A lot more is at stake for Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. than his undefeated record when he meets challenger Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the WBC and Ring Magazine welterweight titles.
This will be the biggest payday of Guerrero's career to date, and Mayweather has a huge television deal to live up to, but both have legal battles to overcome and address.
Saturday will be Mayweather’s first fight for his newest cable television partner Showtime, who agreed to pay the 36-year-old $200 million to broadcast his next six fights over the next 30 months.
Based off his 43-0 record and draw power, it appears Showtime made the right decision. His last fight for HBO saw Mayweather snag the WBA super light middleweight title from Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision, and he routinely averages more than 1 million pay-per-view purchases per bout.
Guerrero technically hasn’t lost a fight since 2006, with his initial loss to Orlando Salido ruled a no contest after Salido tested positive for steroids. Six years younger than Mayweather, Guerrero has 18 knockouts and 13 decisions on his 31-1-1 record, but hasn’t recorded a KO since 2010 when he dropped Argentina’s Roberto David Arrieta in the eighth round.
However, Guerrero nearly derailed his chances to face Mayweather after he was arrested on March 28 for bringing an unloaded gun onto an airplane at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.
Mayweather, always an opportunist when it comes to trash talk, brought up the charges and possible jail time Guerrero might face during the final press conference before the bout.
"The main thing that he needs to be focused on at this particular time is he's going away to do time after the fight," Mayweather said. "So the same as where they were pointing the finger and talking trash at me, now you've got to go sit down and do time."
Sportsbook Review pointed out that Mayweather’s odds actually took a slight dip after Guerrero’s arrest, from 10-to-1 to 8-to-1, though he still considered a heavy favorite.
The pound-for-pound No. 1 ranked boxer in the world has also had his share of run-ins with the law, including a two-month jail sentence he served for hitting Josie Harris, who has three children with Mayweather.
Previously a long-time partner of Mayweather's, Harris conducted an interview with Yahoo! Sports that was published Wednesday, and detailed the events of the assault that took place in September 2010. She was specifically responding to Mayweather’s comments in a documentary that downplayed how severe the fight was.
"Did he beat me to a pulp?" Harris said to Yahoo!. "No, but I had bruises on my body and contusions and [a] concussion because the hits were to the back of my head. I believe it was planned to do that … because the bruises don't show …"
While no one can forget that there is a boxing match amongst the arrests and accusations, both fighters have their distractions to overcome prior to Saturday.
Betting Odds: Mayweather -750 or 8-to-1
Over/Under: 11.5 rounds
Prediction: This is the first bout since Mayweather’s father, Floyd Sr., has returned as his trainer. The switch was made to help Floyd Jr. improve his defense, which should help against the hard-hitting Guerrero. Both combatants have the propensity and skill for the fight to go the distance, but Guerrero doesn’t have the speed to score more points than his opponent. Mayweather wins by unanimous decision.