With the lengthy layoff between fights now typical of his career, Floyd Mayweather Jr., will need a busier fight schedule, given his latest television contract.
Mayweather, considered boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter and its top pay-per-view attraction, recently signed a reported six-fight deal over a span of 30 months with the Showtime network. Mayweather will make his Showtime debut with his welterweight title defense against Robert Guerrero on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
But the contract, which ended Mayweather’s career-long association with rival HBO, defies his fight activity of the past five years. Mayweather has not fought twice in a calendar year since 2007.
For a fighter still at the top of his craft but who turned 36 in February, the new bout schedule could become an interesting subplot in preserving his spotless professional record.
Saturday’s bout will be Mayweather’s first since he won a unanimous decision against Miguel Cotto for a junior-middleweight belt May 5. Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) renounced the 154-pound title and stayed at welterweight, where he is recognized as champion by the World Boxing Council.
“I don’t think the layoff will affect me,” Mayweather said.
“Being a legend, wanting your name mentioned in the mix of other fighters’ names, that’s why I work so hard now. I’ve been fighting since 1987. I’ve been a professional for 17 years. I’ve been dedicated to my craft.”
A five-division world champion, Mayweather welcomed back his father Floyd Sr., as lead trainer for the Guerrero fight. Mayweather’s uncle Roger, who had guided his career since father and son had a falling out more than a decade ago, is still involved in the fighter’s camp.
“I’m happy that my dad is back in my camp and we’re going strong,” Mayweather said. “It’s good working with him. If we have a problem and we’re not seeing eye-to-eye, we pull each other to the side, talk about it and we get on the same page.”
Although faced with a daunting task, Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs, 2 NC) will attempt to follow Roberto Duran and Shane Mosley as former lightweight champions who won welterweight belts without fighting in the 140-pound junior-welterweight division. Guerrero currently holds a second-tier or interim welterweight belt, typical of the absurd creations by the alphabet soups for additional fight sanctioning fees.
Guerrero, 30, solidified his welterweight value and earned his first pay-per-view date after a hard-fought decision win over former champion Andre Berto on Nov. 24.
“It’s obvious he did something right to get to this point,” Mayweather said. “It’s obvious he did something right in the Andre Berto fight.
“All 43 of my opponents had a game plan and all 43 opponents came up short. There isn’t a blueprint on how to beat me. No one has found a way to break the Mayweather code.”
• Sergio Martinez fought off a tough challenge from Martin Murray and retained his WBC middleweight title Saturday night in Martinez’s native Argentina.
All three judges scored the fight for Martinez 115-112. The fight, which attracted a crowd of 45,000 at Velez Sarsfield Stadium, was Martinez’s first in Argentina since 2002.
Martinez is now 51-2-2, while Murray fell to 26-1-1
Danny Garcia (26-0) successfully defended his WBC and World Boxing Association super-lightweight titles with a unanimous decision win over Zab Judah (42-8) in Brooklyn, N.Y. All three judges scored the fight for Garcia 116-111, 114-112 and 115-112.
On the same card, Peter Quillin (29-0, 21 KOs) retained his World Boxing Organization middleweight belt with a seventh-round technical knockout victory over Fernando Guerrero (25-2).
• Bermane Stiverne moved closer to a heavyweight title fight with his convincing unanimous victory against highly ranked contender Chris Arreola in Ontario, Calif.