Cinco de Mayo got a whole lot more interesting this year when Floyd Mayweather Jr signed a mega six fight deal with Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions. A preposterous figure of around $220 million was quoted, but regardless, the first installment comes against the interim WBC welter titlist Robert The Ghost Guerrero for the supreme claim to the WBC welterweight title being defended by Mayweather. That’s Saturday, May 4th, but look out and be forewarned all ye Mayweather team and fans. Robert Guerrero says God is on his side and he enjoys packing heat when away from home as happened recently at JFK airport in New York City.
Yes, Virginia, this “event” seems to have taken on a personality of it’s own, perhaps not even being a fight any more. Or it could be one of the greatest fights of this era, or just another Mayweather and Showtime sham. See the Mayweather/Victor Ortiz fight and the Showtime Super Six and Super Banty tourneys for reference.
It’s certainly not the all time P4P matchup of the millennium like Pacquiao vs Mayweather would have been. That horse bolted the gate 3 yrs ago and ain’t been seen in these parts since then. Nor is it the fascination when two big heavyweights meet in that rare ripple of time where the fate of the world almost seems to hinge on the result. This fight takes place in an odd shift where overlapping boxing eras intersect with the supermega money of politics, media business rivalries, and global realignments.
We also have the unseemly specter of the dad trainers polluting the promotion, Ruben Guerrero vs Floyd Mayweather Sr. They vowed to beat the tarballs out of each other in the ring or in the parking lot, so who knows where that goes? Crazy uncle Roger Mayweather started a ring riot years back when he attacked Zab Judah in the middle of a round and wrestled with the referee Richard Steele in a disgracefully officiated match that should have been an automatic disqualification loss for Mayweather according to the standard rule long been in force.
Mayweather thus far in his career has received every benefit of every foul ruling and final decision to accumulate one of the best known safety records of his era. He trains year round but only exposes himself to one fight a year against a carefully selected opponent for the past 7 years, all while a golden era of welters fought each other tooth and nail for supremacy.
Getting back to boxing basics, on paper the Ghost only has a ghost of a chance, but look again. It took a Ghost to track down the ghost of the ever elusive Mayweather and badger him into signing the fight contract, so already Guerrero is up on the cards of opportunity. Speaking of opportunity, the Mayweather main supporting undercard bolted to ol’ San Antone for greener pastures when Saul Alvarez took his WBC/WBA unification fight with Austin Trout there to score one of the higher level checkmate boxing wins of this era. The antisocial media howler monkeys hate him, but Alvarez has officially arrived as the A side to any proposed match for him in boxing, including the aborted fight with Mayweather. The pressure is now on Mayweather to see if he can keep up with the rapidly advancing 22 year old kid in the perfect record department, 42-0-1, 30 KO compared to the Mayweather 43-0, 26 KO record. Moreover, can Mayweather recover the considerable Mexican PPVs lost with the Alvarez defection?
There are many other variables affecting this fight, so it’s hard to touch on all of them in an orderly manner, but let’s start with the Guerrero losses. How a fighter loses and his reaction to it is often informative. His first loss was to Gamaliel Diaz, an unheralded fighter who has since maintained a high Ring rating until a loss dropped him only a few weeks ago. The Ghost lost the split on the official cards, but I scored it for him by a couple points in a sloppy uninteresting fight where he looks to have fought down to the level of his opponent. He knocked him clean out in the rematch with solar plexus shot in the 6th, very impressive in that Diaz had never been put down before much less out.
Then the Orlando Salido fight that Guerrero lost, yet was overturned when Salido tested positive for steroids. I had it a close competitive fight with Salido eeking the win, but what was telling is that Salido had most of the fire and offensive activity. Guerrero looked like he was sleepwalking at times, scarcely even bothered when Salido landed flush and also looked painfully slow. I’m thinking he was probably tight at the weight given his ample frame that has marched rapidly through four more divisions since then. That was also 6-7 years ago, light years in time as applied to a boxer’s short career, but nonetheless a window into the boxing development of Guerrero. Perhaps it is not without coincidence that 6-7 years ago is when Mayweather began to command his biggest purses and most acclaim and that Guerrero is also light years younger at age 30 to Mayweather’s 36 and the hungrier fighter by far.
The conclusion is that Guerrero has never been beaten up and seems to have found his perfect niche at welter where he recently relished the combat against undefeated raging bull Selcuk Aydin and then long time former WBC #1 and mandatory, later the WBC champ, Andre Berto. Guerrero’s new tough inside roughhouse style is always difficult for the pure boxer of Mayweather because the Ghost also possesses decent boxing chops out of the southpaw stance, so the long odds I hear around the 10 to 1 range might shorten up considerably by fight night as big players take a harder look at this fight.
In a fairly officiated contest, I see Mayweather needing to work extra hard for a win like he did against Miguel Cotto in his last dukem up. Guerrero is a considerably fresher boxer on a long time upswing than was Cotto who has been in some all time wars and is winding down his career. Mayweather has certainly not recently looked the P4P juggernaut the boxing industry has made him out to be, another example being the Victor Ortiz “incident,” a prearranged orchestration ala his infamous dustup with Big Show. If the Ortiz knockout is to be in the record, then the Big Show brass knuckles knockout should be also, both preferably in the official WWE record where they could be better savored as a matching pair of great heel performances of modern times.
Anyone seriously contemplating the Guerrero fight should consider the context of the Mayweather career as he winds down. He turned pro making good money on HBO shows where they promoted him as the P4P successor Roy Jones Jr. Regardless of what anyone thinks of the Manny Pacquiao fight that never was, Mayweather ended up squeezed off between the all time boxing legends of Roy Jones in the 1990s, superseded by Manny Pacquiao in the 2000s by consensus accolades, a snub with a building pressure that put an edge on him. He finally boiled over with a blizzard of felony assault and other charges in 2011 leveled against him resulting in a plea bargain stint in The Big House in 2012. That edge has forced his hand into the type of unsavory comments and accusations against his rivals that he knows will anger his critics and bolster his substantial fan base, so in his world perhaps there is a rhyme to his reason.
His recent regius remunerations have been due to a seismic shift in modern American culture in that his serious felony transgressions have greatly appealed to the hip hop culture where prison time lends street credibility. The troubled man-child, Mike Tyson, had been their posterboy in the past, so Floyd became their unholy mantraman as the national plates of identity shifted with unstable modern American culture.
Thing is, when the historians take over and look at careers to talk about all time rankings and legacies, his record becomes The Big Lie after he leaves Top Rank for Golden Boy. There are huge gaps in his record at a time when equally talented fighters are challenging themselves more frequently with more fights against as good or better competition, but such is the nature of the promotional business that could care less about truth or boxing legacy, they just want the bottom line of his considerable PPV sales when he fights.
And that’s another part of The Big Lie, that he’s the PPV king. His promoter, Oscar de la Hoya, is the all time PPV king by record, and if you average out all of Mayweather’s 8 PPV fights, two with Top Rank and six with Golden Boy, they are almost identical in numbers to Manny Pacquiao’s last 8 , but Pacquiao has many more PPVs that easily put him over the top as the first ever featherweight to be put on PPV promotions. Most Mayweather fans could care less about the facts, it’s the perception that in spite of losing out on accolades, they desperately need to affirm he’s the best not unlike Mike Tyson was made out to be even as his career wound down against vastly inferior competition compared to his peak years that were cut short by long stays in the pen. Tyson was also signed to a Showtime blockbuster contract, but Tyson supposedly did not receive the full value of his contract when Showtime elected to pay more pressing bills stay in business rather than go under, thus leading to Tyson’s infamous bankruptcy.
And you know it’s The Big Lie when Forbes, and other mainstream media outlets report that Mayweather is the highest paid athlete in the world, using his 2 year reported income figures to everyone’s one year figures. Yes folks, it’s not just the boxing press with collective cognoscenti up each other’s arrears, the history of the “mainstream” media is rift with tabloid sized lies, mistruths, and deceptions. They’ve been drafted into action not because of any inherent interest in his boxing career, but because there’s an immense amount of money to be made picking his bones apart before he departs boxing.
Even the infamous Mayweather drug testing program has taken a back seat to this nonpromotion that has scarcely seen Mayweather do more than go between his Vegas lairs at his gym and at home. Noteworthy is that near as I can see, NSAC, Golden Boy, Al Haymon, and Mayweather have refused to address the two part article Thomas Hauser put together last year concerning Mayweather’s alleged positive drug tests and cover up by USADA illicit drug testing cartel:
Meanwhile, recent inroads of BALCO associated trainers Victor Conte and Angel Heridia AKA Hernandez into boxing have stirred up a hornet’s nest of disputatious minor infractions resulting in a NSAC one year suspension and millon dollar fine of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr for smoking marijuana, yet only a minor fine and disregarded suspension of Conte trained Mayweather stablemate Andre Berto for trace steroids. Berto merely moved his show to California to fight Guerrero which is where the Mayweather/Guerrero fight was birthed.
Boxing has a way of eating it’s own, taking down better, more honorable fighters throughout history than Floyd Mayweather. I’m sensing a lot of rat traps being set around the perimeters as boxing may well be moving past the old into the new as Macao and Singapore and Dubai move to supplant Las Vegas for big fights. More telling is Floyd sporting the “Oscar” shiner of surrender going up against a new gunslinger single handedly promoting the fight in unlikely religious and political circles of God and Gun constituents. Lord knows what happens outside the ring when they clash with hiphoppers in the MGM after typical grevious ring shenanigans fire up the riff raff.
Put on the blindfold to be spun around to toss your dice and throw your darts to pin the ragged tail on the donkey, there’s your winner, but we’ll just have to see for ourselves.