Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is wondering a lot of the same things as boxing fans when it comes to Robert Guerrero.
As he held a media session Tuesday after arriving at the MGM Grand for his first bout in a year, Mayweather didn’t partake in his unofficial fight week ritual of rattling off the merits of Saturday’s opponent. “Money,” instead, asked rhetorical questions about “The Ghost.”
“You’ve got to look at certain things and then say, ‘Is this guy on the same level as Floyd Mayweather?’” Mayweather said. “You’ve got to ask yourself those certain questions.”
Oddsmakers don’t think Guerrero (31-1-1) is on that level, not with Mayweather (43-0) currently sitting as a minus-750 (risking $7.50 to win $1) favorite at MGM Grand heading into the bout. It’s the largest price attached to Mayweather’s name in at least a decade, spanning back to before he became a sweet-science superstar.
The 36-year-old Mayweather gets a kick out of those who complain it’s another case of him handpicking an easy opponent, though. While Mayweather argues his stature in the sport should allow immense input on his opponents, he says that’s not what happened this time.
Mayweather accepted, more than chose, the 30-year-old Guerrero. With Mayweather owning the WBC welterweight championship belt and Guerrero holding the interim tag, it’s the title fight the sanctioning body ordered.
“He was my mandatory,” Mayweather said before a pause. “And he’s done something right this far.”
What Guerrero did right was batter Andre Berto for 12 rounds last November in Ontario, Calif. Mayweather claimed he had never heard of the Northern California native before the bout.
Guerrero came in as the underdog, but dropped Berto in each of the first two rounds. He went on to practically re-configure the former champion’s face by giving him two massive black eyes.
Color Mayweather unimpressed.
“I think any time you close both a guy's eyes, you’re supposed to be able to finish him,” Mayweather said. “Andre Berto was still able to close the fight after having two closed eyes.”
Like so many challengers before him, Guerrero waltzed into the MGM Grand lobby Tuesday with a confident swagger boasting he would “shock the world.” He considered all of Mayweather’s digs against him semantics.
“The first thing he asked for was a rematch clause,” Guerrero said. “He never asked for one, and he asks for one. It just shows where his head is at. It’s like he says, ‘I don’t know who Robert Guerrero is but I want a rematch.’ Sure. He knows what he’s getting into.”
Guerrero asked to fight Mayweather for years, which is part of the reason why he can’t fathom the champion not being familiar with him. Even when Guerrero toiled at weight classes 20 pounds below where Mayweather was fighting, he made it clear that securing the bout was one of his goals.
“Who hasn’t been calling me out?” Mayweather countered. “They’ve been calling me out from the highest weights to the lowest weights. Everyone calls out Floyd Mayweather. When you’re at the pinnacle of the sport, you should expect that. It comes with the territory.”
Promoting fights to their fullest also comes with the territory, something Mayweather has excelled at arguably better than any fighter in history.
He’s just not going to do all the work on selling his opponent this time. He’ll pass that duty off to someone else.
“I think he put himself in this position by beating a very good fighter in Andre Berto,” Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe said of Guerrero during a press tour last month. “It was a very exciting fight and he proved that he could fight Floyd. I think he put himself in the position where he became more than a viable opponent. He became ‘the guy.’”