Maquinana: 'Berto or Ortiz could be next for Guerrero'
Robert Guerrero stood toe-to-toe with the pound-for-pound champ for 12 rounds. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Now that the smoke has cleared and Floyd Mayweather has kept his pound-for-pound crown intact with a unanimous decision victory over Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero last Saturday, it’s time to dissect the “May Day” aftermath and what lies ahead for “Money” and “The Ghost,” respectively.
[RELATED: Mayweather outpoints Guerrero in 12-round battle]
A busy week awaits Guerrero, starting with his upcoming court date next Tuesday in New York to address illegal gun possession charges at JFK Airport. According to his co-manager Bob Santos, Guerrero’s legal team includes Bruce Zabarauskas, a prominent attorney whose work in the boxing industry includes his successful representation of manager Rolando Arellano in his settlement with former client Victor Ortiz to avoid arbitration.
[REWIND: Guerrero faces jail time after gun arrest]
While the Queens District Attorney’s Office has remained relatively quiet since D.A. Richard Brown’s initial statement in March hoping that Guerrero “fights better than he thinks,” it’s still anyone’s guess whether the case will actually go to trial or if a plea deal to a lesser charge will be reached to avoid jail time.
Given the circumstances behind the arrest and Guerrero’s clean record prior to the incident, it would appear that the latter scenario would suffice, but the final decision is in Brown’s hands. With the Gilroy City Council proclaiming May 18th as Robert Guerrero Day, the fighter certainly wishes to return home in good spirits, especially with Santana scheduled to perform at the event.
As far as boxing is concerned, Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 KOs) assured CSNBayArea.com after the fight that he would be back, even hinting that he would relish another crack at Mayweather in the future. Though Guerrero displayed immense grit and refused to quit, considering the trio of decisive 117-111 scorecards, he will undoubtedly have to climb his way back to the summit of the welterweight division with a string of impressive outings from this point forward.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer maintained that it was still too early to discuss Guerrero’s next opponent, but floated a couple names anyway for a fall return. The first possibility was Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KOs), who was last seen on “Dancing with the Stars,” and the second was the pending winner of the July clash between Jesus Soto-Karass (27-8-3, 17 KOs) and Andre Berto (28-2, 22 KOs), whom Guerrero thrashed last November to land the Mayweather fight.
At times, boxing can be a sport of selective amnesia where fans call a fighter a bum one day after a loss and magically peel the same label off after a substantial triumph the next time out. Ask Wladimir Klitschko and Marco Antonio Barrera, who were once written off after devastating upset knockout losses only to find a second wind to their Hall of Fame careers.
On the other hand, “The Ghost” went the full 12-round distance with the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter. The smart money’s on Guerrero, who made a career-high minimum of $3 million, to recover from “May Day” just fine.
With the way Mayweather landed 60 percent of his power punches and derailed Guerrero’s momentum one blistering right hand at a time, what’s the next stop for the “Money” train? Right now, Showtime and parent company CBS are playing the waiting game for the pay-per-view numbers.
Industry sources advised CSNBayArea.com months ago that the break-even point would be somewhere between 1-1.1 million buys, but earlier this week, Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported that the early projections fell below such a threshold.
Showtime Sports head Stephen Espinoza has publicly refuted such rumors, though one must wonder about the repercussions if the final figures eventually fail to meet expectations.
The last time a Mayweather pay-per-view didn’t crack 1 million buys was his 2007 stoppage of Ricky Hatton that was distributed by HBO. However, keep in mind that Mayweather wasn’t commencing a six-bout, 30-month deal with Showtime—nor did he come away with a $32 million guarantee like he did last Saturday.
With Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) stating he’ll return on September 14th, is there anyone worthy enough to challenge the Las Vegas resident’s crown and keep fans interested? Although overcooked by a good three years, a fight against Filipino archrival Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) would still do well at the box office if the parties could somehow pull it out of the oven.
But Pacquiao is now coming off a knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez and has already signed a contract to face Oxnard’s Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) on Nov. 23rd in Macau. Combined with Pacquiao’s affiliation with promoter Top Rank, whose CEO Bob Arum continues to have an acrimonious relationship with Mayweather, fans can forget about that fight happening anytime soon.
The bout we might see is one with Mexican 154-pound champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs), who sold out San Antonio’s Alamodome last month to the tune of 40,000-plus rabid partisans when he outpointed Austin Trout. If Mayweather’s willing to move up from 147 pounds one last time, a matchup on Mexican Independence Day with the über-popular Alvarez could do 2 million pay-per-view buys—and assuage the fears of the Showtime suits who are already on the hook to show him the “Money” for the next two and a half years.