Floyd Mayweather Jr. returns to the ring on Saturday night for the first time since his release from jail last August and days after receiving a below-the-belt verbal jab from Ruben Guerrero, the father of his opponent in the WBC welterweight championship in Las Vegas.
Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) was incarcerated for two months last summer following his guilty plea for assaulting his former girlfriend in front of their children. On Saturday, Mayweather begins his comeback with a 12-round bout at the MGM Grand Casino & Hotel against Robert Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), an unheralded former featherweight, junior lightweight and interim lightweight champion. A brawl nearly ensued between the fathers of the fighters following Wednesday's pre-fight press conference, after the elder Guerrero repeatedly called Mayweather Jr. a “woman beater,” at the podium.
Both fathers also serve as the trainers for their respective sons. Guerrero's comments could be considered outlandish even by boxing's comparatively low standards.
“We're going to beat up that woman beater," Guerrero said. “He must have learned it from his dad. Women beaters, baby. We're going to beat that woman beater. We'll see how he's going to like it. He's going to get it from a real man. We're going to beat that woman beater down.”
As Guerrero remained on the stage upon the completion of the press conference, Floyd Mayweather Sr. launched a verbal tirade of his own.
“I'm knocking you out, punk” Mayweather exclaimed as he pointed toward Guerrero. “You trying to avoid me, sissy?”
The elder Mayweather then had to be held back by promoter and light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, as he charged Guerrero.
“Hit me brother, hit me,” Guerrero responded. “Let's do it right now.”
Hoping to prevent a messy confrontation, neither boxer took part in the verbal altercation.
"I'm trying to avoid anyone getting hurt," Mayweather Jr. told Kieran Mulvaney of ESPN.com. "If I'm up here and my dad and his dad get to fighting, they fall on him or they fall on me, somebody's finger or something gets broke or something happens, somebody gets a cut, you're talking about millions of dollars going down the drain. You have to be smart."
Mayweather admittedly wasn't at his peak when he outpointed Miguel Cotto in a 12-round unanimous decision last May, his last fight before his brief jail stint. Mayweather capitalized on his speed to land 34 percent of his power punches, according to CompuBox figures, but allowed several hard punches and had his nose bloodied.
In nine bouts prior to the 154-pound light middleweight championship, Mayweather landed 46 percent of his total punches, according to CompuBox. In the fight against Cotto, though, Mayweather connected on only 26 percent. Guerrero is coming off a win over Andre Berto in a unanimous 12-round decision in November.
"I don't want to make the same mistakes I made in the Cotto fight," Mayweather told the Associated Press. "I think I trained too hard for that fight. I'm a better fighter than I was in the Cotto fight."
Mayweather checked in at 146 pounds at Friday's weigh-in while Guerrero reached the weight-class limit of 147. Mayweather has been installed as an overwhelming favorite (minus-700) by Bovada.
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