Guerrero has earned his respect; now he wants to cash in.
Robert Guerrero was extremely impressive Saturday night in dropping former welterweight champion and one-time super-prospect Andre Berto en route to a unanimous decision.
There were many observers who felt Guerrero would win this fight. But few thought he'd be able to hurt Berto the way he did when he knocked him down in the first and second rounds. Few thought he would be able to destroy Berto's right eye the way he did, opening a huge, ugly mouse underneath it early in the fight.
You can't hope for a more impressive showing from a fighter who felt slighted and was determined to make a statement.
Berto closed the gap as the fight went on, as he needed to go for broke, but he was already too far behind, and Guerrero was just too strong.
But let's once again make sure we keep some sense of perspective. While it was a great win, and one which has earned Guerrero some of that long-sought-after respect, it doesn't prove he is ready for the top dogs in boxing.
And we all know who those top dogs are in the sport.
It seems that every fighter between 147 and 154 pounds who wins a fight, even before he thanks his promoter or his team or God, says a version of the following three-word sentence:
I want Mayweather/Pacquiao.
In the business reality of boxing, that makes perfect sense. Any fighter would make more money fighting one of those two than he would fighting five fights against most anyone else.
Predictably, before the fighters even exited the ring last night, the boxing world was already hearing from Golden Boy Promotions that Guerrero would be seeking out Mayweather for his next fight.
In that respect Guerrero joins other notable fighters—most notably Manny Pacquiao himself, Tim Bradley and Saul Alvarez—who have been openly lobbying in the media to hit the Floyd lottery.
Guerrero's main claim to the fight is that he currently holds the interim WBC welterweight title. The regular champion for the WBC is Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather won the championship in September 2011 from Victor Ortiz but has not defended it, instead pursuing fights at higher weight classes.
The WBC will likely elevate Guerrero to full champion status by the end of the year if Mayweather elects not to face him to defend the title.
The chances of Mayweather fighting Guerrero are not as long as you may think. Floyd is in the midst of a long stretch of inactivity stemming from his jail term and has not fought coming up on seven months.
It will likely be much closer to a full year out of the ring by the time he fights again.
He may want, what he considers to be at least, a lesser challenge before pursuing big fights next year against the Canelo- and Sergio Martinez-type fighters people want to see him face.
Guerrero is a rangy, slick southpaw who presents stylistic challenges for most fighters. But just because you can rough up and beat Andre Berto doesn't mean you're ready for that next level.
Or in this case, a level above that next level, in Floyd Mayweather.
It makes financial sense for Guerrero and everyone else fighting at welterweight or junior middleweight, and he can expect to make a ton of money.
He just shouldn't expect to win.