The world is buzzing as Floyd Mayweather Jr. prepares to put his undefeated record on the line against Robert Guerrero on May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mayweather (43-0, 26 KO) is coming off a spectacular victory via unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto, but he hasn't fought since last May.
Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KO) is coming off the most impressive victory of his career, winning via unanimous decision against Andre Berto in November's slugfest.
Here are my predictions for the battle at the MGM Grand.
Robert Guerrero Will Come Out Aggressive
Unless Robert Guerrero has been needlessly secretive, his comments before the bout speak for themselves.
Guerrero said ahead of the bout that Mayweather was going to "feel the punches," per BoxingNews24.com. He also alluded to the fact that Mayweather hasn't fought in a year.
It's a logical strategy for Guerrero. Obviously, if he's going to catch Mayweather rusty, he's going to do it in the earlier rounds before Mayweather gets into a groove. The last thing he wants to do is come out cautious and slow-footed. If he gives Mayweather time to figure out his tendencies, Mayweather could cruise.
Floyd Mayweather Will Revert Back to Defensive Boxing
Miguel Cotto was one of the few opponents in Mayweather's career who prompted the undefeated great to be more aggressive in the ring. Cotto's experience with fighters such as Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey came into play, as he was able to land some shots on Mayweather early in the fight.
But Guerrero isn't as accomplished or experienced as Cotto. He's likely not going to be able to figure out Mayweather's defense early on, if at all. That makes it highly unlikely for Mayweather to creep out of his comfort zone—you know, that comfort zone behind his gloves.
Robert Guerrero Will Tire Late
Guerrero was tremendously active against Andre Berto in November, throwing 731 punches, including 611 power shots, according to CompuBox (via BoxingScene.com).
But while Guerrero landed a respectable 35 percent of his punches against Berto in the slugfest, he can't expect to land at nearly the same rate against a defensive mastermind like Mayweather. To put it into perspective, Cotto—who gave Mayweather the greatest challenge of his career—only ended up connecting on 21 percent of his punches.
That makes it very likely that Guerrero will tire late after beginning the bout aggressively. You can only throw so many punches into Mayweather's brick-wall defense before you begin to slow down.
Floyd Mayweather Will Widen the Gap in Later Rounds
As Guerrero begins to slow down, expect Mayweather to use the opportunity to take more chances, throwing more punches in the later rounds.
Guerrero—as so many of Mayweather's opponents have throughout the years—will likely begin to open up his defense, which will present an opportunity for the tactical mastermind to attack.
Mayweather may be a predominantly defensive-minded fighter, but you can't win fights without throwing. He generally doesn't throw a lot of punches, but he's so precise that he makes the most of his opportunities.
Down the stretch, Mayweather will prove that he simply outclasses the 30-year-old challenger.
Floyd Mayweather Will Win Via Unanimous Decision
It was surprising to see Mayweather win so handily on the scorecards against Cotto, given the battle Cotto appeared to have given Money May.
But a closer look suggested that Mayweather deserved those scores. He landed at a greater percentage than Cotto. The fact that Cotto appeared to land more than 21 percent of his punches to the general audience suggests just how dominant Mayweather has been throughout his career—every punch that an opponent lands appears to shake the world.
Don't expect Guerrero to outpoint Cotto. It's another win in the record books for Mayweather.