There are many reasons why Floyd "Money" Mayweather is 43-0 and considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. Perhaps the biggest is his ability to dictate the pace of his fights and attack on his own terms. Mayweather should have no problem doing that against Robert Guerrero.
Mayweather will defend his WBC Welterweight Championship against "The Ghost" on Saturday in one of the most highly-anticipated fights in quite some time. Mayweather hasn't fought since defeating Miguel Cotto one year ago, but he is used to extended breaks and shouldn't have much of an issue getting back into the swing of things.
Perhaps the most interesting round of the entire fight will be the first one. Both men will try to impose their will to some degree, but only one of them can truly get off to an ideal start. Winning the first round isn't a necessity, but it can definitely breed confidence and have an effect on the remainder of the bout.
It's tough to say for sure how each boxer will approach the early going of the fight, but it's probably safe to assume that Guerrero will be the aggressor and Mayweather will sit back, counteract and play defense. Mayweather has never been known as a guy who goes for an early knockout as evidenced by the fact that most of his knockouts over the past decade have come in the latter stages, so it's unlikely that he'll change his ways against Guerrero.
Guerrero, on the other hand, might be compelled to throw a lot of punches early in order to throw Mayweather off his game. Mayweather's past opponents have attempted to use all-out offense, all-out defense and every strategy in between over the years, though. Therefore, it's hard to imagine that Guerrero will finally hit the right note when nobody has been able to before.
Who will control the pace of this fight?
While Guerrero may attempt to set the pace early, Mayweather has ways of diffusing that. If Guerrero comes out firing, then Mayweather will almost certainly start working the counter-punch to keep Guerrero at bay. Once Mayweather rocks him with a few counter combinations, there is no question that "The Ghost" will back off.
Mayweather fights on his own terms and doesn't allow others to force him into a slugfest. He may very well be the most frustrating opponent in boxing as he is nearly impossible to hit at times due to his quickness and evasiveness. Guerrero will find that out quickly and he'll likely have to change up his strategy fairly early in the bout.
It won't come as much of a surprise if Mayweather controls the pace once the bell rings because he has controlled the pre-fight pace as well. Mayweather is one of the best trash talkers in sports and that has been the case for many years. Mayweather has poked and prodded Guerrero and he has taken to Twitter with some subtle jabs directed at Guerrero.
Ghostbusters— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) May 2, 2013
If Mayweather is going to be a "Ghostbuster" on Saturday night as most expect, he can't afford to change what has worked so well for him over the years. Mayweather must dictate what Guerrero does rather than the other way around. That has never been an issue for Mayweather in the past, so it probably won't be an issue on May 4 either.
It will be interesting to see what types of tactics Guerrero will employ in order to combat Mayweather's defensive excellence. He could keep pounding on the door and go for a knockout, but that's a surefire way for him to punch himself out and leave himself ripe for the picking.
He could also go into a defensive shell, but then he would be gambling on the notion that he can fight Mayweather's style better than Mayweather can. That's a sucker bet if there ever was one, so Guerrero is pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place before the fight even starts.
Mayweather has the edge in pretty much every way imaginable and that will be apparent as soon as Saturday night's fight begins.
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