Mayday, mayday, MAY DAY!
It's not a Showtime pay-per-view (PPV) show that comes around often, but it is definitely one worth watching this upcoming weekend (Sat., May 4, 2013).
WBC Welterweight Champion and No. 1 pound-for-pound boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. -- who was last seen taking out Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto almost exactly one year ago -- will lace up the gloves once again for his annual blockbuster foray into the squared circle. Set to welcome back "Money" -- who spent part of his time on the sidelines behind bars -- is four-division champion Robert Guerrero, who boldly jumped straight from Lightweight to Welterweight to take out Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto in 2012.
Joining Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Robert Guerrero, which will have the WBC Welterweight and "The Ring" vacant 147-pound titles on the line at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the Showtime PPV broadcast are Featherweight champion Daniel Ponce de Leon and former Super Bantamweight kingpin Abner Mares, coming up from 122 pounds in pursuit of bigger fights ... literally and figuratively.
The pair of pugilists will battle it out for Ponce de Leon's WBC Featherweight title, which he won against big-punching Jhonny Gonzalez in late 2012. In addition, unbeaten prospects J'Leon Love and Leo Santa Cruz will round out the broadcast against Gabriel Rosado and Alexander Muñoz, respectively.
So, will Mayweather push his record to an even 44-0 or does Guerrero actually have a shot?
Let's find out:
Since coming up to 147 pounds, Guerrero has demonstrated a style of "dirty" boxing that I particularly enjoy to watch. Indeed, Guerrero does not just box up his opponents with his fists, instead, he mixes in elbows, his head and any other appendage he can without the referee getting too irritated. Holding is avoided only so long as the referee directly intervenes and the beltline is considered a suggestion rather than a well-defined boundary.
Bernard Hopkins, when sufficiently overmatched physically, is a fighter of incomparable skill.
This "dirty" approach can completely shut down skilled boxers because what they're doing isn't pure boxing. For example, the hardest fight the ultra-talented Andre Ward has had to date wasn't against effective technicians like Chad Dawson or Mikkel Kessler, but against Sakio Bika, who when sufficiently annoyed can unleash a "dirty" assault unlike few others.
Despite starting his career at 122 pounds, Guerrero is more than capable of being a bully in a weight class 25 pounds heavier. And with Mayweather's moderately declining mobility, the best chance Guerrero will ever have to topple a superior talent like Mayweather would be right now.
Unfortunately for him, it's just not going to happen.
Several fighters have found relative "success" against Mayweather, but not one of them has ever really come close to victory, and there is a great reason behind this reality.
Mayweather isn't just a technical genius, but he is a masterful "in-fight adjuster," able to tweak his strategy in the midst of battle based on the current pace and action. Jose Luis Castillo got to him with pressure, then lost. Oscar de la Hoya worked him over with the jab early, then lost. Zab Judah beat him to the punch early, then lost.
You get the point.
It would be unsurprising if Guerrero roughed up Mayweather in the early going, bullying him around the ring with questionably-legal shots. That likely won't last long, however, because Mayweather will eventually do what he does better than any other boxer on the planet, making the subtle alterations to his game needed to force Guerrero into a fight with which "Money" is more comfortable. From there, Mayweather's defensive mastery and counter right hands will take over en route to a dominant decision victory.
Mayweather, 36, is unquestionably slowing down -- it's only natural. And if he stays in the game for much longer, someone younger, hungrier and quicker will most likely exploit his only apparent weakness. But, it won't be Guerrero this Saturday night in "Sin City."
Prediction: Mayweather via unanimous decision
Keep in mind that MMAMania will deliver LIVE coverage of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Robert Guerrero this Saturday evening, including blow-by-blow, round-by-round updates of the entire Showtime PPV event.
Hope to see you there, Maniacs, because it's the only combat sports game in town with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on brief hiatus.