By Jake Donovan
The biggest stateside event of the year (to date) is upon us, as unbeaten pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes on Robert Guerrero in a scheduled 12-round welterweight battle at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The bout marks Mayweather’s first appearance on Showtime (whose pay-per-view arm carries tonight’s event), after having spent nearly 15 years on rival network HBO. It is also his first ring appearance in exactly 52 weeks, having played this very venue in his competitive unanimous decision win over Miguel Cotto.
Guerrero was feverishly calling out for a Mayweather fight through the first several months of 2012, but was forced to prove his worth as a welterweight. The former 126 lb. and 130 lb. titlist did just that, delivering strong performances in wins over Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto in the second half of the year, following a 15-month hiatus due to injuries.
At age 36 and coming off of yet another lengthy layoff, Mayweather is believed in some circles to be ripe for the taking. The 8-1 odds carried in this fight contradict claims that Guerrero is that guy to deliver the five-division champ and future Hall of Fame entrant his very first loss; however, fights are not won and lost on paper, but in the ring.
Does Guerrero have what it takes to shock the world? Does Mayweather still have enough in the tank to enjoy his stance as the very best fighter in the world?
Read on to see how the staff at Boxingscene.com believes the action will go down.
B-SCENE PREDICTIONS – FLOYD MAYWEATHER, JR. v. ROBERT GUERRERO
“Mayweather by TKO in the 12th. Guerrero should be Mayweather’s toughest opponent to date.”
- Damien Acevedo (Mayweather)
"It may end up being the toughest fight of Floyd's career, facing a southpaw who likes to rough up his opponents, but it's hard to pick against the greatest fighter of this generation. Guerrero will find a lot of success in the early rounds, but as Mayweather always does, he'll make the necessary adjustments. Mayweather will counter Guerrero and turn his aggression against him. Floyd will begin to land more and more as the fight winds down, leading to a close, unanimous decision.”
- Mike Coppinger (Mayweather)
“Guerrero has proven his worth at welterweight, but still feels like a tough sell in claiming him as a live underdog. I’ve yet to ever pick against Floyd; not quite ready to switch up from that trend. ‘Floyd by UD’ is always the safest pick whenever he fights, which is how I shall go here, in a competitive but clear decision for the sport's pound-for-pound king.”
- Jake Donovan (Mayweather)
“Admittedly, Guerrero is young, tough and powerful, but unless Mayweather gets old overnight, Guerrero is also still vulnerable to precisely the sort of precise punishment ‘Money' has dished out to the myriad of foes who have entered with the same ‘I'll rough him up' promises. A la Arturo Gatti, the ‘Ghost' gets beaten up in a lot of his wins and, like Gatti, he's in over his head with Mayweather, who wins by tenth round technical knockout.”
- Lyle Fitzsimmons (Mayweather)
“Mayweather by… DQ. I think the animosity that has built with the hype of the fight will have an effect on how Guerrero approaches Mayweather. Guerrero is a tough customer, often times being rough in how he handles his opponent. This fight will be no different. I think there will be times when Mayweather will play to the ref and getting him to bite, deducting points to where the fight will be called after repeated fouls.”
- Ernie Gabion (Mayweather)
"Up until this year, I'd have to go with the untouchable Mayweather if I was forced to pick, but given Guerrero's southpaw tools, busy hands, ring IQ and fearlessness, it feels like the perfect storm for an upset. If he can take advantage of the 36-year-old Mayweather's inactivity and aging legs, the ultimate question is whether Floyd will still fight with the fire of a king who doesn't care there's a $30 million check waiting for him, win or lose. Guerrero takes a 12-round decision."
- Ryan Maquinana (Guerrero)
“Even though I believe Mayweather has slowed down just a bit, I don't think it will be enough for Guerrero to land enough clean punches to win the fight. Mayweather wins a decision."
- Robert Morales (Mayweather)
“This will be a tougher fight for Floyd that Cotto was, but his boxing skills will still be too much for Guerrero. Mayweather by UD.”
- Richard Najdowski (Mayweather)
"This is the first time I'm picking against Mayweather, but I believe the stage is set for Guerrero to pull off the ‘Upset of the Year' (and possibly the decade). Unlike some of Mayweather's past opponents, Guerrero has chased this fight for several years. He is fresher, hungrier, throws a lot more punches, has a good chin, is very physical and does have the ability to adjust. He's certainly Mayweather's most difficult opponent in several years. As long as Guerrero controls the pace and prevents Mayweather from making it a technical boxing match, the fight is his to win by close 12-round decision."
- Rick Reeno (Guerrero)
“Favoring Floyd Mayweather to win a decision over Robert Guerrero. I think some people will be surprised if they are expecting Mayweather to box all night long. I think Guerrero will give a great account of himself, but I just feel that Mayweather is more versatile in the ring. Floyd is also very focused for this fight and I expect him to pull out the victory.”
- Chris Robinson (Mayweather)
“Guerrero has improved as much as any fighter in the last decade from where he started. That said, it's hard to imagine a guy who ever dropped decisions to Gamaliel Diaz and Orlando Salido (later erased of course) beating Mayweather. This should have some hot spots in the first six rounds, but Mayweather is still slippery, still accurate, and still quick. Guerrero earned this shot. He'll make Mayweather earn his win this weekend.”
- Cliff Rold (Mayweather)
“Mayweather UD. Even at 36 years old and with year layoffs in between, Mayweather is still too masterful at his craft and will win a very tough fight against Guerrero. Robert will make it a rough fight in close quarters and Mayweather obliges him for the first half of the fight. Once Floyd adjusts, I see his defense and right hand being the difference. In a tougher fight than most expect, Mayweather prevails and remains undefeated.”
- Luis Sandoval (Mayweather)
“Mayweather UD. The Ghost looked decent the last year, edging two very competent sluggers in crowd-pleasing slugfests. Yet against a marvel of the ring in Floyd Jr. Guerrero will have his hands full. He won't be able to corner the liquid Floyd and to hit him cleanly. Slower and smaller of the two, he will lose almost every round despite making some of them interesting. Scores of 118-110 or 119-109 are the most expected to me.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Mayweather)
Totals: Floyd Mayweather 11, Robert Guerrero 2
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox