By Ivan G. Goldman
When you make the Mayweather clan look like the grown-up responsible side in a dispute, you have to be one weird dude. Meet Ruben Guerrero, father and trainer of Robert “The Ghost.”
Ruben, an industrial-strength trash-talker, continues to hurl insult after insult at the Mayweathers and seems sincerely intent on fighting it out with Floyd Mayweather, Sr., who is 60 and suffers from a lung disease. The reason Ruben wants to tangle with his counterpart isn’t clear. But he keeps talking, at media conferences, to the camera on Showtime’s pre-fight reality series, and apparently anywhere else he can get an audience. Yet his rants never seem to reach a bottom line, and the why of it remains a mystery. The spotlight may be too much for Ruben to handle.
“We’re going to beat up the woman beater,” he said into a microphone at the MGM Grand. “He must’ve learned that from his old man. He beat up his wife right in front of his kids.” The insult was in reference to Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s conviction and 90-day sentence for assaulting his former girlfriend.
Ruben’s son Robert Guerrero, who will face Mayweather Junior Saturday in a pay-per-view extravaganza at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, doesn’t try to rein his dad in but doesn’t imitate him either. Robert is a soft-spoken, intelligent guy who lets his actions in the ring define him as a fighter.
Mayweather Senior, the man Ruben Guerrero keeps threatening, has himself never been known for his calm demeanor, and he’s a serial insulter of other fighters and trainers. In fact, you’ve got to be a real dingbat to look wacky alongside him. Next to Ruben, Floyd Junior also comes across as a gentleman. However, Floyd also appreciates the role of publicity, and the Guerrero father has done more than his part to attract it. Bad manners sell.
Floyd Senior was an accomplished amateur in his youth, and, competing as a welterweight, finished his pro career at 28-6-1 (17 KOs). He probably would have achieved more, but he was never the same fighter after getting shot in the leg during an argument with a family member. He once went nine and a half rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard, losing by TKO in the final round. It was right around the time he got shot and his career went south.
A lightweight named Ruben Guerrero, fighting out of Los Angeles, compiled a less than accomplished record of 0-7 in the years 1981-85. That Guerrero lost six of his seven by KO. The one time he went the distance it was against James Dixon, who was 1-12 going in. The Mayweather camp says that Ruben Guerrero of record is Robert’s father. So does the Los Angeles Times. But some people say Robert’s dad never turned pro.
Whatever his boxing record might or might not be, it doesn’t stop the mouth of Guerrero’s father, who definitely wants to make this fight personal and keeps saying he’s going to settle Senior’s hash. Anyway, a trainer’s record as an athlete can’t always predict the quality of his coaching skills. John Madden never played in the pros, but he won a Super Bowl ring as Oakland Raiders chief coach and compiled 100 regular season victories by the age of 42.
Floyd Senior has been called on to train other world-class fighters, most famously Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy, chief promoter of the show Saturday night. Holder of a 1998 Manager of the Year award from the Boxing Writers Association, Floyd Senior is a strong advocate of the shoulder roll that his son uses so successfully. Ruben’s own training pedigree isn’t clear.
Floyd Senior did three and a half years in the slammer for selling drugs in Michigan after his fight career fizzled. Ruben says he also did time. For what, he doesn’t say. He has, however, ridiculed Floyd Junior for doing 60 days in the Clark County hoosegow in a private cell, where he was kept apart from other inmates. Ruben says he served his time “like a man” in the general population.
When Floyd Senior had had enough insults and was charging toward Ruben at one of the press conferences, Bernard Hopkins was among the people who restrained him.
Roger Mayweather, Floyd Junior’s uncle and regular trainer, suffers from diabetes, and the fighter feels it is now compromising Roger’s eyesight. Floyd Senior wanted Roger, a former world champion, in the corner with him. His son has apparently decided on his pal Leonard Ellerbe instead, but Mayweathers have been known to change course. Rafael Garcia remains as cutman.
Regardless of what Ruben says or does before, during, or after the match, the focus will be on the fight itself.
Ivan G. Goldman’s boxing novel The Barfighter was nominated as a 2009 Notable Book by the American Library Association. Information HERE