Well, the year 2012 is coming to an end and true to tradition, Floyd Mayweather 43-0 (26) has only fought once. That was in May against Miguel Cotto.
As 2013 approaches we can rest assured that Floyd will fight at least once during that calendar year. As to who his opponent is, it almost doesn't matter because Mayweather is so terrific at marketing and hyping a pedestrian fight that regardless of the opponent it'll be a moderate to big draw. What we know for sure is Floyd's opponent won't be Manny Pacquiao unless he beats Juan Manuel Marquez this coming Saturday night and looks horrible or on life support in the process.
It's sad in a way that as terrific as Mayweather has been inside the ring that he's gouged the boxing public and the only fight of his they ever clamored for he didn't deliver. And even if he does eventually fight Pacquiaio, which I believe he will, it's going on three years too late and Manny isn't nearly the hurricane he once was.
Back to 2013. It's a guarantee that Floyd will fight at least once in 2013 and regardless of who it's against, we know that he'll win the fight. So if there's no drama as to what the result will be and it'll basically just be a replay of boxing fans watching the same movie they've already seen with the same ending, let's change the opponent and story line. How about if Mayweather affords the luxury of a monumental payday to a fighter who has no doubt earned it and will put the money to good use.
So many fighters from flyweight to heavyweight over the last 20 years have either received title shots or big money fights that they didn't deserve or multiple shots after porous efforts in previous ones. So let's hope that while we're pretty sure of the outcome, the opportunity is afforded to a workman-like fighter who never cut corners and delivered the best fights he possibly he could every time he fought regardless of who the opponent was.
I hope that Mayweather's first (sole?) opponent in 2013 is welterweight Robert Guerrero 31-1-1 (18). Guerrero is an upper-tier world class fighter with a cast iron chin who fights from bell-to-bell every time out. He has never ducked any fighters who were a perceived threat to him and in his last fight against Andre Berto, he over delivered in every aspect a fighter could. Unless you hold it against him that he was a little inept defensively. Then again, that's partly what made the fight so action packed.
Fighters like Robert Guerrero are a rare breed today. Because he does what he's supposed to and never takes the easy way out, but isn't perfect, he doesn't garner the coverage and media attention he should. He doesn't dazzle with speed and athleticism like Roy Jones used to or the way Adrian Broner does today and he doesn't score highlight reel knockouts like Thomas Hearns and Mike Tyson used to. He just as Joe Frazier loved to say "gets the job done." And that's not exciting to many boxing observers or should I say not like it used to be.
Guerrero has been a pro for almost 12 years and never has realized the lottery payday that all fighters dream of and work towards. He seems to live under his means, is a model father and husband and has stood by his beautiful wife's side during her bouts with cancer. Yes, the check from a bout with Mayweather would be well deserved and appreciated in the Guerrero house hold.
In addition to the reasons why Robert deserves the bout and all that comes with it against Mayweather, he would bust his ass preparing for it and force Floyd to work every second of every minute of the fight. I'm sure like most boxing fans and writers Robert knows his skill-set isn't on Mayweather's level, but that isn't something that would keep him up late at night and worrying about either.
Robert will torture himself getting ready for a fight with Floyd Mayweather and is convinced that his toughness, will and roughhousing tactics may be enough to unsettle Mayweather and if Floyd perhaps took him too lightly based on what he's seen on film, just maybe he could get lucky and pull off what would be a Herculean upset.
When all is said and done I don't think Guerrero can beat Mayweather. At the same time there's not many fighters between 140 and 160 who would be a favorite over Mayweather today. And the ones who would have a chance to beat him, Floyd wouldn't fight. So if it's a forgone conclusion that regardless of who Mayweather fights next that he's going to win, I want to see the opponent be someone who deserves the fight and will do everything in his power to try and win it. Robert Guerrero is that fighter and he'll put all the things that accompany fighting Mayweather to good use, win or lose.
Most of Mayweather's fights as of late have been pretty drama-free and I expect Mayweather-Guerreo to be the same. But it would be fun watching Mayweather praise Guerrero before the fight is signed and then excoriate him in the media leading up to the fight only to praise him after it.
Yes, Mayweather could hype a fight with Robert Guerrero because there's so many angles for him to work. He could wear both the black and white hats in the progress of marketing the bout and make it work. Although there would be no intrigue about the outcome, it's still a fight that would entertain and draw fans to watch it. I'd love to see the hardworking Guerrero rewarded for a decade of high quality service. He won't come close to winning, but he won't embarrass himself for a second.
Lastly, if we all know Mayweather isn't going to lose before he retires, I'd enjoy it more seeing him facing a real fighter who's earned the opportunity instead of some air-brushed media creation who really has no shot but will be front page news for his 15 minutes of fame.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com