By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Richard Schaefer told BoxingScene.com on Wednesday that he has begun discussions with representatives for Floyd Mayweather Jr. regarding a possible welterweight title bout against Robert Guerrero.
“I have started conversations with Team Mayweather for a potential fight between Robert and Floyd,” Schaefer said at a press event to promote the Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout fight Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. “I really have nothing more to say at this point, except that we’ve had ongoing discussions.”
The 29-year-old Guerrero became a legitimate player in the Mayweather sweepstakes Saturday night by beating two-time welterweight champion Andre Berto in a highly entertaining, 12-round fight in Ontario, Calif. Guerrero (31-1, 18 KOs, 2 NC), of Gilroy, Calif., dropped Berto twice on his way to a unanimous-decision win in a bout broadcast by HBO.
Schaefer, chief executive officer for the Oscar De La Hoya-owned company that promotes Guerrero, believes Guerrero’s huge win was just what the determined southpaw needed to turn most of his remaining doubters into believers. Schaefer didn’t go as far as to say Guerrero would beat Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs), who’ll turn 36 on Feb. 24, but after witnessing Guerrero’s greatest victory as a pro he now thinks Guerrero can at least test boxing’s mythical pound-for-pound king.
Mayweather wants to move back down to 147 pounds. Since Manny Pacquiao presumably won’t be an option for his next fight, Schaefer can’t think of a better foe for Mayweather than Guerrero.
“I really do believe [Guerrero] is a very serious threat at 147,” Schaefer said. “I think if a fight with Mayweather can happen, it would be a fascinating matchup. Because with Floyd, you have unquestionably the best pound-for-pound fighter, the most talented and gifted athlete [in boxing]. Whoever Floyd fights, he makes it look easy.
“You saw what he did with [Juan Manuel] Marquez. He won every second of every round, and others have struggled four times [against Marquez]. He just makes it look easy. I would be interested to see, ‘Can he win, let alone make it look easy, against Robert Guerrero?’ I have my doubts because Robert really showed us what he’s all about. It would be a great matchup.”
While Mayweather clearly is a much more refined, defensively effective fighter than Berto (28-2, 22 KOs), Guerrero’s grit and ability to succeed on the inside against a supposedly stronger fighter was extremely impressive to Schaefer.
“Even within the fight community, given the fact that he has been a six-time world champion in four weight classes, he was still a bit under the radar,” Schaefer said of Guerrero. “I think the media and experts doubted how good he really is. I think what he did Saturday night confirmed what we thought of him and he had in him all along, which is he can hang with the best. That’s what he did at 147, and not just against somebody, but one of the strongest, most powerful, natural welterweights, with Andre Berto. If Andre Berto couldn’t hurt him, I’m not sure who can at 147.
“So I was very impressed with the fight he fought. I thought it was a perfectly executed fight. It was exactly the right style to beat Berto. I was impressed with how disciplined he was, sticking with the game plan. He didn’t get carried away. How he was able to absorb those punches, I think showed us that he probably has one of the best chins in boxing. You saw how violently his head was snapped back at times, and how he was able to take those punches.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.