Mayweather vs. Guerrero: Crafting Perfect Strategy for Each Fighter

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2013

Photo courtesy of Showtime
Photo courtesy of Showtime

Every fight involving Floyd Mayweather is a spectacle in the boxing world, and things will be no different on May 4 when "Money" defends his WBC Welterweight Championship against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero.

With a record of 43-0, there is a lot hanging in the balance for Mayweather. The same can be said for Guerrero, though, as a victory over perhaps the best boxer of this generation could put him in line for some huge paydays moving forward. Both fighters are putting plenty on the line, so there is no doubt that they'll give it their all on Saturday night.

When adding Guerrero's 31-1-1 mark to Mayweather's undefeated record, the two fighters are a combined 74-1-1. For all those wins, however, Mayweather and Guerrero have reached the pinnacle of the business in very different ways. With that in mind, they will need to take different paths to victory.

Mayweather is favored, but Guerrero has the potential to pull off an upset if he can execute a very precise game plan. Here are the ideal strategies for each man to come away victorious on May 4. 


How Mayweather Wins

Mayweather has beaten some of the best fighters in the sport over the years, and he has always done so with a very similar game plan. While Mayweather's punching power is underrated in relation to the rest of his skill set, there is no doubt that quickness and defense are his greatest strengths. A fighter must always play to his strengths rather than worrying about what his opponent is going to do, and that should be the case with Mayweather when he faces Guerrero.

Guerrero is quick in his own right and is very difficult to read thanks to his southpaw stance, but Mayweather is simply better in most aspects. Guerrero seems to be a very confident fighter heading into Saturday's fight, so it would behoove Mayweather to frustrate him early in an effort to throw him off his game and to force him to abandon his blueprint.

That isn't anything new for Mayweather, as he can really get under his opponents' skin. Mayweather is nearly impossible to square up and hit at times, which might damage Guerrero's confidence. The key for Mayweather is to be evasive and rock Guerrero with counter-punches. He has done that to so many guys in the past that it should be second nature to him at this point.

Mayweather shouldn't pass up a knockout if it is readily available, but his best bet is to take this fight the distance. For as well-conditioned as Guerrero is, Mayweather is in a different stratosphere. Nobody can match his stamina, even at the age of 36. If this one goes 12 rounds, then it is very hard to imagine Mayweather losing. 


How Guerrero Wins

With Mayweather's strategy clearly laid out, Guerrero would be wise to go in a different direction. Pride plays a big role in boxing, and Guerrero probably believes in his mind that he can outlast Mayweather. But he needs to get that thought out of his head.

Mayweather is clearly the better fighter when the latter rounds approach, so Guerrero needs to ensure that those latter rounds don't exist or that he at least gets a huge lead on the scorecards.

That means Guerrero must be the aggressor early in the fight. He is generally aggressive anyway, so it shouldn't be a big adjustment for him.

If Guerrero waits around and allows Mayweather to dictate the pace of the fight, then Mayweather will pick him apart. There is still a chance that Mayweather will do that even if Guerrero comes out firing, but at least he would give himself a better chance of impressing the judges and wearing Mayweather down.

It's nearly impossible to knock Mayweather down and even more difficult to knock him out, so it can be argued that Guerrero is barking up the wrong tree. Guerrero can't afford to be apprehensive, though. If Mayweather gets an early lead on the scorecards, he won't relinquish it. Getting up on Mayweather early might force him to alter his game plan, though, and that would play into Guerrero's hands.

Mayweather will do everything in his power to bog this fight down and turn it into a defensive battle. Guerrero can't allow that to happen, because nobody can match Mayweather's defensive prowess. Guerrero is definitely in a difficult position regardless of what he does, but emptying the chamber in the early rounds at least gives him some hope of keeping it close. 


Final Verdict

In sports, the popular motto seems to be that a good defense beats a good offense. That applies in boxing as well. Guerrero is definitely a good offensive fighter, but Mayweather is one of the greatest defensive fighters of all time, so he should be able to stifle "The Ghost's" advances.

Ultimately, there may not be one strategy that is capable of taking down Mayweather.

Among the 43 fighters who have tried and failed to beat him in the past, there have been many different approaches. Mayweather has figured out a way to stymie all of them, and there is no sign of his fight with Guerrero going any differently. Guerrero's only hope is that Mayweather's age is beginning to catch up with him.

It's impossible to compare two fighters in terms of stamina and quickness since everyone's bodies evolve differently, but Bernard Hopkins recently beat Tavoris Cloud for the IBF light heavyweight championship at the age of 48. Hopkins is obviously a physical freak and Mayweather appears to be very similar in that regard, so he likely still has some elite years left in him.

Until Mayweather slows down noticeably, there is no point in picking against him. He has beaten the odds on several occasions, and all signs point to him doing so again against Guerrero on May 4.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter