Robert Guerrero will attempt to do what no one has ever done against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday night: defeat him.
Guerrero is an aggressive fighter coming off a mauling of Andre Berto who will undoubtedly test Mayweather's defense.
But testing Mayweather's defense is a lot different than getting through it, as all of Mayweather's opponents have discovered after touching gloves with the great.
While Mayweather's speed is an undeniable strength, it is his defense that may deserve the most praise. Mayweather may run his mouth from time to time before a fight, but when he gets in that ring, his defense does the talking.
Mayweather has blown through fighters such as Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and—most recently—Miguel Cotto. Each one of them has discovered that you haven't seen defense until you've seen Money May's defense. Cotto connected on just 21 percent of his punches (105 of 506) last May, according to CompuBox, via BoxingScene.com. That included landing on 23 percent of his power punches (75 of 329).
Mayweather knows all the tricks when it comes to deadening his opponent's attack. Not only does he block with his gloves, he blocks with his shoulders, elbows and forearms. Heck, he even turns one of his defensive tricks into an attacking move, blocking with his forearm then pushing it into his opponent's face. He has an answer for every type of attack at this point in his career.
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Countless boxers have admitted after fighting Mayweather that they were surprised by how dominant his defense and speed were, despite watching a substantial amount of tape on the 36-year-old. You can study Mayweather, but there isn't a discernible chink in his armor. You come to the complete realization once you start fighting the great.
Guerrero may be in the prime of his career, but Berto's defense didn't compare in the slightest to Mayweather's masterful skills. The 30-year-old challenger will understand that very quickly on Saturday night at the MGM Grand.
Why is Mayweather so cocky and confident before every one of his fights? Because he knows his defense will always push him through to the end, even if his offense isn't spectacular (he landed 26 percent of his punches against Cotto). Having that kind of security blanket would make anyone feel invincible.
But, make no mistake about it, Mayweather isn't the kind of boxer to be overly aggressive or take his opponents lightly. Part of his masterful defense is his incredible intelligence inside the ring. He's one of the most intelligent fighters of his generation and that's exemplified by his boxing tactics. Nobody has been able to figure out Mayweather yet. He generally figures his opponents out after a few rounds.
It's easy to look at Mayweather's troubles outside of the ring—as well as his brash trash-talking—and expect him to make some ill-advised decisions inside the ring. But when that bell rings, he looks like the smartest man on the planet.