By: William Holmes
On Saturday Night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada pound for pound king and pay per view king Floyd Mayweather Jr. will put his WBC Welterweight title on the line against Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. It has been nearly a year since Floyd Mayweather Jr. has stepped into the ring with Miguel Cotto and it will be the first time he’s fought since serving two months in jail for his domestic violence conviction.
Since Floyd last fought, we’ve seen his arch rival brutally knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez, Sergio Martinez receiving a gift decision against Martin Murray, Nonito Donaire lose convincingly in Radio City Music Hall, and Canelo Alvarez cement his place atop the junior middleweight division. The pound for pound list is changing, but Floyd remains at the top.
The undercard features Abner Mares’ first foray into the featherweight division and a middleweight clash between J’Leon Love and Gabriel Rosado.
The following is a preview of those three bouts.
J’Leon Love (15-0) vs. Gabriel Rosado (21-6); Middleweights
J’Leon Love is managed by Al Haymon, and most Al Haymon fighters are carefully matched up as they move their way up their weight class’ rankings. Gabriel Rosado however is a tough as nails middleweight veteran from Philadelphia who’s still in his athletic prime.
This is a very tough test for a prospect with as much promise as J’Leon Love.
Love has a deep amateur background, he was the former Detroit Golden Gloves Champion, former National Golden Gloves Silver Medalist, and a 2008 Olympic Training Partner. Love will be two years younger and slightly smaller than Rosado.
He has eight stoppages out of his fifteen victories and has only boxed 63 rounds. Rosado in comparison has boxed 171 rounds. Love has never tasted defeat but he has also faced sub par competition for most of his career. His only notable victory was over Derrick Findley in Detroit, Michigan, J’Leon Love’s hometown. He was busy in 2012 and fought five times.
Rosado came into the sport of boxing late and was tested early on in his career. He’s a late bloomer and has never been afraid of a challenge. He was last seen in the ring against the hard hitting Gennday Golovkin. He fought valiantly, but was stopped in the seventh round.
Rosado has stopped thirteen of his opponents, including four of his last five victories. He’s defeated and stopped the likes of Charles Whittaker, Sechew Powell, Jesus Soto Karass, Ayi Bruce, and Jamaal Davis. He’s even defeated Kassim Ouma. Most of his losses came on early in his career before he began to really improve as a fighter. He’s lost to the likes of Derek Ennis, Alfredo Angulo, and Fernando Guerrero.
Rosado has spent most of his career fighting as a junior middleweight and his power that as effective as a junior middleweight might not be as effective in the middleweight division.
However, this is a bold test for J’Leon Love and a test he might not be ready for. Rosado’s tough past will help him win a tough decision victory.
Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-4) vs. Abner Mares (25-0-1); WBC Featherweight Title
Abner Mares was one of the top dogs in the super bantamweight division but was unable to secure a fight with either Nonito Donaire or Guillermo Rigondeaux and has bumped up to the featherweight division. Daniel Ponce De Leon has long been an underrated and overlooked fighter who will provide a very stiff test for the young Mares.
Ponce De Leon is seven years older than Mares but will have a five inch reach advantage. He’s also a southpaw who has given other outstanding talents a much more difficult time than expected. One fighter in particular is Adrien Broner. Broner defeated Ponce De Leon in 2011, but some felt De Leon deserved a decision victory.
De Leon has considerable power, he’s stopped thirty five of his opponents. He has high level amateur experience and competed in the 2000 Olympics for Mexico. He’s defeated the likes of Jhonny Gonzalez, Sergio Medina, Orlando Cruz, Rey Bautista, and Gerry Penalosa. The fighters De Leon has lost to, Juan Manuel Lopez, Adrien Broner, and Yuriorkis Gamboa, have all moved up to higher divisions.
It’s unlikely that Abner Mares will move up much higher than the featherweight division. He doesn’t have the power of De Leon, he’s stopped thirteen of his opponents and those victories came in the lighter weight classes. But, despite the fact he was never able to face one of Top Rank’s Super Bantamweights, he has defeated some very formidable competition.
He’s defeated Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, Vic Darchinyan, and Yonnhy Perez. He also participated in the Olympics for Mexico except for in 2004. This will be however his first fight as a featherweight.
De Leon is nearing the end of his athletic prime, but he has the skills to pull off the upset. His prior losses were to boxers who were ready to make the jump up to another division. Mares is coming up to his division. De Leon should be able to use his reach and boxing IQ to win a decision victory.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (43-0) vs. Robert Guerrero (31-1-1); WBC Welterweight Title
Time is not on Floyd Mayweather’s side. He’s 36 years old and is a member of the 1996 US Olympic Boxing Team that only has two active fighters left competing at a high level, and his fellow Olympic teammate, Zab Judah, was just defeated last week in New York City.
He’s a defensive wizard, has rarely been in trouble, but he hasn’t fought in a year and had to serve nearly two months in jail during that time period. Even though he clearly defeated Miguel Cotto in his last fight, many felt Mayweather looked slower than usual. Cotto went on to lose even more decisively to Canelo Alvarez in his next bout.
Miguel Cotto, Victor Ortiz, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Zab Judah, Arturo Gatti, Diego Coralles, Jose Luis Castillo all thought they had the style to give Mayweather his first loss. All were proven wrong.
Does Robert Guerrero stand a legitimate chance?
Guerrero is about the same height as Mayweather but will be giving up two inches in reach. He’s six years younger than Floyd, but has spent most of his career fighting in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions.
Guerrero is a southpaw and some feel that a southpaw can present problems for a fighter who uses the shoulder roll defense. But, even though he is younger than Floyd, he’s still not the quicker fighter and doesn’t have the quicker reflexes. Berto tried to use the shoulder roll defense against Guerrero when he lost to him in November of 2012, but Mayweather is a master at that defense and Berto is an amateur in comparison.
Guerrero has defeated the likes Selcuk Aydin, Michael Katsidis, Joel Casamayor, Jason Litzau, in addition to Andre Berto. However, none of these fighters are on the level of Floyd.
Quite simply this should be an easy fight for Mayweather. After not fighting for nearly a year he deserves an easy fight every now and then, but there’s a lot more compelling and difficult matchups on the horizon.
Floyd is currently an eight to one favorite and he may look a little rusty in the early rounds, but he’ll find his groove and cruise to a wide decision victory.