Tonight: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Robert Guerrero


Oscar De La Hoya v Floyd Mayweather Jr.

It’s been six years since Floyd Mayweather Jr. faced Oscar De La Hoya on Cinco De Mayo 2007. At the time, HBO introduced a brand new concept called “24/7”. That television series and the win over De La Hoya launched Mayweather into a superstar.

He would follow up that career breakthrough by stepping into the ring against British superstar Ricky Hatton on December 8th, 2007. What turned out to be a rough, rule-bending fight was highlighted by Mayweather’s constant use of left hooks and lead rights. When Hatton pushed him against the ropes, it was rare that Hatton actually landed any of the blows he desperately threw at Mayweather. A slip of the head here, and shoulder in the way there, Hatton’s puños just couldn’t touch Mayweather’s head. Mayweather was using Hatton’s own aggressiveness against him and in the 10th round, Mayweather landed a vicious left hook that sent Hatton head first into the turnbuckle. Moments later, referee Joe Cortez had seen enough;  he signaled for the end of the fight.

He retired shortly after that bout. During that boxing absence,  he was cool enough to take time out of his schedule to have an entertaining match with the Big Show at WrestleMania XXIV. He came back to boxing on September 19th to fight and defeat the future Hall-of-Famer Juan Manuel Marquez. Since then he’s gone on to dispose the likes of Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto. After a stint in prison in the Summer of 2012, Mayweather shocked el mundo by joining Showtime. His first opponent on the Showtime deal? El Fantasma.

After a hiatus (due to his wife’s cancer and his own injuries), Robert Guerrero returned in a July 28th fight against Selcuk Aydin. The rough, grueling and borderline-dirty fight was almost an appetizer for what was to come later in 2012. On November 24th, Guerrero and Andre Berto had one of the best fights of 2012; a legitimate “Fight of the Year Contender”. A phone booth scrap, full of dirty boxing and pure nastiness from both sides. Guerrero had one eye closed; Berto had both eyes closed. At the end of la guerra, Guerrero had his hand raised. He had finally done enough to get the fight he had so longed for.

Tonight, what you can at least expect is that Guerrero will be aggressive. That he’ll go in – his own health be damned – and try to rough up Mayweather. When Ricky Hatton tried that strategy, Mayweather adjusted and finished him. I think Guerrero in 2013 is mentally and physically stronger than Hatton was in 2007. I think Guerrero will have success, I just don’t know how sustained and consistent the southpaw will be against boxing’s kingpin.

Another angle to think about this fight is the issues outside the ring. Mayweather hasn’t fought in over 364 days, a time period in which he spent 87 days in jail. Guerrero has his own issues with the law – having to appear in court on May 14th for illegal gun possession in an airport. Will either of these angles play a role in tonight’s tilt?

This is Mayweather’s sixth fight since becoming a boxing superstar. He’s the top draw and highest paid combat sports athlete in the world. Whether deserved or not, he’ll always have his critics and he’ll always be disliked by a strong portion of fans. But by this point, he’s clearly the best boxer of this generation. The name “Robert Guerrero” will look good on his resume – if he defeats him. If he doesn’t, falls of iconic figures end up becoming nights one will never forget. Will find out soon enough if Guerrero is capable enough to bring a giant down.

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