The idea of getting your money’s worth (no pun intended) has been around ever since major prizefights moved to the pay-per-view format.
And as prices continue to move higher for these bouts—Saturday’s highly anticipated Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero fight costs $69.99 for high-definition—that question will only continue to bear greater significance going forward.
In a sport that has increasingly become a niche interest in the mainstream, chucking around money that could buy a meal at a nice restaurant is reserved for only the most buzz-worthy fights.
It also doesn’t help that the sport of boxing is so unpredictable that it lends itself to this feeling of uneasiness. Almost any card could be a dud or possess the fight of the year.
Take last year’s bout between Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios for instance. Only hyped inside hardcore boxing circles, Alvarado-Rios became a six-round, blow-for-blow slugfest that will go down in boxing history. It won Sports Illustrated’s Fight of the Year award and placed the two well inside the national lexicon.
But it’s impossible to know when those fights are going to happen.
That’s why, perhaps more than anything, fight fans continually buy Floyd Mayweather fights. Fans know what they’re getting—a fight that will last all 12 rounds. And that will again be the case when Money May steps into the ring to fight Guerrero on Saturday.
Oddsmakers have placed the over-under on the fight at 11.5 rounds, according to Bovada. The “over” on that line has been bet up to -230, which means bettors have set heavy money on the fight going to the judges’ scorecards.
History says that’s a smart bet.
Six of Mayweather’s last eight fights have gone the distance, including his thrilling unanimous-decision victory over Miguel Cotto a year ago. Guerrero has also become increasingly prone to 12-round bouts as his career has progressed, having five consecutive decided by judges.
If Guerrero wants any chance of winning this fight, though, he should hope the final bell sounds before Round 12. A southpaw, the only way Guerrero stands a chance in this fight is by using his robust power to damage Mayweather early.
Money has had trouble with southpaws in the past, with fights against Zab Judah and DeMarcus Corley being the most notable examples. But Judah and Corley both made the mistake of allowing Mayweather to build himself back up after early struggles and walk away with unanimous-decision wins.
Guerrero can’t let that happen. He has to strike early and hard, perhaps dazing Mayweather or getting a cut above his eye—which Money usually keeps pristine in his fights. If he’s able to get ahead and make Mayweather desperate early, Guerrero could land that one punch that no other fighter has been able to pull off.
Boxing experts aren’t too keen on Guerrero’s chances, however.
ESPN’s Dan Rafael, one of the most respected experts in the business, said Guerrero had a chance, but said “no dice” and picked Mayweather by decision. Colleague Brian Campbell joined Rafael in predicting Mayweather by decision, as did Sports Illustrated’s Bryan Armen Graham.
Even Lakers forward Metta World Peace knows of Pretty Boy’s propensity for late-fight heroics.
“Mayweather will rally late in the fight to win a decision, eight rounds to four,” Peace said (via ESPN’s Michael Woods).
In other words, if this fight makes it past Round 8, Mayweather should be in control.
It’s an expected fate shared by many other Mayweather opponents. Forty-three opponents have tried and failed against Money, but 17 of them have went all 12 rounds. That’s not an accident.
Mayweather is renowned for getting better as a fight goes along. Arguably the smartest fighter to ever step inside a boxing ring, Mayweather is a tactician at in-fight adjustments. He thrives on studying an opponent over the first few rounds, biding his time by striking quick jabs and crosses to keep his fellow pugilist honest.
It’s noteworthy that while he struggled against southpaws Judah and Corely, Mayweather had defanged them by Round 12. And considering Guerrero is on a lower playing field than either two fighters, it’s hard to see anything being different this time around—assuming Mayweather’s year-long layoff didn’t have any unforeseen effects.
This fight going the distance plays right into Mayweather’s hands. While he’ll certainly take a knockout if he can get one, the beauty of Pretty Boy Floyd’s sweet science only comes out more and more as a fight progresses.
How does Saturday's fight end?
It’s almost like watching a hungry cat chasing after a stray mouse on the street. Mayweather will coolly stalk his opponent, waiting to pounce—but not with a kill-shot. Head-snapping jabs and uppercuts in close become the norm as Mayweather becomes more comfortable inside the ring, with his expert ring staff giving him notes between bells.
More often than not, Mayweather takes to embarrassing his opponents with his smarts. It becomes nearly impossible for an opponent to get a clean hit on Mayweather—and that’s assuming the opponent was ever able to land them in the first place.
The former point will be particularly salient against Guerrero. Though his heavy-handed punching style could do damage against Mayweather, Ghost tends to get sloppy with his technique. His trademark aggression hasn’t done him in against lesser fighters, but it might against Mayweather.
Any mistake Guerrero makes will be taken advantage of by Floyd, and the judges’ scorecards will reflect that. Mayweather wins, but fans leave satisfied with a 12-round bout.