LAS VEGAS — Sitting on a couch in the VIP room near the casino lobby of the MGM Grand, welterweight challenger Robert Guerrero was alternately intense, serious, tight-jawed and laughing as he fielded questions from a small gathering of reporters for about 10 minutes on Tuesday in advance of Saturday night’s Showtime Pay Per View-televised clash with unbeaten WBC welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Having entered the venue where, moments earlier, Mayweather (43-0, 26 knockouts) had held court for nearly 40 minutes, Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) addressed topics including last month’s gun possession charge at a New York’s JFK airport, his relationship with his trainer and father, Ruben Guerrero, as well as Mayweather’s assertion that Guerrero is a hypocrite who has overplayed the story surrounding the his cancer-surviving wife, Casey, as a means of eliciting sympathy from fans.
Guerrero also disclosed that there is a contracted rematch clause in the event that he defeats Mayweather.
Working Mayweather-Guerrero will be referee Robert Byrd and judges Duane Ford and Jerry Roth — each of whom is from Las Vegas — as well as New York-based Julie Lederman.
Guerrero said he was not concerned about the final verdict against Mayweather, even as Roth and Ford worked June’s disputed split-decision victory by Tim Bradley over Manny Pacquiao. Ford scored the bout for Bradley, 115-113, and Roth had it the same way for Pacquiao.
Below are Guerrero’s comments in their entirety.
Robert Guerrero on the gun charge:
“I ain’t got nothing to hide. My focus is on fighting. It’s all taken care of. Everything got taken care of. It’s all a misunderstanding. I was unaware of the laws there. All-Access wanted to film me doing a thing here in Las Vegas.
“They know that I’m an active fisherman and hunter and so I’m like, ‘Hey, we’ll do something. You know, unfortunately, it didn’t make it here.
“I was just unaware of New York City’s state law. Everything’s all taken care of already. My main focus is getting ready for the fight. That’s the bottom line is taking care of business.”
On the assertion by Mayweather that he could be facing a potential jail sentence as a result of the gun charge:
“No. That’s not my belief. My belief is that I’m going to go in there and beat him down on May 4. That’s what my belief is. So he needs to be worried about that, not whatever is going to go on with me after the fight.”
On the fact that there is contracted rematch clause:
“Definitely. That’s the first thing that he asked for was a rematch clause, man. You know what? You never ask for one and he asked for one. It just shows you where his head is at.
“Put it this way, it’s like he said, ‘I don’t know who Robert Guerrero is, but I want a rematch clause. That’s it. He knows what he’s getting into. First thing you ask for is a rematch? But it’s well-deserved. He’s undefeated.
“Nobody’s beaten him. 43-0. Forty-three tired. I’ve heard it over and over. He’s said it like a million times. I’m going to ask him at the press conference tomorrow to refresh my memory, like, ‘What is it again? 43-0 or 41, huh?”
On whether he is concerned over the the fact that three of the four officials — referee Byrd, judges Roth and Ford — hail from Las Vegas as does Mayweather, and were involved in the Bradley-Pacquiao fight:
“Nah. Not at all. I come to fight. Judges don’t concern me. They’re going to do their job. At the end of the day, if they’re honest, if they’re not, they’re not. What can you do? You’ve just got to go out there focused and fight your fight, take care of business.
“But my ultimate judge, you know this, is God. I just can’t let up like Pacquiao did. I’ve got to go hard all the way through. You’ve got to go out there and take care of business. Like I said, I don’t worry about the judges. I go out there and fight. If they’re honest, they’re honest, if not, oh well.
“What are you going to do? So pretty much like I said, you’ve got to go out there focused and get your job done and do what you have to do. You leave that all out of your mind and take care of business in the ring.”
“[Chuckles.] It makes me laugh. To gather sympathy. Because I don’t need sympathy. I come to fight. We’re fighters. Sympathy doesn’t win fights. So what he’s thinking, he’s just worried about himself and how his image is looking.
“That’s all that’s about. So when he says stuff like that, at the end of the day, what gets you through the day is your talent. What you can do in the ring. Not sympathy.
“So it’s laughable. It makes you laugh. It just shows you where his head’s at. I know one thing, you guys ain’t used to this. Having Floyd come in first. Floyd’s been doing a lot of weird things lately, so I don’t know. He just came in first.
“It shows me where his mind is at. When you step in that ring, you’ve got to be ready to take care of business. No matter what. So sympathy, or everything else, whatever, this or that. It doesn’t mean nothing. Because the only thing that means something is what you do in that ring.”
“It’s more about the fight. It’s more about being the best fighter you can be. Fighting the best fighters. You become the best fighter, you work hard, and you do what you’ve got to do.
“You take care of business, it’s all going to be there. That’s why everybody goes, ‘Oh, you’re getting paid this or that,’ but it’s not about that. Because if you take care of business, it’s all going to be there. I’m ready to go. Like I said, I’ve been training hard, I’m focused, determined. I just can’t wait to get in that ring.”
“Because we respect each other as men. I’ve said over and over that if you respect each other as men, then that mutual respect is going to be there. There comes a time in your life when you’re father’s got to let you go and be a man. That’s what he did. He let me go to be a man, and that’s what he did.
“He let me go to be a man, and we respect each other as men, and it works out good. We have that father-son relationship when we’re at home. But when it’s game-time in the gym, it’s all business like men.
“He sees everything. He raised me since when I was a kid. It’s what he’s seen since I was a kid. The talent and what I can do in the ring. What I can do, what I’m capable of doing, what I can execute.
“He sees all of that. [The other trainers,] they see power and the fell in love with it and that’s all they want you to throw is power shots. My father, he knows that I can do a lot more. You know, footwork, mix it up, hand speed, box, fight on the inside. It changes everything.”
On his game plan against Mayweather:
“Being able to mix everything in, with all of the experiences that I’ve had throughout my career, it leads you to guys like Floyd who can change gears and can do different things in the ring. You can make those adjustments.
“The great thing is that last year, I had those two fights with Aydin, who is a pressure fighter, and Berto, who is slick and has quick hands and has power and who is quick on his feet.
“You get the best of both worlds within those two fights, expecially breaking in at 147 pounds. I couldn’t be happier. Now, with those fights, you go back and you start assessing yourself and see what you’ve got to change. What you’ve got to put together and start building your game plan around everything.”
On how the fights with Aydin and Berto prepped him for Mayweather:
“Being able to get two fights like that, one, a pressure fighter and a power puncher, and the other guy is a power puncher who has speed and has fast hands and who tried to be like a wannabe Floyd, which was laughable.
“I broke right through that in not even a minute. It helps out being sharp. It’s the best of both worlds to get ready for a Floyd Mayweather fight. To break in at 147-pounds.
“But it’s also throughout your career, lefties, righties, boxers, punchers, the different styles prep you up to be ready for this. You’re not just thrown in unprepared. You’re able to do different things. You’ve seen different styles throughout your career.”
“He was able to adjust to a guy who had a hurt back fighting him with Mosley. I’m comfortable however he wants to fight. He wants to fight on the inside, or on the outside, I can make those adjustments.
“I can mix it up. I can make those adjustments. He just better to make those adjustments when I make those adjustments, because I’m going to keep making those adjustments.”
On Mayweather’s assertion that he is a hypocrite for carrying a gun:
“[Laughs.] That just makes me laugh, because it shows me how much he knows about the Bible. We’re all hypocrites here. We’re all sinners. That’s just the way it is. There’s only one person that was perfect in this world, and that was Jesus Christ. Nobody else.
“So we’re all hypocrites, we all make mistakes, and we’re only human. For him to say that ‘You’re a hypocrite,’ it makes me laugh. He’s so worried about his image and about my image that he’s saying, ‘Oh, Guerrero’s a hypocrite,’ and, ‘Oh, he’s getting sympathy off his wife.’
“And this and that. It makes me laugh because it shows me where his heads at. His heads stuck in…I don’t know if he is trying to paint a picture for everybody that he’s a great guy or what.
“Or he’s feeling guilty about something or he’s trying to bag on me about Marilyn Monroe pictures, or…It’s laughable. All I know is that I’m ready to go, May 4. Get ready to be shocked. That’s it.”
Photos by Esther Lin, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org