Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, said this week he will only box for 30 more months, beginning with Saturday’s fight against Robert Guerrero, who has campaigned for two years to get a shot at the unbeaten champ. Mayweather hasn’t fought in a year following a stint in jail and some time away from the sport.
LAS VEGAS — Eight-time world champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather refused to be drawn into a war of words at the final news conference for his WBC welterweight title clash with Robert Guerrero on Thursday despite being labeled a “woman beater” by his opponent’s father.
The undefeated Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs), who has said he has 30 months of boxing left before he brings the curtain down on his career, was a picture of calm as Ruben Guerrero screamed at him: “We are going to beat the woman beater.”
The two men had to be separated after Mayweather Sr., a former world champion in his prime years ago, lunged at the elder Guerrero and nearly connected on a punch.
Mayweather served two months of a 90-day sentence for domestic violence last year. He has not fought since May 5, 2012, when he beat Miguel Cotto.
“I don’t have to sit here and badmouth his father,” shrugged Mayweather after the news conference. “Only God can judge me.”
The fight in Las Vegas tonight will mark a turning point in Mayweather’s often contentious relationship with his own father, Floyd Sr., who will be in his corner for the first time since a March 2000 win against Gregorio Vargas.
“My dad is sick, and if I never made a bond with my father and something harsh happened, it would hurt me,” said Mayweather of his father, who has been suffering from sarcoidosis. Mending fences with his father, he adds, has yielded professional as well as personal benefits.
There’s certain things only my dad may see in training camp,” he told reporters. “For this fight, I made sure I got more rest.
“My dad said, ‘You need the rest. And when you’ve rested, you can come back and box in the gym and you’re going to look a lot better.’ And he was right. I feel like I’m in tip-top shape, tip-top condition. I’m ready to fight.”
Guerrero, too, is ready to fight, and believes Mayweather has invited more stress on himself by starting the countdown clock on his career.
“They say the pressure is on me. The pressure is on him to stay undefeated, to keep his legacy going,” Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) said. “He has these 30 months left, and he’s got a lot of stuff to fulfill, so I think the pressure is on him and not me.”
Guerrero first called for a fight with Mayweather in 2011, even though at lightweight he was two weight divisions lower. Many laughed at the possibility of this fight even happening, but Guerrero never gave up his pursuit.
Two years later, his moment is finally here, and he did what it took to get it.
He made the step up to welterweight and scored two victories last year, including a thrilling brawl with former title holder Andre Berto in November, to earn the shot at Mayweather’s title.
“Definitely, I absolutely believed I would get (the fight),” Guerrero said. “That’s why I kept on it, and kept fighting the fights I needed to get myself in position to make it happen, and here it is.”