When Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes the ring to defend his WBC Welterweight title belt against Robert Guerrero on May 4 in Las Vegas' MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, it will mark nearly a year since Money last entered the ring professionally.
Any notions of rust should be dismissed, though, as Mayweather's hiatus won't be enough to prevent him from emerging victorious.
The reason for Mayweather's absence from boxing, of course, wasn't voluntary. He had to serve two months in a Las Vegas prison as part of a misdemeanor domestic battery case, and was released this past August.
Choosing Mayweather to come out on top despite the lack of recent competitive bouts is not to take anything away from Guerrero.
The 29-year-old underdog is a star fighter in his own right, even if he is far lesser known. He has an unconventional southpaw stance that is sure to throw Mayweather off at least a little bit, and boasts an impressive record of 31-1-1 himself.
It's the technical prowess and articulatory brilliance of Mayweather that is going to be the difference, though. In a promotional video by Showtime Sports, the champ is already trash talking Guerrero in very close proximity to their first-ever encounter.
Those types of tactics are as useful as any that Mayweather can deploy in the ring. There should be no reason that Mayweather doesn't feel he has the psychological advantage in this fight.
Mayweather has never lost, and he also made it public that he doesn't believe the outcome should be any different. Despite the persistent prodding by Mayweather, Guerrero is not short on confidence at all, however. He fully believes—at least to the media—that he will be the one to dethrone Mayweather and hand him his first career loss (h/t The Sun):
Nothing has ever come easy to me and that mental fortitude has prepared me to defeat the one fighter everyone perceives to be the pound-for-pound king in Mayweather.
When we lock eyes across the ring on fight night he’s going to feel the presence of a man preordained for greatness.
The time is now to show the world why I’m destined to dethrone him.
There's a reason that Money is perceived as the pound-for-pound king. He has won world championships in five different divisions, and consistently rates ahead of fellow boxing titan Manny Pacquiao in that regard.
Guerrero preceded those bold remarks by citing his own experience after being away from boxing for an extended period of time, as logged by Dan Rafael of ESPN:
[Mayweather]'s been out for a year. It does take a toll with that ring rust. I've experienced it, being out a year with that shoulder surgery (in 2011) and then getting back in the ring after jumping the two weight classes. It does take a toll on you.
Having surgery and needing to rehab would likely subtract some of the time one could spend training. It's not as though Mayweather was injured—he simply couldn't train on his normal schedule due to being incarcerated.
Now that Mayweather will have had approximately nine months to recover and train hard for the impending bout, the rust really shouldn't be as much of a problem as it's being made out to be.