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Floyd, Guerrero ready to battle

Floyd Mayweather Jr. left faces off with Robert Guerrero after their weigh-Friday May 3 2013 Las Vegas. Guerrero will challenge

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, faces off with Robert Guerrero after their weigh-in, Friday, May 3, 2013, in Las Vegas. Guerrero will challenge Mayweather for the WBC world welterweight title on Saturday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

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Updated: May 5, 2013 12:16AM

LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. admitted this week what many long have suspected — that he hand-picks every opponent who enters the ring with him.

He also decides how much they get paid and what the contract details will be. So Robert Guerrero was somewhat prepared when Mayweather picked him to be the opponent for his first fight in a year Saturday at the MGM Grand.

What he wasn’t prepared for was what Mayweather’s camp insisted on putting in the contract.

‘‘He asked for a rematch clause,’’ Guerrero said. ‘‘That was the very first thing. It just shows me where his head is at.’’

Where Mayweather’s head is at has, of course, been the topic of many conversations through the years. When he fought Miguel Cotto last May, the worry among his fans was that he would be distracted by an upcoming jail sentence, though that turned out to be unfounded.

Talk to Mayweather now, and his head seems to be fine. So, too, are his reflexes at the age of 36 — at least judging by a sparring session last week against a fighter mimicking Guerrero’s southpaw style.

He has to lose sometime because nearly every fighter not named Rocky Marciano has lost at some point in his career. But Mayweather has a new six-fight TV deal that should cement his status as the highest-paid athlete in the world, and he doesn’t seem terribly concerned about a loss or a possible rematch against Guerrero.

‘‘I’ve done this my whole life,’’ Mayweather said. ‘‘This is what I love to do.’’

Though Mayweather sees Guerrero as just the latest opponent for yet another huge payday, Guerrero sees things quite differently. He thinks he is the fighter who will be the first to beat Mayweather, and he’s eager to earn the recognition and the money that would come with such a victory.

At the final prefight news conference Wednesday, Guerrero said Mayweather made a mistake by picking him as an opponent.

‘‘They talk about this as Floyd Mayweather’s home,’’ Guerrero said. ‘‘Well, this is a home invasion.’’

Oddsmakers don’t share Guerrero’s confidence, making him a
decided underdog in the biggest fight of his career. But the once-beaten fighter said he has been
underestimated his entire career.

‘‘The only thing that means something is what you do in that ring,’’ Guerrero said. ‘‘I just can’t wait to get in that ring.’’

Both fighters were on their best behavior at the news conference, though their fathers almost mixed it up. Floyd Mayweather Sr. and
Ruben Guerrero, both of whom train their sons, exchanged words after Ruben Guerrero went into a rant about Floyd Mayweather being a woman-beater for the altercation with the mother of his children that got him jailed for 70 days last year.

There is an undercurrent of hostility between the fighters, too, with Mayweather suggesting Guerrero, who talks openly about his faith, is a hypocrite for getting busted on a gun charge while promoting the fight. Mayweather also said Guerrero used his wife’s fight against leukemia — she is healthy now — to gain fans and sympathy for himself.

‘‘It’s laughable,’’ Guerrero said. ‘‘I don’t need sympathy. I come to fight. Sympathy doesn’t win fights.’’


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