As the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
Or, in the case of Robert Guerrero, “If you can’t fight ’em, imitate ’em.”
Though their fighter is best known as a humble, church-going everyman from Northern California, members of the former two-division champion’s team conceded on the premiere episode of Showtime’s Mayweather-Guerrero: All Access that they had to take the low road to get the big fight.
Their reward will come May 4, when Mayweather will put his WBC welterweight title on the line at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“No one wanted to fight him. You’re as good as the opportunities you get,” said Luis De Cubas Jr., Guerrero’s co-manager. “He wasn’t able to get those opportunities because he was too good for his own good. So I said you gotta start being a little more open, you gotta start calling guys out.”
Reclaiming the Throne
The fight is Mayweather’s first since a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto last May 5 that raised his record to 43-0 and earned him the WBA’s title at 154 pounds.
Soon after, he spent a chunk of the summer behind bars at the Clark County (Nev.) Detention Center while serving time for domestic battery.
“Seventy days, I was locked away. I was locked in a box,” Mayweather said. “Mentally, it made me appreciate my family. Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”
Face to Face
Mayweather and Guerrero came together for the first time since the contract signing to film a series of commercial spots promoting the Showtime pay-per-view event.
True to his previous big-fight nature, Mayweather wasted no time before trash-talking his opponent and he was soon joined by WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner, a close friend, who insisted Mayweather signing to meet Guerrero was “taking my easy work.”
Guerrero, who was joined at the shoot by father and trainer, Ruben, claimed the aggressive banter did nothing to jolt his confidence.
“I’m coming to fight, regardless of the way you act or the way you talk,” Guerrero said.
A Family Affair
Mayweather disclosed that his father, Floyd Sr., will be in his corner on fight night rather than longtime trainer Roger Mayweather, his uncle.
Father and son have had a series of well-documented flare-ups over the years—and Mayweather Sr. was scheduled to work with Oscar De La Hoya prior to his 2007 bout with Floyd Jr.—but a dispute over fees led to De La Hoya instead selecting Freddie Roach.
Now 60, Floyd Sr. was 28-6-1 in a 16-year pro career and was stopped in 10 rounds by Sugar Ray Leonard in Leonard’s 14th pro fight in 1978.
“It’s not a good thing, it’s a great thing,” Mayweather Jr. said. “If it comes together, it’s a great thing. If it explodes, that’s family. That comes with the territory.”
Making the Rounds
Before he headed off to training camp, Guerrero was dispatched on a dizzying press tour to promote the fight—during which Mayweather was shown training in his Las Vegas gym.
“What he has to do is earn his stripes, and not just in the ring,” Mayweather said. “Tell the people what do you bring to the table that’s different than any other fighter.”
Among Guerrero’s stops was an appearance on the 700 Club television show with wife, Casey, who was diagnosed with leukemia a few days before his 2007 bout with Martin Honorio.
The disease is now in remission, but Casey still endures a daunting daily regimen of pills, including treatment for numbness/tingling in the legs and anti-rejection medications including Prednisone.
“I’ve gotta go out there and be a shining light,” he said. “I’m on the 700 Club, I already won.”
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first hand or from Showtime's broadcast of All Access: Mayweather vs. Guerrero.