The MAY DAY Pay-Per-View main event sees “Money May” return to his favoured welterweight (147lbs) division after only his second ever venture into the junior middleweight (154lbs) division against Miguel Cotto last May. His deal to sign with US TV network Showtime is potentially the biggest individual sports contract in history, estimated to be worth $250 million over his final six fights.
Let’s get the pre-fight Floyd rants out the way.
“There is no blueprint on how to beat me but there is one on how to beat Guerrero.”
“Forty-three have tried and forty-three have failed. What makes you different?” (Actually it’s 42, considering he fought Castillo twice, but whatever.)
“Blah blah blah, I’m the best athlete ever. Period.”
“Blah blah blah, Hard work. Dedication. Hard work. Dedication.”
The latest: “Love me or hate me, you’re gonna watch me.”Now, the last one may be truer than the other garbage he spits out. We’re going to watch. There’s nothing we love more than rooting against the arrogant, egotistical loud mouth. The difference between other sports and the Sweet Science is that there’s always a chance we’ll get to see that loud mouth have his ass handed to him in the ring.
Yeah, it's probably 90% posturing and living up to his role as the villain in the media, but that doesn’t change anything. At 21, long before Mayweather was the face of PPV boxing, he said in a post-fight interview, "That’s what sells tickets. I’m here to sell tickets. I’m a performer. That’s what I do, I sell myself." Admittedly, I’m one of the Mayweather-haters regardless of whether it's the character or not and can’t wait to see him get laid out on the canvas. But is this relatively anonymous “The Ghost”, the one to do it?
Guerrero is a strong southpaw who up until recently fought two weight divisions lower at lightweight (135lbs). Two years of on-going calls for a fight with the Pound-for-Pound King got little more attention than any one of the other fighters seeking a date (and career high payday). But while others ran their mouth, Guerrero jumped two classes to defeat two strong top 10 welterweights in Selcuk Aydin and the naturally bigger former champion, Andre Berto, to become Mayweather’s WBC mandatory challenger. It wasn’t just that “The Ghost” beat these opponents; he systematically broke them down, outworked them and dominated them for twelve rounds.
So, what does Guerrero bring to the table?
- Primed – At 30, Guerrero’s physical powers are probably nearing their maximum.
- Southpaw – Mayweather, though he would never admit it, has struggled against lefties.
- Versatility - Guerrero's last few fights have shown his ability to box, use footwork and rough it up when called for.
- Chin - Guerrero is tough as hell and has shown he can walk away from a welterweight's punch.
We all know what to expect from Floyd in the build-up and on the night. There’ll be theatrics, trash talking and the performer persona for us, the willing public, to lap up. You’ll hear his ‘Money Team’ motto “Hard work. Dedication.” on repeat. He’ll probably be accompanied to the ring by host of celebrities (Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne, Triple H, 50 Cent in the past). The biggest question is what Floyd will turn up when the bell rings?
Last May, in a fight closer than the scorecards reflected, Mayweather emerged with a unanimous decision over Cotto. Mayweather himself rated Cotto’s performance as a D+, having been on the receiving end more than usual for the notoriously hard to hit champion.
A boxer at 36 will always have a question mark above him on fight night. That question mark will be bigger after a three-month stay in jail. Fighters, unlike other athletes, can get old on one night with one punch. Floyd has kept his appearances down to a minimum over the last few years so doesn’t have the typical wear and tear of a 36-year-old boxer, but the Cotto fight showed that the one night may just be around the corner.
I may have a strong dislike (bordering on hate) for him, but Floyd Mayweather is a great fighter. One of the all-time greats and one of the best defensive fighters ever. His ability to make fighters miss, block their shots with his shoulder roll defence and punish them with lightning fast hands is probably second to none in this generation. With his father Floyd Snr. back in his corner to improve his defence, expect an even tighter Mayweather.
There will come a night when his powers aren’t what they used to be. He’ll get hit with a shot that will buckle him into a jelly-legged baby giraffe, like Mosley did in Round 2 of their 2010 fight. Only this time, the fighter will finish him and won’t gas out like Mosley. He’ll face a young, primed fighter that will stalk him for twelve rounds and not get frustrated into an act of stupidity, like Ortiz in 2011. He’ll face a fighter not a shadow of his former self like Cotto, but strong and ready to dethrone him. He’ll face a guy that can outsmart him, outwork him and outmuscle him. That night will come. If he lets it.
But, is that man Guerrero? He might be in the perfect position coming into this fight with Mayweather. He might believe the fight’s timing and his abilities are perfectly aligned, but I think otherwise. It will be close and Floyd will get hit and possibly hurt, but Floyd Mayweather always finds a way to win. Floyd will find “The Ghost” in his face at times, boxing and outworking him. But once Floyd figures him out and how to get to him, it will be a slow ride to a Mayweather points decision. I can see a close score, like seven rounds to five, or eight to four, in favour of the champion. I pray I’m wrong.
When that happens, expect increasing calls for Mayweather to face undefeated, newly unified 154lbs champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. In his final six fights, if he goes through with that many battles, will Floyd end his career riding into the sunset a champion worthy of that title, having fought the best competition out there (at least in this swansong period)? Or will he continue to be a smart fighter, only picking opponents he knows he will beat? Will his legacy be forever tainted by the fights he never fought? Floyd Mayweather, all-time great. Or Floyd Mayweather, all-time great who never fought Pacquiao?
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