On May 4, boxing fans will get an opportunity to watch the return of Floyd Mayweather Jr. (43-0, 26 KO) as he defends his WBC welterweight title against Robert Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KO).
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas will be buzzing as it is whenever Mayweather fights there. This is the seventh straight fight at the famed boxing venue for the pound-for-pound champ.
It will be Mayweather's 10th time fighting there total. This will be only Guerrero's second.
The boxing community is curious to see if Mayweather is still capable of performing at the level he has throughout his career.
Beyond growing a year older, the year has had its ups and downs for Money. This fight will tell the world just how much he has left in the tank.
Can Guerrero make history by becoming the first man to hand Mayweather defeat, or will Money continue to roll? Here's how you can watch:
When: Saturday, May 4, 9 p.m. ET
Where: MGM Grand in Las Vegas
TV: PPV (Contact your local cable or satellite provider)
Highlights of the Hype
Guerrero Fires the First Shot
While Mayweather worked the corner for Ishe Smith during the latter's win over Cornelius Bundrage in Feb. 2013, Guerrero tweeted this barb at Money May:
Money Responds Face to Face
In a move that seemed to catch Guerrero a little off guard, Mayweather was extremely aggressive in this face-to-face meeting set up by Showtime to hype the fight.
This aggressive Mayweather was a departure from the more laid back Money we're used to seeing in face-to-face encounters.
It felt like a mind game, but it served to further the pre-fight story.
Showtime All Access: Mayweather vs. Guerrero
Much like the HBO series 24/7, Showtime All Access takes fans into the training camps and homes of the fighters as they prepare for the fight. Everything from the fighters' significant others to Guerrero's arrest on gun charges is covered.
Here is a taste of what to expect just in case you haven't seen any of the four episodes. This is a trailer from part one.
Ruben Guerrero Does His Best Angel Garcia Impersonation
At the press conference, Ruben Guerrero, the father of Robert Guerrero verbally went after Mayweather. He attempted to take Mayweather to task for his legal issues. Per Karl Freitag of Fight News, he said:
I don’t talk s__t man, I back it up. I back it up baby, anytime, anywhere, like I said and we’re going to beat-up that woman beater, the one who beat up his wife, man . . . his wife in front of his kids, you guys like that s__t?
You like this guy? A woman beater?
He must have learned that from his dad. Woman beater baby, we’re going to beat that woman beater. See how he’s going to like it, he’s going to get it from a real man. We’re going to beat that woman beater down! You guys hear me what I said baby!
(Explicit language in this video)
It always amazes me when guys who aren't fighting get so charged up at the opponent. Nevertheless, Mayweather ignored the verbal assault, but Floyd Mayweather Sr. and the elder Guerrero had to be separated at the close of the press conference, per Fight News.
Mayweather Says He's Tired of Guerrero Using Wife's Illness to Gain Fans
Many know Guerrero's wife Casey is a leukemia survivor. There have been stories written about the triumph and the two have been featured before Guerrero's fights.
Mayweather is accusing Guerrero of milking the unfortunate situation to gain sympathy backers. Per Kieran Mulvaney of ESPN, Mayweather said:
Do I feel bad about the situation his wife went through? Absolutely, but trying to gain fans by having the sympathy story every week, I don't think that's a good thing. I'm glad that his wife was able to beat the leukemia. I don't feel anyone should have to go through a situation like that. But we all go through certain things.
But I think just to gain fans, you're using your wife's story, you're using a sympathy story. And I'm glad those two have such a great bond. But I don't like every week they keep selling the same story.
That's a strong accusation from Mayweather, but this buildup has been filled with strong accusations. It's always good when guys leave wives and children out of their trash talk.
Though it isn't playing on the same issue, heavyweight Eddie Chambers is also accusing Guerrero of using his hardships to gain publicity.
The Book on Mayweather
How Much Does Money Still Have Left
I think most would agree—even Guerrero—if Mayweather is as good as he was before the Miguel Cotto fight, he should win easily.
But for the first time in Mayweather's 17-year career, there are questions about his ability to perform. This happens to every fighter competing well into their 30s. But some of Mayweather's issues outside the ring contribute to the doubt.
He served a two-month prison sentence for domestic violence. Mayweather has appeared more introspective since his release; check out this video shortly after his release.
Mayweather talks about Manny Pacquiao's defeat and learning from his mistakes.
Beyond the decline that age can bring, the effect prison can have on a human being can't be understated. There is no telling if Mayweather will still be the same fighter. Though self-inflicted, it could be the event that snatches his edge away.
Mayweather is still a master self-promoter, though. This recent tweet shows he still has the brash cockiness that most fans either love or hate.
The deal Mayweather struck with Showtime/CBS was an awesome financial success. But it also puts his career in an hour glass. He's smart enough to know the end is near. Will his physical tools and focus hold up long enough for him to walk away from the sport unscathed?
He'll see his first test from Guerrero.
In the Ring
In over 30 years of watching and loving the sport of boxing, I've never seen a fighter adjust mid-fight better than Mayweather.
Money has a plethora of in-ring qualities, but that is the one that stands out the most. That ability is the reason he was able to find that the wide right cross would find its mark around Cotto's guard.
It was the reason he was able to solve Zab Judah after the fourth round in 2006, despite the fact that Judah was out-boxing him early.
Obviously, the speed, technique and reflexes are part of the package. But without the in-ring intelligence, Mayweather would not be the pound-for-pound champion.
He will have to call upon that skill again on Saturday night. Guerrero is hungry, skilled and he will pressure Mayweather from the opening bell. Mayweather's ability to handle that pressure will dictate the result of the fight.
The Book on Guerrero
Hero or Just a Hungry Fighter?
The hero-villain angle in this fight doesn't really fit. I know that many are portraying the fight that way, but it is better served as an intriguing fight between two world-class fighters. No one is perfect, so doling out moral badges is especially out of place.
For some, Guerrero has become an instant favorite because he can be the man to shut Money's mouth. The layoff, the jail sentence and the last performance from Mayweather suggests there is an opening.
Guerrero has happily and smartly taken the hero role. He has been chasing greatness for his entire career. Through the personal hardships and the long road to glory in the sport, Guerrero has paid his dues.
Playing the "new sheriff" as he calls it, is part of reaping the benefits of hard work and dedication to quote Mayweather. Take a look at this store displaying Guerrero's Ghost apparel in Las Vegas. He's never had this type of attention before.
Guerrero now has the opportunity of a lifetime. Can he take advantage of it?
In the Ring
Guerrero's style has changed a bit over the last two years. At one point, his biggest assets were his speed and punching accuracy. But lately, he has tailored his style to handle the opponent at hand.
This was never more apparent than when he fought Andre Berto in November.
Guerrero used a tough, bruising style to close the space between he and the quicker Berto. He took a lot of punishment, which showed off his impressive chin, but he also banged the body.
He earn a tough decision in a great fight. His success against Berto is part of what makes many believe he has a chance on Saturday night. Check out the highlights:
While the smothering approach is a good strategy against Mayweather, he must understand, Money isn't Berto.
The Ghost will need to have more facets to his attack to solve the pound-for-pound champion.
I believe this will be a tough fight. How tough? One of the three toughest in Mayweather's career, but ultimately I see him winning a moderately-close unanimous decision.
Mayweather is too smart. He will be ready for Guerrero's strategy. If Guerrero doesn't turn the fight into a brawl, Mayweather will pick him apart from the outside. Ultimately, Money will again be too good for his opponent.
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