Rumors of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s demise have been much exaggerated.
Whether it's jail, age or a diminished drive, many are thinking his fight with Robert Guerrero will be one of the toughest of his career. At 36 years old, Mayweather is no spring chicken. And spending two months in jail will have done nothing to increase his in-ring acumen.
However, do not discount the talent of Mayweather. Even at his age, he remains one of the most talented boxers in the world.
Guerrero is a tough fighter, but his name doesn't have the cache of some of Mayweather's previous opponents. The powers that be promoting the fight are left to try and chip away at the image of Mayweather as the unbeatable champ.
Try as he or she might, no promoter can truly convince one that Mayweather's talent has diminished to an extent where Guerrero has a significant chance.
The 30-year-old challenger is a very tough, talented fighter. He's been very smart to neither fear Mayweather nor get roped into any mind games (h/t Josh Slagter of MLive.com):
"It's just about executing it. The one thing with a lot of fighters is, they all have their game plans, but they can't execute it," Guerrero told Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub TV at his media day workout in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
"Most of the time, by the time they get in the ring, it's already out the window. They're so mad, or they're scared, and their thought process is just blank when they're in the ring with Floyd. You gotta be ready, and you gotta be able to make those adjustments, and that's what I'm gonna do in the ring."
Unfortunately, he's simply not at the same level as Mayweather. Guerrero may be able to assert himself early, but as the fight drags on, Mayweather will slowly but surely distance himself from Guerrero. There's little advantage Guerrero will have in the ring over the entirety of the fight. As with any fight, one punch could end the contest, but that's unlikely to happen.
Mayweather struggled a bit in his last bout against Miguel Cotto on May 5. Mayweather admitted as much to Martin Domin of the Daily Mail. As the champion acknowledged, he moved up to 154 pounds to fight Cotto. Now, he's down to his more natural 147.
Speed and defense continue to be some of Mayweather's best assets, which only accentuate his superior in-ring tactical nous. You've seen little over the last few years that would signal a steep decline in any of those attributes. Despite being out of the ring for nearly a year, there's no reason to expect Mayweather to have all of a sudden fallen off a cliff.
Mayweather is no dummy. He'll let the fight drag on, hitting his punches when he needs to while evading Guerrero biggest blows.
The man nicknamed "Money" will continue to be exactly that in the ring on May 4.