“[Mayweather] is way, way far smarter of a fighter than Berto and Aydin. Strength-wise, I feel that he’s not as strong as either one of them, and as fast as Berto. I think that Berto is a lot faster,” said Guerrero.
“But the one thing that carries Floyd Mayweather through is his intelligence in the ring. Being super intelligent. Being able to change gears and being able to change angles and being able to do so many things in the ring. He’s able to adapt, and that’s what gets him through.”
Guerrero, who is in his fifth weight class, last suffered defeat by a split-decision as a featherweight to Gamaliel Diaz in December 2005, but won their rematch with a sixth-round knockout in June 2006.
“I’m going to be a lot better, having the two welterweight fights under my belt. With Berto having fast hands and fast feet, and faster reflexes. Having the fight with Aydin, who is a very strong, come-forward fighter and a pressure fighter with punching power in both hands,” said Guerrero.
“It just makes you a better fighter, having those experiences. I really feel that getting into camp and training and getting the game plan together, I’m a lot better than I was the last fight. As you guys have seen throughout my career, I get better and better.”
Guerrero last suffered defeat by a split-decision as a featherweight to Gamaliel Diaz in December 2005, but won their rematch with a sixth-round knockout in June 2006.
Guerrero pulled out of a scheduled lightweight clash with Michael Katsidis in March of 2010 to be with his wife, Casey, during her recovery from a bone marrow transplant.
In September of 2011, Guerrero had arthroscopic surgery which repaired a torn tendon in the rotator cuff of his shoulder. The injury had already forced Guerrero to cancel an August bout with junior welterweight Marcos Maidana.
Guerrero then faced Aydin following the unanimous-decision victory over Katsidis for the WBO and WBA’s interim lightweight belts in April of 2011.
By defeating Aydin after a 15-month absence from the ring, Guerrero became the mandatory challenger to face Mayweather.
“That ring rust does take a toll on you. I’ve experienced it, being out with that shoulder surgery and then getting back into the ring after jumping two weight classes to fight Aydin. It does take a toll on you,” said Guerrero.
“So I think that it can affect your timing and you can’t let that carry me through the day, because Floyd Mayweather is a very sharp fighter, and even though he was in jail, and he was out for a year, the guy is in incredible shape and he’s going to be ready, and I’ve got to be ready for him.”
“There’s a lot of fighters in different weight classes. You have Sergio Martinez with an incredible legacy who is dominating guys and doing what he does. But then, also, he’s getting ducked, and there are a lot of people who don’t want to give him the fights. There’s Andre Ward who is dominating fighters and doing a tremendous job,” said Guerrero.
“I think that Andre can be the best fighter in the world with all that he’s done. He’s just dominated the division and taken on all of the toughest guys in their prime. There are so many fighters out there that it’s hard to tell. If I had to choose somebody besides myself, I would be choose Andre Ward as being the best fighter, pound-for-pound, out there.”
Guerrero does, nevertheless, rank Mayweather’s cerebral approach to his craft as his best attribute.
“I really think that Floyd’s going to fight an intelligent fight, but he’s going to have to pull out every stop in the book in order to be in the ring with me. He’s going to have to use his mind, and that’s his biggest tool. He has a strong mind and he’s very sharp in the ring. He knows how to use and make his adjustments, and that’s the difference between him and other fighters is being able to be intelligent and use his thought process in the fight and make those adjustments,” said Guerrero.
“That’s what he’s going to have to do in the ring with me. One thing is that there is not another that has been in there with him who has had youth on his side and the skills that can match (his). But his head is great and he’s very smart in the ring. He’s been putting a lot more pressure on guys, and I really think that has to do with not being able to move as good on his legs, where people think, ‘oh, he’s changed his style.’ But I just think that when you get older, you’ve got to start changing directions.”
In the end, Guerrero is a true believer that the skills that got him where he is will also get him beyond Mayweather.
“I’m a man of faith. I’m a man of God, and I feel that God has put me in this position for a reason: Not to humble the world of boxing, but to humble Floyd Mayweather. I’m have a lot of faith in God, and I really feel that I’m going to go in there and dominate this fight,” said Guerrero.
“There are people that say they can beat him, but they don’t have faith that they can beat him. Like I said, I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe that he has put me in this position for a reason. He has put me through so much stuff that it’s the kind of stuff that you only see in the movies throughout my boxing career.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com