TQBR Roundtable, Ruben Edition: Floyd Mayweather Vs. Robert Guerrero

So continues our marathon coverage of one of the biggest fights of 2013, Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero on Showtime pay-per-view May 4. Previously: putting Mayweather-Guerrero in context; the undercard, previewed; keys to the fight; a full preview of the main event. Next: the Ultimate Guide.

This installment of TQBR’s regular TQBR roundtable is dedicated to Rubens everywhere — both Ruben Guerrero, the father of Robert Guerrero, and delicious Reuben sandwiches. We’re not really sure if we like his son’s chances against pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, Jr. but you have to admire a guy who, when everyone else wants to kiss Mayweather’s ass, instead calls him out as a convicted wife beater. Again, not sure about the hat/shades combo, but there’s a ring to “we’re going to beat that woman beater, baby, and see how he’s going to like it.” Also Reuben sandwiches are really tasty and I’m going to get one/several when I’m in New York in June. Anyway, on to the roundtable.

Has anything in the lead up to the fight convinced you that Guerrero has a better shot than the bookmakers' odds of around six-to-one?

Patrick Connor: I admit being unimpressed by this fight since it was first announced, and no, my mind hasn't changed much on that. Nothing personal, and I don't have anything in particular against Robert Guerrero, but I'm not convinced that the fight will sell a ton, or be all that exciting or competitive. 

Andrew Harrison: I think the fact that Guerrero genuinely believes he can spring the upset has narrowed those odds in my mind. Fighters who can harness the sort of unshakeable resolve the Californian has exhibited in the lead up to this fight can make a real nuisance of themselves against heavy favourites — and those are the precisely the guys who win fights that nobody else thought they could. I see this as a fun fight that Mayweather fans will enjoy. Guerrero will make it competitive early before busting up down the stretch. I have a fancy it won’t be boring.

Alex McClintock: Nope. Guerrero is a good boxer, but I don't see a single thing he does better than Mayweather. If his dad's pre-fight talk about mauling Pretty Boy MMA-style are accurate, then Guerrero is in for a rude surprise. Boxing isn't mixed martial arts and Floyd Mayweather isn't Andre Berto. He'll be ducking under shots, popping up and popping the younger Guerrero's head back with his straight right hand all night long.

Jeff Pryor: No. I think Guerrero is a really solid fighter, but it's just such a tall task coming up in weight and dealing with Floyd. Also, the stage is so much bigger than anything Guerrero has been a part of I think it's gonna be a rough start for him until he settles down. If Mayweather decides to get aggressive early and make a statement I think he could just coast through the second half. Guerrero is smart, though, and tough so if he can weather any early issues, I think he has a chance to stick around and maybe his decent punching power can surprise Floyd.

Tim Starks: Better than 6:1, yes. Very good, no. Andrew's point about the self-belief is a solid one I didn't make very much of in my preview, though.

If Guerrero has any hope at all of winning, how does he need to go about it?

Patrick Connor: Smothering Floyd is a start, but it's going to be more difficult than just doing that. Guerrero needs to be able to change up the range at which he fights, and keep his output fairly high. An issue that Guerrero will likely encounter at some point is that his sometimes excruciatingly physical style wanders into the "just plain dirty" territory, and doing that against Floyd is a bad, bad idea. Every single time an opponent has tried to get overly rough with Floyd Mayweather, he's paid for it dearly. 

Andrew Harrison: He needs to outwork Floyd in each and every round. Mayweather is such a celebrated fighter and a towering figure these days that his presence alone can help him pick up rounds. In saying that, he’s no spring chicken. Thirty six is old for a clean athlete (even one as well-preserved as Floyd) and he’s been forced to make adjustments in camp as a result. If Guerrero can set a hot pace and hit whatever target is available to him ala Antonio Tarver against Roy Jones, then he has a chance of outworking Floyd and nicking rounds. He could even catch Mayweather napping completely. Floyd seems to have been struggling for motivation this time around and has been clutching at straws for ways to hate on Guerrero.

Alex McClintock: He needs to develop skills, strength and power that he's never demonstrated before.

Jeff Pryor: It's a situation where Mayweather has looked more hittable in his last few fights and I think Guerrero at least has to like some of the things Cotto was able to do against him. He's gonna have to take chances and try to get Mayweather's respect. If he can deal with the speed, perhaps with timing, he might be able to make Mayweather uncomfortable in spots. Maybe his rough and tumble tactics can make Floyd fight more than he wants to. If Mayweather feels he is getting bullied, he's gonna come back hard, to end it. During that aggressive rebuttal, when Mayweather might be leaving a few openings, Guerrero has to hope he can hurt Floyd and make something dramatic happen.

Tim Starks: He has to be able to take Mayweather's shots while pressuring, because Mayweather is GOING to hit him if he applies pressure of any volume, and Mayweather has the reach and technique to control the fight from a distance. A reader observed in the comments section of my preview that Guerrero will have to box some, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him do it, but I can't for the life of me figure out how Guerrero outboxes Floyd Freaking Mayweather, even if he's gotten old overnight. (I put the fuller formula for a Guerrero victory in the afore-linked preview.)

Do you think the undercard, featuring action starts like Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz, makes the pay-per-view a good value proposition?

Patrick Connor: Yes. I'm not keen on the main event, but I'm interested in every fight on the undercard for one reason or another. Ponce de Leon vs. Mares alone is a great undercard bout, and throw in an all-action guy like Leo Santa Cruz and an intriguing match-up in J'Leon Love vs. Gabriel Rosado, and that should wind up being money well spent.

Andrew Harrison: There isn’t much not to like in Mares and Santa Cruz. It’s refreshing to see an undercard that offers a platform to quality fighters that are well known in the trade but have possibly sailed under the radar of the wider populace. Both fights could be competitive for a spell — which is a better product than seeing marquee names beating on cannon-fodder. It’s a happy surprise to see Alexander Munoz back against Santa Cruz. I caught Munoz live while visiting Japan in 2007 (against Kuniyuki Aizawa). He’s my Danny from Grease. The Venezuelan was extremely heavy-handed at super-flyweight. It will be interesting to see if he can make a dent should he manage to clag one on Santa Cruz at junior featherweight. Mares is a throwback who, alongside the likes of Carl Froch, Chad Dawson and Andre Ward, has willingly accepted as tough a run of fights as promotional chest-puffing would allow. Yep, I’d fork out for this one. Floyd walking out to the Ghostbusters theme would be reason enough.

Alex McClintock: The card as a whole isn’t a great value proposition, but it's certainly improved by Mares vs. Ponce De Leon. Mares and Ponce De Leon are two of my favourite fighters — I just hope the fight doesn't go all awkward like Ponce De Leon vs. Jhonny Gonzalez did. As for Santa Cruz vs. Alexander Munoz — it's a decent fight that will be fun while it lasts but I don't think it adds all that much to the card.

Jeff Pryor: As the other fellas have alluded to, the Mares-DeLeon scrap should be an interesting fight and it would be a solid bout on its own. Pay-per-views so rarely have stacked cards that really deliver on four hours of legitimate entertainment that a strong main event and one strong supporting bout is about all you can hope for. I think overall this event is pretty mediocre, but there may be some other element with one of these fighters that elevates the night. Bottom line however… I'm not sure at $60-$70 ANY PPV card can really be called a "value proposition."

Tim Starks: When I'm forking over $1.5 million or whatever this pay-per-view costs on Comcast, I'm going to want "value," but it will be impossible to get "good" value. That said, Mares-De Leon has the potential to steal the show, and I'm happy I'm getting at least a couple bouts that I'd happily watch on regular Showtime or HBO as opposed to the occasional sub-ESPN2 garbage they foist on these PPV undercards. Mares-De Leon is the main one; Andrew's right about Mares and the rest of that gang, they do take the toughest match-ups and I love them for it. De Leon also hasn't been shy about tough opponents. I'm less into Munoz's reappearance, as much as Santa Cruz does it for me. Love-Rosado is the next best thing on the undercard as far as my tastes go. Leon is untested and Rosado is a real junior middleweight contender, crude but effective and ballsy. I like Rosado's chances.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.