Floyd Mayweather's constant teasing about who his next opponent will be appears to be nearing a conclusion. According to Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com, Mayweather and Robert Guerrero are close in their negotiations for a May 4, 2013 fight:
We've been told the fight will indeed take place in the welterweight division, with Mayweather defending his WBC championship. Guerrero is the mandatory challenger at the weight and holds the WBC's interim belt. The network of choice, HBO or Showtime, has not been determined.
Obviously, Guerrero is not a name that will resonate with casual boxing fans, but it is a good step for Mayweather to take in his career.
In fact, Guerrero might be the best possible fighter for Mayweather and boxing right now. As David Mayo of MLive.com wrote, Guerrero is smart enough to know what he can and can't do against a superior fighter in the ring:
People who know boxing regard Guerrero, correctly, as an earnest fighter, a dedicated trainer, a whirlwind in the ring, and someone who will go out on his shield if and when he discovers, at some point during the 12 rounds of truth, that he doesn't have the goods to compete with a superior athlete. In that regard, he is the perfect opponent.
Mayweather dominates opponents for two reasons. The first, and most obvious, is because he is an incredible athlete and boxer. He is one of the smartest fighters in the history of the sport. That knowledge, combined with incredible speed and raw talent, have made him unbeatable.
Second, no one has figured out how to adjust to all the things that Mayweather does well. He is so good on defense, yet so fast when he does find an opening and decides to attack, that it is hard to get a read on what is going to happen.
Guerrero's ability to adjust against other opponents on the fly has carried him to a 31-1-1 record with 18 knockouts.
Boxing fans still yearning to see Mayweather take on Manny Pacquiao have to accept the fact that fight isn't going to happen, barring some miracle. Once the world comes to that realization, it makes this fight with Guerrero that much easier to understand.
Not only is Mayweather doing right by the championship by giving a shot to the most deserving challenger, but he is also allowing another new face to get into the main-event spotlight. In an era where boxing needs stars, Guerrero could make himself into an icon with just one great performance.
Who knows what will happen when these two actually do step into the ring. But as far as being the best fight at the best possible time for Mayweather, it would be hard for him to do much better than Guerrero.