Posted: Fri May 3, 2013 1:12PM; Updated: Fri May 3, 2013 3:10PM
Bryan Armen Graham
Bryan Armen Graham>INSIDE BOXING

Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero: A crash course

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Crash Course: Mayweather-Guerrero
Everything you need to know about this weekend's big fight.
 
Overview
 
Robert Guerrero (right) fights for Floyd Mayweather's welterweight belt Saturday. (Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)

Floyd Mayweather is defending his WBC welterweight championship against Robert Guerrero on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (9 p.m. ET, Showtime PPV, $59.95).

The 36-year-old Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs), who ranks No. 1 in SI.com's pound-for-pound ratings, is back in action for the first time since outpointing Miguel Cotto on May 5, 2012. Afterward, he served two months in jail for a domestic violence case involving his ex-girlfriend. Following his release, he signed a six-fight, 30-month contract with Showtime and CBS. The surprise move ended his lengthy relationship with HBO, which had broadcast his previous 23 fights.

Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) is lesser-known outside boxing circles, but he is a former featherweight, junior lightweight and interim lightweight champion who has chased a fight with Mayweather for more than a year. At 30, he's in his physical prime and is considered a live underdog against Mayweather, who is at the age when fighters begin to face a decline.

In addition to Showtime's pay-per-view telecast, the fight is being shown in HD at nearly 400 movie theaters across the United States.

 
Background


Mayweather, who has captured world titles at 130, 135, 140, 147 and 154 pounds, was already the highest-earning athlete in sports even before signing a new Showtime deal that could be worth as much as $250 million. One of the finest fighters the sport has ever seen, he's a masterful defensive tactician who's seldom been in serious trouble in any fight. Yes, he was forced to weather some hairy moments in his most recent outing against Cotto, yet he finished strong to win a comfortable, uncontroversial decision.

But at 36, he is at a point where other great champions have experienced sudden, unforeseen declines. Consider that Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes were almost the exact same age as Mayweather when they suffered historic upset losses (to Ezzard Charles, Leon Spinks and Michael Spinks, respectively) that spurred their downfalls.

Guerrero, a devout Christian who is undefeated over the past eight years, has overcome many hardships on the road to Saturday's breakthrough opportunity, A few months after winning the junior lightweight title in 2010, he surrendered the belt to care for his wife, Casey, who was diagnosed with leukemia that would demand a bone marrow transplant. Then in 2011, the devout Christian suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery.

When he returned after a 15-month layoff, he leapfrogged the 140-pound division altogether and made his welterweight debut against undefeated contender Selcuk Aydin, whom he outpointed impressively to prove his 147-pound bona fides. He then floored Andre Berto twice in November en route to a unanimous-decision victory, a result that earned him a shot at Mayweather.

Last Five Fights
Mayweather Guerrero
5/5/12 Miguel Cotto W UD 12 11/24/12 Andre Berto W UD 12
9/17/11 Victor Ortiz W KO 4 7/28/12 Selcuk Aydin W UD 12
5/1/10 Shane Mosley W UD 12 4/9/11 Michael Katsidis W UD 12
9/19/10 Juan M. Marquez W UD 12 11/6/10 Vicente Escobedo W UD 10
12/8/07 Ricky Hatton W TKO 10 7/1/10 Joel Casamayor W UD 10
Career Record Career Record
 
Tale of the Tape
Mayweather
vs.
Guerrero
Feb. 24, 1977
Birth Date
Aug. 29, 1983
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Birthplace
Cathedral City, Calif.
Las Vegas, Nev.
Residence
Palm Springs, Calif.
43-0 (26 KO)
Record
28-0-0 (12 KO)
Orthodox
Stance
Orthodox
147*
Weight
147*
5'8"
Height
5'8"
72"
Reach
70"
Official weights announced at Friday's final weigh-in (6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, Showtime/CBS Sports Network)
 
Greatest Hits
Mayweather has seldom been in trouble in any fight, dominating all comers throughout a decorated 16-year professional career. Guerrero's most notable victory to date came in November's welterweight showdown with Andre Berto, where he scored two knockdowns.
 
Matchup


It's difficult to pick against Mayweather in any fight that can be made today, not just because he's undefeated, but because he's rarely been in serious trouble. When Floyd tucks his chin behind his shoulder, he becomes difficult if not impossible to hit twice. His legs aren't what they used to be, yet now he's standing in the pocket, going toe-to-toe and even walking down fighters. He still counterpunches with unbelievable speed and precision, using the jab to establish tempo and distance (which will be important against the aggressive Guerrero).

One potential advantage for Guerrero is that he's a southpaw. Left-handed fighters like Zab Judah and DeMarcus Corley were able to enjoy uncommon success against Mayweather before fading in the later rounds. The 30-year-old can bring power and activity to the fight -- he's at his best when fighting inside -- but will need to be careful: Floyd has been at his best when he's used his opponent's aggression to his advantage.

Mayweather has advantages in speed, skill, experience and ring intelligence. Guerrero is relatively new to the welterweight division, but he's taller and employs aggressive roughhouse tactics -- holding and hitting, kidney shots -- that could trouble Mayweather (if the challenger can catch him). How well Guerrero can fight on the inside, which is normally an area of strength, will go a long way toward determining the winner.

Neither fighter has been knocked down or out in a professional fight.


 
The Odds


The MGM Grand sports book lists Guerrero as a 5-to-1 underdog, while Mayweather is a 15-to-2 favorite.


 
Prediction


This will be a more competitive fight than many are expecting, mainly because Guerrero is a tough, underrated southpaw with the energy, footwork, durability and work rate to give the champion trouble, but also due to the documented history of fighters not being the same after jail (say nothing of a 364-day layoff at Floyd's age). That said, Mayweather is the most mentally agile fighter of his generation and he always finds a way to win. Expect a close, competitive fight through 10 rounds with Mayweather leveraging his speed, intelligence and defensive skills to nick it at the finish. Mayweather by majority decision.


 
Must-See Photo
 
While Robert Guerrero (right) laughs, Oscar De La Hoya attempts to silence Guerrero's father, Ruben, who called Mayweather a 'woman beater' eight times during a press conference rant. (Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
 

The Tweet Beat
 
 

Join the conversation about Mayweather-Guerrero on Twitter. Track the hashtag #MayweatherGuerrero to see who's tweeting what about Saturday's fight.

· @FloydMayweather (Floyd Mayweather)

· @GHOSTBOXING (Robert Guerrero)

· @GoldenBoyBoxing (Golden Boy Promotions)

· @OscarDeLaHoya (Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions)

· @SHOsports (Showtime Sports)

· @ChrisMannixSI (SI.com's Chris Mannix)

· @BryanAGraham (SI.com's Bryan Armen Graham)

· @timdalhberg (Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press boxing columnist)

· @orangerose (Gary Andrew Poole, Time contributing writer)

· @GarethBOXUFC (Gareth A. Davies, Daily Telegraph boxing columnist)

· @NYPost_Willis (George Willis, New York Post boxing columnist)

· @latimespugmire (Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times boxing columnist)

· @kieranmulvaney (Kieran Mulvaney, Reuters and ESPN boxing columnist)

· @danrafaelespn (Dan Rafael, ESPN boxing writer)

· @mgmgrand (MGM Grand Hotel)

 
 
On The Undercard
 
 

· Daniel Ponce De Leon vs. Abner Mares, 12 rounds, for Ponce De Leon's WBC featherweight title

· Leo Santa Cruz vs. Alexander Munoz, 10 rounds, junior featherweights

· J'Leon Love vs. Gabriel Rosado, 10 rounds, middleweights

· Non-PPV bouts (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. ET, Showtime): Badou Jack vs. Michael Gbenga, 8 rounds, light heavyweights; Luis Arias vs. Donyil Livingston, 6 rounds, super middleweights

· Non-TV bouts: Ronald Gavril vs. Roberto Yong, 4 rounds, super middleweights; Lanell Bellows vs. Matthew Garretson, 4 rounds, super middleweights

 
 
Programming Notes
 
 

· Brian Kenny will host the Showtime PPV telecast, with Mauro Ranallo calling the action, Al Bernstein and Paulie Malignaggi serving as expert analysts and Jim Gray reporting. For the earlier prelim fights (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, Showtime), Barry Tompkins will call the action with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst.

· The referee assigned to the main event is Robert Byrd, a relative newcomer to fights of this level until last year's Timothy Bradley-Manny Pacquiao fight. The ringside judges are Jerry Roth, Duane Ford, and Julie Lederman.

 
 
More Coverage on SI.com
 
 

MANNIX: Leaving the past behind, Mayweather focused on staying undefeated

MANNIX: Mayweather is the prize for Guerrero's slow rise

Athletes and celebrities are overwhelmingly picking Mayweather

Guerrero's father delivers tirade against Floyd 'woman beater' Mayweather

PHOTOS: Floyd Mayweather's Greatest Hits

VIDEO: Why Guerrero is no match for Mayweather

 
 
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