Say what you will about Floyd Mayweather’s spotless record, but Robert Guerrero won’t make it easy for the pound-for-pound king to improve to 44-0 on May 4. May Day is going to be a tremendous battle that could end in some explosive fireworks.
Mayweather enters this fight the overwhelming favorite to keep his record unblemished, and there’s no reason to believe Guerrero should be favored to change it. But anyone who thinks the five-division champion is going to stroll into the MGM Grand Garden Arena and come away with an easy victory is in for a surprise.
At 36, Mayweather is no longer in the prime of his career, and he showed that at times in his bout with Miguel Cotto last May. Now a year removed from that fight, the pound-for-pound champion has to prove he can still fight with the quickness and defensive prowess that has made him the best fighter on the planet for so many years.
Guerrero certainly has the chops to make that a tall order. The 30-year-old southpaw is an extremely aggressive fighter who, paired with a little extra youth, will also have the advantage of a level head that Mayweather may be lacking right now.
It’s easy to become a little overconfident carrying a 43-0 record into a fight. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of complacency and underestimate an opponent who hasn’t lost since 2009 and boasts an impressive record of his own (31-1-1).
But psychological aspects aside, Mayweather still has some obstacles to overcome.
Without a frame of reference more recent than his fight with Cotto, it’s a fair assumption that Mayweather will be in similar form when he faces Guerrero on May 4. At the very least, the 36-year-old will be in similar physical shape and anxious to get back between the ropes.
In his May 5 fight last year, Mayweather displayed an apparent stylistic transition—partly because of Cotto’s skill level and in part because of a noticeable decline in quickness. One of the best defensive fighters in the history of the sport, Mayweather isn’t the same boxer without the ability to outmaneuver opponents and land well-timed counterpunches.
Not to suggest Mayweather is no longer capable of beating anyone he faces, but it’s an unavoidable fact: Age will eventually catch up with him. We may have already seen glimpses of that.
Cotto forced Mayweather to go on the attack much more regularly in that fight, leaving his comfort zone to remain ahead in the bout as the aggressor. Given Guerrero’s gritty offensive fighting style, Mayweather may be forced to do more of the same on May Day, once again straying from his usual calculated defensive approach.
Guerrero won’t throw anything at him that he hasn’t seen before, but Mayweather shouldn’t expect this fight to go as every other fight has. Should he overlook his opponent and deviate from his game plan, Mayweather will be in for a long, evenly matched bout.