On Saturday night, Robert Guerrero will be put to the most difficult test of his career.
And it's a test that no boxer has been able to pass.
When Guerrero steps into the ring in Las Vegas, he'll be facing the most dominant fighter in recent history. Although "The Ghost" has been making a name for himself with a handful of impressive wins, including one over Turkish contender Selçuk Aydın, there's a reason why Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. is 43-0.
Mayweather has not been seriously challenged for the WBC welterweight belt in some time. Although the boxing world has been waiting to see him take on Manny Pacquiao, it will have to settle for a matchup that pits the 35-year-old champion against an up-and-comer who hasn't lost since 2006.
For Guerrero, one of the keys to the bout will be getting past Money's notoriously stingy defense while being mindful of his quickness, because Mayweather has the ability to take advantage of even the smallest mental lapse.
Heading into the fight, Guerrero's camp is confident about the California native's chances at pulling off a major upset, in part because of his durability in recent bouts. Richard Shaefer, head of Golden Boy Promotions, had this to say to The Los Angeles Times:
Robert has a heck of a shot. He's not going to let the opportunity pass him by. You saw the Berto fight, and the clear question is, "If Berto can't hurt Guerrero, how can Mayweather?" Motivated by so many things, Guerrero will press the action and go for it.
Pressing will be a key for Guerrero, because he has to put Money on his heels defensively if he's going to have any reasonable shot at a victory.
But even if Guerrero can hang around until the end of the 12th round, whether he can land quality blows on Mayweather remains to be seen.
Being a southpaw, Guerrero does present an intriguing matchup for Mayweather. His most recent results suggest that if he can get into a rhythm early, he might be able to wear down the heavily favored titleholder.
In Mayweather's last bout before serving two months in prison, he won a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto, although the challenger managed to last the entire fight.
Money has always relied on his elusiveness and defensive skills to avoid taking a physical beating, and according to Jeff Faraudo of The San Jose Mercury News, the fight against Cotto motivated him to be in better form for his fight with Guerrero.
Mayweather worked harder and longer than usual to prepare for Guerrero. He also brought his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., back as his trainer after dissatisfaction with his defensive performance in his most recent bout.
Rust: That fight was one day shy of a year ago Saturday, and produced a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto. But Cotto caused Mayweather some trouble, winning three rounds on the cards of two judges.
Mayweather, who has 26 wins by KO in his career, has landed just one in his last four fights, so if Guerrero is anything like he was against Berto in November, he'll at least be standing at the final bell.
Whether he'll be standing as the new WBC welterweight champion will depend on whether he's successful in penetrating Money's defense.