The last time anyone can remember that happening to Mayweather (43-0, 26 knockouts) was in his last fight nearly a year ago on May 5, when the eight-time five-division titlewinner dethroned Miguel Cotto as the WBA junior middleweight beltholder.
On Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, site of his triumph over Cotto, Mayweather will ty to overcome a long ring absence as well as age and jail time against a determined southpaw named Robert Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) who will be after his 16th consecutive victory on Showtime Pay Per View.
Layoffs are nothing new to Mayweather, who overcame absences of 21- and 16-months to secure victories by unanimous decision and fourth-round knockout over Juan Manuel Marquez and Victor Ortiz, respectively.
Nevertheless, Guerrero says that he believes that Mayweather is “slowing down,” declared him “ripe for the pickings” and vowed to “dominate” him when they meet.
“I see a lot of slippage,” said Guerrero, 30, of Mayweather, who turned 36 in February. “I see him slowing down, as far as his legs not being as quick as they used to be.”
“My dad is back in my corner,” said Mayweather of his father, who is known as more of a defensive specialist than Roger Mayweather. “My dad is my lead trainer but I’m also working with my uncle Roger. The Mayweather family, as of right now, has good chemistry.”
A former two-time featherweight titleholder who also held a major belt at 130 pounds and two interim crowns at lightweight, Guerrero last suffered defeat by a split-decision to Gamaliel Diaz in December 2005, but won their rematch with a sixth-round knockout in June 2006.
Guerrero scored two, early knockdowns during November’s unanimous decision over former two-time welterweight beltholder Andre Berto in only his second fight as a welterweight. Guerrero debuted at 147 pounds — jumping from the 135-pound class — with a similar decision over previously unbeaten Selcuk Aydin last July.
Guerrero’s story is remarkable, having endured the cancer-scare of his wife, Casey, as well as arthroscopic surgery in September of 2011 to repair a torn tendon in the rotator cuff that forced him to cancel an August bout with Marcos Maidana.
Having asserted that God wants him to humble Mayweather, Guerrero has promised to deliver upon the unbeaten fighter his first loss during what he promises to be “the worst beating”of his career.
No one questions Guerrero’s faith and determination, but the notion that he will be victorious against Mayweather is simply hogwash to some, including Chris Mannix, of SportsIllustrated.com.
“I think that Floyd Mayweather wins in a cakewalk,” said Manix. “I think that Mayweather’s too fast, too talented, and I think that we’re significantly overrating Robert Guerrero right now because of a win over Andre Berto, who looked horrible in that fight. Maybe Guerrero can knockdown Berto when he’s trying to do the shoulder-roll defense for the first time in his career, but he’s not going to be able to knock down Mayweather, who has done that for his entire career.
“The one wild card in all of this is what Mayweather looks like outside of prison, and after a year off and having been out of the gym for months at a time for the first time in his career. That’s the great unknown. But assuming that Floyd is at least 90 percent of what we saw against Miguel Cotto, he will walk all over Robert Guerrero.”
Many of those who give Guerrero a chance — including the fighter, himself — point to the efforts of left-handers such as DeMarcus Corley and Zab Judah, who troubled Mayweather during their unanimous decision losses in May of 2004 and April of 2006, respectively.
“Definitely the southpaw style gives him trouble,” said Guerrero. “If DeMarcus Corley and Zab Judah don’t get tired, they’re winning those fights. I believe that.”
Ryan Maquinana, of CSNBAYAREA, agrees.
“Up until this year, I’d have to go with Floyd Mayweather. He’s the ultimate puzzle and has been on top of the sport for so long,” said Maquinana.
“But given Robert Guerrero’s southpaw tools, ring IQ, and willingness to press Mayweather in sustained attacks on the ropes, it feels like the perfect storm for an upset… Moreover, the jury’s still out on the dynamic surrounding Floyd’s restructured corner.”
See whether Mannix, Maquinana and the rest of the 40 boxing insiders believe Mayweather’s fists can trump Guerrero’s faith, as one writer puts it, below:
Floyd Mayweather KO 11 Robert Guerrero: I believe that Robert Guerrero is going to try to bully and press Floyd Mayweather much like he did against Andre Berto. I think that for maybe three or four rounds, he may make Mayweather a little uncomfortable.
But then, Mayweather, he’s very smart. Outside of Bernard Hopkins, I believe that he’s the smartest fighter in the business. I believe that he’ll take a few rounds to figure things out, and then, by rounds five, six and seven, it becomes target practice for Mayweather.
Then I think that Mayweather will possibly get a stoppage, say, around rounds 10 or 11 — somewhere within that range.
Robert Guerrero W 12 Floyd Mayweather: I really think that Robert Guerrero is going to do it, and I’m not just saying this to be the odd man out. I think that Guerrero’s the man in this one.
I think that he’s going to do this because Floyd Mayweather’s never seen somebody that’s going to put their head in his chest and pound him from round one to round 12. I really think that Robert’s going to do that.
It’s all about stamina for Guerrero, because we know he has the punching power, and we know that he’s got the ability to apply pressure. It Guerrero’s stamina holds up from round one to round 12, then I think it will be an upset by decision.
Floyd Mayweather W 12 Robert Guerrero: I think that ultimately the winner is going to be Floyd Mayweather, and I’ll tell you why. One reason is that I think Mayweather is very deceiving with his speed, and the way that he closes his distance.
Mayweather’s punches are sharp, they’re clean, and, more importantly, you get hit with shots that you don’t really see, and that’s how he hurts his opponents.
Robert Guerrero is going to put up a good fight just because he’s so rugged, and he thinks that the same game plan that he fought with against Andre Berto will work, and that’s a good game plan. He can make it a long night for Mayweather, and this may be one of Mayweather’s roughest fights.
But I think, still, Mayweather gets you to a point — like an ice man — he gets you to a point where you feel uncomfortable, and you start to do things that are outside of your nature. You make mistakes, and that’s where he’s going to get you. I think it’s going to be for Mayweather.
Floyd Mayweather W 12 Robert Guerrero: I’m going to go with Floyd Mayweather because he’s a more accurate puncher, although I think that Robert Guerrero is going to be in the fight because he’s such a volume puncher.
Guerrero’s a strong kid, but he comes in straight ahead, and I think that means that Mayweather’s going to eventually pot-shot him. So I like Mayweather by a decision, but he’s going to have to earn the victory.
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Robert Guerrero: Floyd Mayweather is tough to beat under any circumstances, but when he’s motivated like he appears to be, it’s virtually impossible to stop him.
Yes, Robert Guerrero is a southpaw, and southpaws have given Mayweather some difficulty in the past. And yes, Guerrero is younger and is an underrated power puncher.
But Mayweather isn’t going to drop the ball here. He is the better overall fighter and he wins by unanimous decision.
It may end up being the toughest fight of Floyd Mayweather’s career, facing a southpaw who likes to rough up his opponents, but it’s hard to pick against the greatest fighter of this generation.
Robert Guerrero will find a lot of success in the early rounds, but as Mayweather always does, he’ll make the necessary adjustments; Floyd will counter Guerrero and turn his aggression against him. Mayweather will begin to land more and more as the fight winds down, leading to a close but clear decision win.
Record: 4-5 [Last week's pick: Judah UD 12 Garcia]
Floyd Mayweather W 12 Robert Guerrero: “The Ghost” has always stepped up to the mark and been equal to the task at championship level from featherweight to welterweight. Floyd Mayweather looks better with each performance, though I’m still convinced he gets matched to his advantage carefully and at the right time.
The storylines leading into this contest have been richly entertaining and enlightening from guns in airports to epiphany in prison. Robert Guerrero the southpaw could provide Mayweather’s biggest test in the early rounds, but will have to hurt or damage the defensive master in some way in this contest.
I simply cannot see Guerrero defeating Mayweather on points. Mayweather could age, of course, in this fight given that he is 36, yet he is physically freakishly young. Jail may have weakened him physically in muscle tone, but he will have had time to compensate.
Mayweather’s realization of the importance of family and loyalty while in prison also bodes well for his mental state. Equally, the return to having his father back in the corner. It will be fast, it will be entertaining.
Guerrero may have some success early and may rally late. But Mayweather should finish the victor on points. Guerreo may have God on his side, but Mayweather has the God-given gifts of sublime defense and a ring craft which is second to none right now. Mayweather points victory.
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Robert Guerrero: I like Floyd Mayweather by a unanimous decision, like eight rounds to four, maybe one card of nine rounds to three. I think that it will be physically grueling, even if it’s one-sided on the scorecards.
I think it’s going to be a physical fight. Mayweather will know that he’s been in a fight. Robert Guerrero will have moments where he scores with his jab, and he’ll have moments where he’s able to at least out-work Mayweather when Mayweather’s against the ropes or in a corner.
There may be times where Mayweather voluntarily goes into a corner to lure Robert in, and then, Mayweather will score very well with his back to the ropes. He’ll score with accurate shots, and score with his right hand and with uppercuts.
I think with Mayweather will hurt Robert Guerrero in a way that Andre Berto wasn’t able to because he’s a better and more accurate puncher with better timing. Mayweather doesn’t just let his punches go. He knows exactly where to punch, so I think that he’s going to hurt Guerrero, probably to the body, but I think that Guerrero is nothing if not durable, tough and resilient.
He’s game, of course, because this is the biggest fight of his life, so Guerrero will walk through hellfire to get to Mayweather. He will have his moments in the fight, and he will win rounds, but not enough rounds to threaten Mayweather on the scorecards.
Record: 5-4 [Last week: Garcia by mid-to-late TKO Judah]
Floyd Mayweather Jr. KO 10 Robert Guerrero: The question is about Floyd Mayweather. Robert Guerrero is a known, reliable quantity. Mayweather will see his trademark toughness and stubborn pressure. The question rests in how Mayweather responds.
The answer is a key to whether he can fulfill a Showtime deal worth $250 million if he fights six times over the next 30 months. The “if” is there because of Mayweather’s time in jail. Did it have a negative, long-term effect? The guess here is that Mayweather starts slow and then finds an opening that Andre Berto found in a loss Guerrero. Guerrero was vulnerable to a right.
Mayweather will begin to land repeated rights after the fifth or sixth round. They might not be enough for a knockdown. But Mayweather will shake-off inactivity and re-discover wicked precision in a right hand that will bruise, cut and force a late-round stoppage.
Record: 6-3 [Last week: Garcia TKO 6 Judah]