Robert Guerrero’s Rubiks Cube
In just 2 short weeks, WBC welterweight Champion and Ring No 3 welterweight, Robert Guerrero will enter the MGM Grand to face what is no doubt the biggest challenge of his career. He fights arguably the greatest fighter of our generation (some say in history), in Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather.
Mayweather has a professional record of 43 wins 0 defeats with 26 KO’s in a career spanning almost 2 decades and has continually faced, defeated, and in some cases humiliated top class fighters. He has arguably never even been seriously hurt, let alone touched the canvas.
Guerrero, a top class fighter in his own right comes into the contest several years his opponents junior, with a 31 win of 32 fight record and has just fought one of the best fighter’s in his career, claiming an incredible victory over Andre Berto, in what many called the best fight of 2012.
Despite this momentum there are very few pundits or former pro’s giving the Gilroy native much of a chance of victory in Las Vegas.
Bob Arum compared Floyd to Ray Robinson. Larry Merchant claimed that Floyd reminded him of Willie Pep hailing his ‘great legs and speed’. The New York Times claimed he had ‘blazing speed and power’.
All of the aforementioned quotations are from more than a decade ago. So how does this man who many believe to be unbeatable stay at the top of arguably boxing’s toughest weight classes taking into account the deterioration of things in ones skill set for example stamina, hand, and foot speed that age brings?
Floyd is one of only 2 fighters currently operating in the top end of the sport (the other being Bernard Hopkins) who has managed to manipulate his style to accommodate for age process. Does he have the blazing hand speed now? No. He’s replaced that with timing and precision counterpunching that is second to none in the sport. Does he have Willie Peps legs? No. He’s replaced that with ring generalship and experience to know when to move just that little bit to create an angle or get out of range. These assets combined with the almost perfect shoulder roll defense and boxing brain to know just what to do at any given moment have kept Floyd at the top table for the last few years.
So for Robert Guerrero, is it even worth turning up? The answer to this question is a resounding yes! There have been 43 previous fighters who have stepped into the ring with Floyd and within 3 minutes have went from having huge aspirations to ‘just happy to be at the dance’.
However 3 minutes and packing up and leaving due to the fact that you’ve thrown a ton of leather, scored no points and hit plenty of shoulders and arms doesn’t seem to be Guerrero’s style.
There’s more than enough evidence to fuel the man from Gilroy’s belief that the 2013 ‘Money’ man can be hustled out of the defensive master class that he puts on show when he decides to make a PPV appearance.
Floyd, come May 4 will have been inactive for almost a year. In his last fight against Miguel Cotto, he took more punches than ever before to suggest that the ‘oh so perfect’ skill set that he’s used for the latter part of his career may just have slipped slightly. Ever so slightly, to let the Hagleresque Guerrero hustle him and make him uncomfortable enough to land what so many have tried and failed to do ‘the follow on’ shot; the punch that can faze a fighter for just enough time for the senses to be scrambled and the defensive shell to break away. Fighters draw from their own experience and Floyd has a ton of it. What he hasn’t experienced in years is how to recover from the ‘follow on’ or how to deal with a fighter who can fight at a ferocious pace for the duration of a fight, pin him against the ropes, and be willing to take 2 to land one of his own.
Deploying this strategy is Robert Guerrero’s best chance of winning this fight. Veteran referee Robert Byrd will be in charge of the fight. If he isn’t too fussy and lets the action flow, ‘The Ghost’ will get his chance to attempt to do to Floyd what he did to Andre Berto. Floyd enters this contest having had things basically his own way apart from Shane Mosley, who only managed to slightly wobble him with a few right hands a few years ago. He’s showed fantastic rope and bag work on ShowTime’s all access TV program, and also broke off from training to play basketball. He trains, speaks, and gives off the general demeanor of a man who believes he cannot be beaten or even challenged. This is a polarizing contest, not only of styles but also attitudes both in and out of the ring.
Guerrero appears stone serious in training while Floyd is relaxed. The styles couldn’t be further apart with Floyd deploying ‘hit and don’t get hit’ tactics while Robert is willing to go through and take whatever is necessary to get to his man, armed with a great engine, granite chin and a relentless pressure game plan. Can The Ghost make history? Or will the Rubik Cube that is Floyd Mayweather further his claim to be the greatest fighter of our generation and make Robert Guerrero just ‘happy to be at the dance’.