Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero (31-1-1) is going to have to put on the performance of a lifetime to beat Floyd Mayweather (43-0) in Saturday night's megafight in Las Vegas.
The Ghost comes into the welterweight title fight as just about any other challenger to Mayweather's crown does—as a heavy underdog. He doesn't have the flash of Mayweather (although he's tried to match his bravado in hyping the matchup). He doesn't have the same mesmerizing skill set and is even giving up some size on the pound-for-pound king.
The reasons that he won't win the fight are numerous.
However, that won't mean much to him when he enters the ring on Saturday night. He and his father have displayed confidence in their ability to shock the world, and there is a blueprint to beating Mayweather that The Ghost could employ.
If Guerrero is going to top Mayweather, getting off to a fast start will be pivotal.
The best chance that Guerrero has to win the fight is exploiting Mayweather's long layoff early on.
Mayweather doesn't maintain a busy schedule anymore. He has only had six fights in the last seven years, and a whole year has elapsed since his decision win over Miguel Cotto.
His light schedule has helped him maintain his high-level skills into his mid-30s, but eventually, it's going to catch up with him. At 36 years old, Mayweather has reached an age that sees most boxers' skills go into a steep decline.
While it's unlikely that his legs completely betray him in this one, it's very likely he gets off to a slow start.
If Mayweather takes some time getting into a rhythm, Guerrero must do damage early on. If Guerrero is disciplined and goes to the body early, he has a chance at wearing down Mayweather for the later rounds.
However, if Mayweather doesn't start slow and is in top form right out of the gate, things could get ugly right away. Guerrero is a good challenger, but Mayweather's elusiveness is enough to frustrate the best of power punchers.
Cotto gave Mayweather problems in his last bout because he was dedicated to bringing the fight to the champion and pounding away at the body. Guerrero must follow in those footsteps and turn this fight ugly from the beginning.
Most experts have pegged Mayweather as the prohibitive favorite. They're right. Every indicator says that Mayweather will be victorious. He's taken on 43 challenges in his career and passed them all.
The real question surrounding this bout is whether or not The Ghost can make it a competitive fight and at least show he's a worthy challenger.
Those questions will be answered in the first few rounds. If Mayweather can win those, it won't even be close. On the other hand, if Guerrero can make things ugly and throw off Mayweather's timing, we'll be in for an interesting fight.