SAN DIEGO, May 1, 2013 – Love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather rules as the most exciting name and biggest draw in boxing today. His year-long absence from the ring ends this weekend in a Showtime pay-per-view fight against Californian Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Now with 72 hours left, the fighters are both going through their final preparations and running the gauntlet of media and fan appearances to ensure the maximum possible hype for the bout.
Wednesday’s last formal news conference was expected to be mostly routine. The media attend to get the required photos and hear the “I’ve been training hard, I respect my opponent, I’m going to win it” ho hum quotes. If the boxing media aren’t properly caffeinated first, it can get ugly.
But boxing offers the unexpected once in a while, like a knockout by an underdog. You never know when something worth talking about might happen. Today, it was an outburst of trash talk - not from notoriously outspoken Mayweather, and not from anyone else in his camp. His father and trainer Floyd Sr. and uncle Roger weren’t even seated on the stage.
It was Guerrero’s father and trainer Ruben who provided the fireworks. He took offense to Mayweather calling his son a “hypocrite” earlier in the week, calling out Mayweather as a smack talker, a man who went to jail as a “woman beater,” and said, “He must have learned that from his dad,” going on to declare that his son would beat the woman beater. Promoter Oscar de la Hoya had to wave Guerrero back to his seat.
If you want to see it for yourself, here’s the link to it. Fast forward past 22:30 into the event and you’ll get to see the fireworks without suffering through the boring stuff.
Robert later shrugged off his father’s comments, saying that he was just pumped up. “All this stuff doesn’t mean nothing right here. You gotta do it,” said Guerrero. Guerrero says the hypocrite remark meant nothing to him.
Mayweather was remarkably restrained, even low-key after the Guerrero outburst. He later told Showtime’s Steve Farhood, “I’m a lot older, I’m a lot wiser. If I did or I didn’t do a crime, I served my time. It’s about being classy. I know what I bring to the table, I know what I bring to the sport of boxing… The fighters have to fight. My father cannot fight his father. It’s all about the fighters fighting. Keep my composure, box, and keep to the game plan.
Mayweather can hardly claim classy after he accuesed Guerrero of playing the sympathy cancer card after taking 14 months off to see his wife through a battle with leukemia.
Floyd Mayweather Sr. later got into a heated argument with Ruben Guerrero after the news conference ended. Surrounded by media, they were broken up with an assist from boxer Bernard Hopkins.
Saturday’s bout is the first of Mayweather’s multiple-bout contract with the Showtime cable network. Showtime and its parent company CBS have been giving plenty of airtime to promoting this weekend’s pay per view event, including an appearance by Mayweather at the NCAA tournament, a prime-time documentary about his life, and plenty of commercials. The fact this routine news conference was carried live on Showtime says a lot about the network’s commitment.
Guerrero isn’t taking offense at the hype over Mayweather. The $3 million guarantee he’s receiving to fight Mayweather might be a trickle of what Money himself is making, but it’s Guerrero’s biggest payday on the biggest stage he’s ever enjoyed.
As for Mayweather, he likes drama but he likes money even more. Mayweather isn’t going to do anything to irritate his new best friends at Showtime and CBS. He may push the boundaries but he should be smart enough not to overstep them, or at least let his surrogates do it so he remains TV friendly, doing everything his network asks of him.
But far beyond greeting the fans, conductings the interviews, news conferences, and Wednesday afternoon’s public workout, after all the verbal sparring is over, what Mayweather must deliver is a win. After a year layoff that included serving two months of an 87-day sentence for domestic abuse in the Clark County (NV) jail, it will be intriguing to see whether the win is a definitive one.
Mayweather is not only undefeated, he’s won all but a single fight by knockout, TKO, or unanimous decision. The lone split decision was six years ago this weekend against Oscar De La Hoya, promoter of this weekend’s event. How much of a chance does the underdog Guerrero have? Perhaps as good as anyone who’s come before him, but no one has managed to finish off Mayweather yet.
Communities will host a live chat for the Mayweather vs. Guerrero May Day event this Saturday from one of the most exclusive viewing parties in Southern California. Sign up for the Communities newsletter so you won’t miss any of our live chats.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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