Photo via Pro MMA Now

On Saturday, little known boxer out of Gilroy, California, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero will be the latest person to try and defeat Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Forty two men have tried (he’s 43-0, but faced José Luis Castillo twice) and none have conquered (and most, haven’t really come close).

What is different about Guerrero? Why would he be the one to defeat Mayweather? The answer may not lie in what Guerrero has or doesn’t have. It may lie in what’s different about Mayweather.

Mayweather last fought on May 5, 2012 against Miguel Cotto. It was an exciting fight and one in which Mayweather spent more time than expected standing right in front of the still dangerous Cotto. He was also hit harder than most people were used to seeing. Some said it showed Mayweather’s toughness. Some said his speed and defense slipped.

And then jail happened. On June 1, Mayweather went to jail for 87 days for domestic abuse. He was arrested for beating Josie Harris, the mother of his kids. On Wednesday, Yahoo! Sports writer Martin Rogers published an account of what happened that night according to Harris.

Mayweather and Harris were no longer together; the boxer had by then installed Jackson in his home and as his main love interest. But, according to Harris, it was not acceptable to Mayweather for her to see other men while living in a house he owned.

“Are you having sex with C.J.?” Mayweather yelled at Harris, according to the arrest report.

“Yes, that is who I am seeing now,” she replied.

Mayweather then grabbed her by the hair and punched her in the back of the head “with a closed fist several times,” according to the report. He then pulled her off the couch by her hair and twisted her left arm.

Jackson would be Mayweather’s current girlfriend, known better as Miss Jackson on the HBO 24/7 television show and now Showtime’s All Access. CJ would be CJ Watson, point guard for the Brooklyn Nets.

While this isn’t the place for judgments, it’s safe to say that Mayweather and his family didn’t have the best year of their lives.

On the flip side is Guerrero. Guerrero’s took time off from boxing in 2011 as his wife Casey battled leukemia. While talking to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times, Guerrero said that taking care of his ill wife and his children shaped him.

“It took me as a man to a whole different level,” Guerrero said last week. “To be her caregiver. To give her the shots she needed, to take her to the doctor, give her food, watching her side effects, being mother and father when she was sick.

“You have to keep it together, be upbeat. It makes you a mentally tougher person, teaches you that you can work harder than you think you can.”

Her illness is currently in remission.

Guerrero returned to beat hard-punching though stand-still fighter Selçuk Aydin and then, in his best performance, beat Andre Berto last November. Guerrero, whose nickname is the Ghost because of how hard he was to hit when he was younger, stood toe-to-toe with Berto fighting on the inside and bullying the stronger fighter. Berto was favored, but was overwhelmed and Guerrero won by unanimous decision.

Mayweather is coming off a tough fight against Miguel Cotto and a near-three month stint in jail. Guerrero is coming off the greatest victory of his career while being inspired by his wife’s determination to beat cancer. Guerrero should have a chance right? Well, not so fast. Mayweather’s still a 7-1 favorite. His father, Floyd Sr. is back in his camp as his lead trainer alongside his uncle Roger. And he’s still the best boxer in the world.

Duan Greally, who writes with me at Fight Game Blog, and I have predictions for the fight. And while we love Guerrero’s chances, we’re hard pressed to pick against Mayweather.

Duan’s pick

I will go on record as saying I think Guerrero is being undervalued in this fight. I have long since said that the gap at the top of this sport is shrinking. There are guys out there now who are capable of competing with Floyd Mayweather and Robert Guerrero is one of them. I’m not trying to give you the hard sell on this one either. I genuinely believe Mayweather has work to do on Saturday night.

I do expect Floyd to come through this, but not without a scare or two along the way. Mayweather is another year older and he’s up against an opponent who is still fresh and hungry; which is something we haven’t seen him have to deal with a lot in recent years. Victor Ortiz wasn’t tough enough mentally to provide that kind of test, but I think Guerrero will be. “The Ghost” is extremely well-rounded, he’s battle tested, and most importantly, he’s in his prime. He’s also shown that he’s strong at 147 pounds based on his last two fights, so I think this is the weight that best suits both guys. He is going to put it up to Mayweather in this fight – and we’re going to learn something about how the sport stands right now. I’ll say Floyd does enough to get by, but Guerrero shows he belongs.

Prediction: Mayweather by decision – 7 round to 5 or 8 rounds to 4.

GG’s pick

Like Duan, I think the gap is closing between Mayweather and the second tier of fighters. We saw what happened with Manny Pacquiao against Juan Manuel Marquez. All it takes is a single step backward that can mean all the difference. And that’s why I think this fight will be close.

Robert is going to have to deal with being on the biggest stage and could come out rusty. But I fully believe that he and his corner will figure out what it will take to score on Mayweather. Guerrero isn’t as slick as Mayweather, but he’s still slick. He’s had success on the inside lately too. If Mayweather is just a slight step slower that he has been based on the time off, Guerrero will be able to win several rounds. However, I don’t expect the judges to side with him. There will be some close rounds that go to Mayweather. And Mayweather will know how to close the fight out, winning the late rounds to take the decision.

Prediction: Mayweather by decision – 8 rounds to 4.

You can check us out on Fight Game Blog for live play by play on Saturday night.

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