With the UFC taking a break from the television airwaves for a few weeks, it’s primetime for the sweet science to return to the limelight. What better way for boxing to return to forefront than with arguably it’s biggest star and top pound-for-pound fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr. After a brief stint in jail, Mayweather is stepping back into the squared circle to make a mandatory defense of his WBC Welterweight Championship against WBC Interim Champion Robert Guerrero. Also of note in this contest is that it is Mayweather’s first bout on the Showtime network after spending the entirety of his career on HBO PPV.
When: Saturday May 4, 2013
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: Showtime Pay Per View
The Fight: Welterweight Bout for the WBC and The Ring Welterweight Championship Titles
Current Available Betting Lines (from BODOG):
Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. (-700) / Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (+450)
Total Rounds – Over 11 ½ Rounds (-280) / Under 11 ½ Rounds (+190)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has long been considered one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world and with the recent loss of Manny Pacquiao it would appear that he is the sole possessor of boxing’s P4P title. After his most recent bout against Miguel Cotto he was forced to report to Clark County in Las Vegas to serve a 3-month jail sentence for domestic abuse. He has since been released and is making his first return to the ring since his jail sentence. It’s been almost a year exactly since Mayweather’s last bout against Cotto and that has many critics wondering if he can shake off a year’s worth of ring rust against one of his toughest challengers ever.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]There hasn’t been a whole lot of hype leading into this bout until very recently. At one of the most recent press conferences the father’s of both fighters nearly came to blows when Guerrero’s father made a comment about Mayweather’s domestic abuse charges. Other than that has been the standard 24-7 treatment that Mayweather gets for nearly all of his fights. Still, this bout features an interesting undercard and all the theatrics that go along with a Mayweather fight.
Fighter Analysis: Floyd “Money” Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a five-division world champion boxer who has won over ten world titles throughout an illustrious career. Mayweather has won a number Fighter of the Year awards and is widely considered the world’s top pound-for-pound boxer. Mayweather is undefeated as a professional boxer, with a perfect record of 43-0 including 26 wins by way of knockout. Floyd is an orthodox fighter, standing just over five feet, eight inches tall and has an official reach of 72-inches.
Mayweather was born into a family of fighters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He began training in the sweet science at the age of seven and immediately shined as a top talent in his youth boxing days. Mayweather’s father was a former Welterweight title contender. His uncles Roger and Jeff were also former professional fighters and Roger won two world championships. This fighting family makes up a large portion of Mayweather’s training team.
Mayweather was a top amateur boxer, compiling an amateur record of 84-6. He won the national Golden Gloves tournaments in 1993, 1994 and 1996 at different weight classes every year. It was during this time as an amateur that Mayweather developed his trademark defensive style. To this day he is one of the best defensive fighters of the modern era. He is an expert at using the “shoulder-roll” and top-notch footwork to slip away from damage. During his amateur career Mayweather won a Bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Fighter Analysis: Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero
Robert Guerrero has caught a lot of flack coming into this fight for being somewhat less recognizable than some of Mayweather’s previous foils. Guerrero is a 30-year-old Southpaw fighter from Gilroy, California. Guerrero is a former four-division boxing world champion who recently moved up to the Welterweight division after spending several years at Lightweight and earlier Featherweight.
Guerrero is coached by Ruben Guerrero and Bob Santos. He was named the Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year for the year 2012 after jumping in weight to win the WBC Interim Welterweight title with impressive victories over Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto. Originally Guerrero was known more of a puncher than a true technical boxer. Guerrero is now known as a brawler with a strong chin and a fighter who isn’t afraid to bend the rules at times.
Guerrero is a brawler and a bully inside the ring, plain and simple. His ability to crowd opponents and force them into uncomfortable exchanges is the exact opposite of opponent Mayweather. To be successful Guerrero is going to need to apply a never-ending stream of pressure on ‘Money.’ Guerrero has a decent jab although he sometimes gets lazy and paws it instead of snapping it with authority. He also has decent power, but his footwork is flat by comparison of that of Mayweather. He’ll definitely be looking to fight this bout in the trenches, keeping him against the ropes and restricting his ability to move at will.
Punching Power: Mayweather Jr. has a Knockout percentage of just over 60%, while Guerrero is a shade under that at 58%. Guerrero has scored knockdowns against the majority of his contender, but his style is more plodding and grinding which doesn’t lend itself well to big one-punch knockouts. Mayweather on the other hand is a tough and accurate counter puncher with big power. The edge goes to FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
Hand and Foot Speed: It’s not even close, Floyd Mayweather is one of the best counter punchers in the sport and a lot of that has to do with hand and foot speed. Guerrero’s game relies a lot on foot speed, but he uses his skills to cut the ring off and push his opponents into bad spots, not necessarily dance and float around like Mayweather. Edge to FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
Defense: I’ll call this one very close to even, although the methods of defense are very different between these two fighters. Mayweather’s Philly-shell defensive style and shoulder roll are top-notch and he’s one of the greatest counter-punchers and defensive technicians of all time. Guerrero on the other hand relies on grit and toughness as his sole line of defense, willing to take shots as he plods in. Despite both men being strong defensively, FLOYD MAYWEATHER has to have the edge here.
Heart and Chin: This is one of the biggest edges that Guerrero has heading into this fight. He’s never been knocked out in his career and he’s taken plenty of shots on the chin to put it to the test. Mayweather has never been known for his strong chin, but rather relies on his defensive strengths to avoid taking blows directly. Edge to ROBERT GUERRERO
Fight IQ: Simply put this is one area where Mayweather has excelled throughout his career. He and his trainers are excellent at making adjustments in midfight if things aren’t going as planned. Despite getting off to slow starts in past fights including against Zab Judah and Oscar de la Hoya, he has come back to win in dominant fashion. Edge to FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]This fight will come down to two things in my estimation. The first is how Floyd Mayweather handles the yearlong layoff that he’s had since his last bout. He’s 36-years-old, exiting his athletic prime, coming off a significant layoff and has spent recent time in jail. There are significant questions about how Mayweather is going to handle his return to the ring. It will also be interesting to see how the return to the ring affects Mayweather’s cardio and usually razor sharp reflexes.
The other point of interest in this fight is how well Mayweather deals with the dirty boxing style of Guerrero. Guerrero has shown the ability and willingness to take a few punches in order to get in close with his opponents where he can work his opponents over with body punches and the occasional elbow. That type of in-close brawl is the only kind of fight that favors Guerrero, any boxing contest that involves traditional boxing from a distance is surely going to favor the champion.
In the end I think this fight edges to Mayweather. He’s an amazing tactician and his coaches are excellent at providing feedback mid-fight to help him make adjustments. If Guerrero begins to have success I expect Mayweather to find a way out of it. In the end, Mayweather overcomes a slow start and boxes Guerrero up over the course of the second half of the contest and takes a dominant decision.