Floyd Mayweather will put his 43-0 mark on the line on May 4 in Las Vegas, when he'll enter the ring against Robert Guerrero in defense of the World Boxing Council Welterweight title.
While no one will ever have a significant advantage over Mayweather while his undefeated mark is still alive, the combination of his aging body and a long layoff before this fight all lead to one conclusion.
This is a trap fight for the Money Team.
Guerrero might not be the most-storied fighter who Mayweather has faced during his 43-fight win streak, but he's a quality opponent who should give Mayweather a true test of where he's at after last entering the ring to face an opponent a full year prior to the May 4 showdown.
At 31-1-1 (two no-contests), Guerrero is a fighter who is on the rise in the boxing ranks. He's riding a 17-fight streak without a loss and has won various different belts along the way.
The biggest problem for Guerrero coming into the fight is the lack of a marquee opponent, making it tough to give him any sort of advantage over boxing's current king as he prepares to shake off the rust and make good on his new six-fight deal with Showtime Sports (h/t Forbes.com).
For Mayweather, this fight is more about avoiding a huge letdown than anything else.
He was released early from prison in August after serving an 87-day sentence for domestic violence (h/t ESPN) and got back into training mode soon after while waiting on a new opponent to defend his unbeaten streak against.
That man will be Guerrero, who has already called out Mayweather on being an older opponent not suited for the grind-it-out style he will use to try to make this into a fight by the middle rounds.
As reported by Gareth Davies of The Telegraph, Mayweather quickly disputed Guerrero's chants of mortality with a few quips of his own on an international telephone call. Claiming that his maturity level has never been higher, he notes that you can't reach the top without aging a bit in the process:
You don't just get to the pinnacle without facing and fighting the best competition...I just feel like I was before my time. I beat everybody in the 90s, and everyone in the 2000s. Now here we go 17 years later. My main focus is to win, and I'm always going to be able to control the tempo.
While Mayweather sounds more motivated and passionate about his future than he ever has during his nearly 1-year professional boxing career, he's also suffering through a year-long layoff—at age 36, no less—for the first time since the gap between the Ricky Hatton and Juan Manuel Marquez wins.
He admits to have lost a step or two in the past few years, but is now cognizant of how important each fight is to his long-term legacy as boxing's greatest undefeated star.
Many have come through the gauntlet, very few have emerged with the all-important zero next to the right side of their career record.
As noted by David Mayo of MLive.com, he's hitting the point in his career in which wins of this nature are harder and harder to come by.
Boxers don't always know when to quit. Some do, but others fall victim to the pride of being one of the greatest of all-time, and end up struggling down the stretch of their careers in what could have been a much kinder send-off.
Among those that Mayo mentions in his piece of falling at this point are Muhammad Ali, Joe Lewis and Larry Holmes, all who lost their title and a little bit of luster when an unknown opponent came charging in an unseated them off their perch.
Will Mayweather be the next fighter in a long line of greats who hits the wall as he comes down the second half of his so-far stellar career?
The description of the opponent would say no, but history would say yes.
Mayweather is clearly one of the greatest boxing talents of our time, and continues to put his title on the line when it counts. Regardless of your view on the Manny Pacquiao situation, Money is a boxer who will live long past his record or this fight in particular.
However, this could be a career-changing moment for both fighters. Unlike facing an established fighter with something to gain in terms of a "signature" win, Guerrero is a guy looking to burst on to the scene for good with a takedown of the only man right now who seems to be immortal.
If it smells like a trap and walks like a trap, it's probably a trap. Odds are on Mayweather to win his 44th-straight bout on May 4, but don't discount the fact that Guerrero has little to lose and a lot to gain by coming in blazing when this fight commences.
Follow Ethan Grant on Twitter @DowntownEG