By Ryan Maquiñana
With Floyd Mayweather’s 90-day jail sentence postponed until June 1, he will go ahead with his planned May 5 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
On Monday, sources within Golden Boy advised BoxingScene.com that their officials and Floyd Mayweather’s team will hold a meeting in Los Angeles on Friday to discuss and likely finalize the WBC welterweight champion’s opponent--if not announce it earlier if they can agree to terms with him.
As the megafight with Top Rank-promoted Manny Pacquiao seemingly becomes less of a reality with each passing moment, two names in the Golden Boy stable have emerged as potential suitors—Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Robert Guerrero.
Guerrero’s manager, Bob Santos, spoke to BoxingScene.com about these recent developments.
BoxingScene: It looks like you’re getting closer to securing the May 5 fight with Floyd Mayweather.
Bob Santos: God willing, that’s for sure. It looks like the Pacquiao fight isn’t happening for one reason or another, so there’s only one guy most deserving of that fight, and that’s Robert.
BoxingScene: Why does Robert deserve the fight over Canelo Alvarez?
Bob Santos: There’s no doubt about it. Robert has done everything he can do, in my opinion, inside the ring. He’s won multiple world championships in multiple divisions. He’s undefeated in world title fights. He’s went overseas to beat champions on their home turf. Then couple that with the things he’s dealt with outside the ring and I think it’s going to be a tremendous pay-per-view once he gets on 24/7 or goes on CNN with Piers Morgan.
Look, Floyd’s going to sell what he’s going to sell. He’s going to do X amount of buys regardless of if he fights the ice cream man. That being said, when people see that Robert’s won multiple world championships and undefeated in title fights, and see the story behind him and the person he is in and outside of the ring, I think that’s what’s going to appeal to the guy in the softball league or the soccer mom.
BoxingScene: How about from a stylistic standpoint?
Bob Santos: I think Robert has what it takes to beat Floyd. He’s tall, he’s a southpaw, he comes at you with angles, and he’s a smart fighter. Again, he’s undefeated in world championship fights. He’s never ducked anyone. He wants to fight the best.
And look, Manny says his next fight for sure is Floyd. So let Manny get ready for a guy like a Timothy Bradley or a Lamont Peterson. And then Floyd, from his point of view, it would make more sense for him to fight another left-hander who’s going to give you a better look than what Canelo Alvarez will do as far as getting you ready for Manny Pacquiao.
BoxingScene: Of course, if this fight gets made, the question you’re going to hear ad nauseam is whether Robert’s shoulder has healed in time for the fight after he pulled out of a fight with Marcos Maidana last August. How do you plan to address that?
Bob Santos: The main thing about that is that it was arthroscopic surgery. It wasn’t reconstructive surgery. There’s no major scars there. They used a scope. To me, [Vitali] Klitschko’s reconstructive surgery was 10 times worse than what Robert’s was. And you know what’s interesting to me is that had Robert went through the fight and hurt his shoulder, and then took time off, no one would say anything about it, at least at the level they’re saying it now.
I remember when Glen Johnson completely destroyed his elbow in Las Vegas. I was there. Robert got cut and fought on the same card. That injury was way more serious than Robert’s. But because it happened in a fight, nobody talked about it when he came back.
But because we pulled out of a fight, it gives that aura of like, ‘Oh, is he ready?’ Klitschko had reconstructive surgery and it was 10 times worse. If that’s going to be the criteria for people fighting big fights, then the NFL would never happen because 65 percent play hurt, play injured, play with torn-up knees. You’d have no playoff games.
BoxingScene: Robert’s recovery was going ahead of schedule last time I checked in with you guys a month ago, and now he’s hitting the bags at full force.
Bob Santos: Robert will be ready. For all those haters, if this gets signed, we’ll immediately spar with some middleweights so they can see his shoulder’s OK, and for those big-mouths, maybe they can give Robert some rounds and see how good his shoulder is when he cracks them in the chin. (Laughs)
BoxingScene: What was your latest contact with Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer regarding negotiations with Mayweather?
Bob Santos: I talked to Richard yesterday, and obviously, they’re still talking about what’s going to be the best move for them, whether it’s Robert or Canelo. Personally, they’re going to have a lot more obstacles to overcome making a deal happen with Canelo. He’s too green right now. He’s been fighting Matthew Hatton and guys that look like my grandpa.
Another thing is the catchweight, which they would have to do with Canelo. No catchweight if Floyd fights Robert. Back in the day, if you want to beat the best, you beat them at their own game. Then you might even have a rehydration weight, that can affect a fighter much like it did [Antonio] Margarito in his fight with Pacquiao. There are too many obstacles to make that fight.
BoxingScene: Canelo has already fought on a pay-per-view card as a co-feature. Are there any other elements at play that you think make Robert the right choice when Team Mayweather confers with Golden Boy this week?
Bob Santos: Obviously Floyd is going to do what he’s going to do, numbers-wise. For them to pick Canelo, they have to believe Canelo can sell that much more pay-per-views than Guerrero can. But will he? When Robert goes on 24/7 and CNN and the public sees his story, they’ll see his appeal. What’s Canelo’s compelling story? Robert has won five championships in three weight classes. Canelo can’t say that. Robert can speak English and Spanish. Canelo can’t say that.
And hey, this guy gave up his championship to be by his wife’s side who was dying. That’s what’s going to get someone in the general public like a soccer mom to say, ‘Hey, I don’t know much about boxing, but I’m going to root for that kid. I want to see that.’ It’s like what a lot of Christians are doing rooting for Tim Tebow. Is that going to happen for Canelo?
If Floyd and his people are smart, they’re going to say hey, ‘Why should we fight Canelo when we can fight Guerrero?’ They can pay Guerrero less, because that’s what they’re trying to do. And look, we turned down fighting Erik Morales to fight Marcos Maidana, a tougher fight, which obviously shows Robert isn’t just about fighting for the money. It’s about fighting the best.
And there’s also Guerrero’s story when it gets to the general public. And he’s a lefty, so even better to prepare him for Manny Pacquiao if that’s what he needs since he’s already fought [Victor] Ortiz.
BoxingScene: How optimistic are you that Robert will get the fight?
Bob Santos: I really believe this. God is a master planner, and if it’s God’s will, you can’t stop God’s will.
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at www.maqdown.com, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.