When Floyd Mayweather stepped between the ropes Saturday night to face Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, he was facing more questions than at any point in his 17-year professional career.
He hadn't been in the ring for nearly a year, had spent two months in jail for a domestic abuse charge, seemingly was focused more on promotion and training and had recently turned 36 years old.
For most fighters, that's a lot of adversity to overcome when facing a world-class opponent, one with a tricky style and who was willing to do anything it takes in order to win the fight.
But it would seem that reports of Floyd Mayweather's demise heading into his latest fight—yet another dominant performance—were greatly exaggerated.
There was some conjecture after his victory over Miguel Cotto last May that Money had slowed down a bit. He was hit far more often than we'd seen in the past and seemed more willing to engage his opponent.
Was his harder-than-expected fight with Cotto the result of a slippage of skills, a determined and skilled foe or some combination of the two? The questions were definitely there heading into this fight, and that provided a fair bit more drama than your typical "Money" Mayweather production.
Some even speculated that the time was ripe for an upset and pegged the hard-charging and gritty Guerrero as the man to do the job. How wrong they were.
The trademark speed and reflexes were there in the same excess that we have become used to seeing during Mayweather's rise to the stratosphere of the boxing world. He landed straight-right-hand leads at will and seemed unable to miss his hard-charging but overmatched opponent.
By the end of the fight, he had landed an absolutely ludicrous 153 of 254 power punches according to CompuBox statistics, good for an unheard-of 60 percent. Most guys don't land that high a percentage against their sparring partners in camp, much less against world-class opposition on fight night.
And Mayweather was less mobile than we're used to seeing him. Again, he was more willing to engage his opponent, but this time it was clear he was doing so by choice and not because of anything his opponent brought to the table.
When the two fighters traded shots, it was Mayweather's right hand that did all the scoring, and he ate far fewer punches than he did against Cotto last May.
He was as elusive and hard to hit as we've ever seen him. On the rare occasions that Guerrero was able to force Mayweather along the ropes, he wasn't able to land a single shot of any consequence. It wasn't for lack of trying but because his opponent was simply fast enough to get out of the way and smart enough to clinch when needed.
Like he has done in most of his fights throughout his career, Mayweather was able to seize the mental edge early in the fight and drain his opponent's will. As the fight went on, Guerrero never stopped trying, but even when he was able to get Floyd along the ropes, he was slightly more reluctant to let his hands go.
A steady diet of counter right hands will do that to a fighter, and after eating them for 30 straight minutes, you can understand why a guy would become suddenly unwilling to let his hands go. And that's the ultimate definition of the mental edge Floyd Mayweather has made a career of finding and exploiting.
Robert Guerrero was game but overmatched. He became the latest in a long and growing string of fighters who claimed they were the one, only to get in the ring and find out they were facing a fighter in another class.
Guerrero wasn't the first and it doesn't appear he'll be the last. Because that's just what Floyd Mayweather does every time he steps into a boxing ring.
It just looks so easy, and by the end of the night, you'd never even know he'd been in a fight.
Making good and great fighters look ordinary is just another day at the office for "Money," and even at 36 years old and with so much adversity at his back, it doesn't appear he's even close to slowing down.
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